Main ContractorSir Robert McAlpine
ArchitectArup Associates
Structural EngineerSir Roger McAlpine
LocationLondon

The Brief

To build a production facility capable of housing some of the world’s greatest film franchises.

The Results

A facility that goes above and beyond the requirements for soundproofing whilst maintaining the sustainable credentials that are so very important in many modern buildings.

About The Building

Pinewood Group are an international film and television group, responsible for the production of some of the most recognisable cultural pieces of all time. As part of their continued investment into the UK’s creative industry, a new £300m development to expand their production facilities. The new stages will be used for film and TV production, video filming and motion capture. The enhanced facilities will offer much greater flexibility, as well as additional capacity, to address the increasing global demand for UK production facilities.

The Brief

B&K Structures were contracted to design and install the cassette panels for the studio exteriors. This project was part of the first phase of the studios’ expansion and focused on the development of five new sound stages. Due to their role, the studios needed to maintain levels of soundproofing well in excess of UK building standards.

Key Challenges

The sites location near the junction between the M25 and M40 motorways meant noise levels around the stages reached approximately 60dBLAeq at ground level, rising to 66 at the top of the building due to decreased motorway screening. In addition to the motorway traffic, noise measurements for vehicles moving on access roads close to the stages indicate a typical slow moving transit van can produce levels of 75-80dbBLA1. It was of critical importance for B&K Structures to ensure the façade was capable of ensuring external noise didn’t disrupt productions.

To combat noise levels, B&K Structures worked with their supply chain to develop a cassette that was capable of this level of performance. The cassettes had to meet strict criteria and so a bespoke blend of materials were selected. The build-up of the cassette involved OSB board, square battens, building board and acoustic insulation, installed between glulam. This combination of materials was put together specifically for the Pinewood Studios project and helped the development to reach its stringent performance levels.

The Solution

Timber cassettes were used for both the facade and roof of the sound stages and were specifically selected to meet the appropriate levels of acoustic, fire safety and thermal inertia performance – all in one offsite manufactured system.

The timber cassettes were carefully designed to combine a number of requirements including heating, cooling and climatic specifications and high sound absorption with more traditional building regulations such as 60-minutes fire resistance. The high level of prefabrication guaranteed the cassettes could be constructed 2/3 faster than conventional construction. Cassettes were installed on the build at a rate of 500m2 per day.

It is estimated the reduction in secondary steel from walls removed around 15-20 tonnes of steel per stage, which would have equated to an additional 100 tonnes of CO2 emitted by the project.

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