Daylight is the magic ingredient of Sky Central, a vast new building on the London campus of media giant Sky. It has been built by PLP Architecture and engineer Arup, with concept design by AL_A and workplace design by HASSELL. Natural light bathes a café-lined “street” that runs through the center of the building, floods the lofty atria, and bounces through high-ceilinged offices. Its prevalence helps to achieve two principal ambitions for the building: that it should have exemplary energy performance and enhance the wellbeing of occupants. “Humans respond better to daylight than artificial light,” says Arup lighting consultant Nick MacLiammoir. “We don’t truly know how to use electric light to entrain the circadian rhythms as daylight does. Wherever you can use it, you should.”
Doing so at Sky Central was complicated by the client’s program, and by the scale of the building. Sky wanted an “agile” office in which 3,500 laptop-toting staff can work almost anywhere, enhancing flexibility and collaboration. So daylight had to be brought into the deepest recesses of the three-story groundscraper, whose 530-by-325-foot plan is equivalent to three football fields. The building’s form reflects its setting among suburban warehouses.
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