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Al Jazeera begins filming in new Shard studio

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Al Jazeera has unveiled its news UK headquarters and broadcast studio on the 16th floor of the Shard

Designed by Vienna-based architects Veech x Veech, the space includes a multi-purpose newsroom and broadcast facility which it said ‘breaks the mould of the black box studio’.

The practice had to work with the existing layout of the Renzo Piano-designed Shard building which was a challenge for a broadcasting studio.

Ceiling heights would normally be 4.5m but the Al Jazeera studio’s are limited to just 2.8m. This was used to create a distinct identity for the studio and incorporates a lighting design which mirrors the news desk below.

The practice also designed a newsroom linked to the studio. The office space was completed by John McAslan + Partners.

Al Jazeera global art director, Patrick Bedeau, said: ‘This exciting project challenges the way news is made and required the design team to adopt a radical approach, integrating the broadcast studio into the office space within an open-plan setting.’

The architect’s view

‘We had the complex task of configuring a fully functioning TV studio within the confines of a predetermined floorplate. Creating such media hubs is highly specialised and requires precision design, using the camera as an additional tool as part of the process – the perspective of the studio appears differently on screen as opposed to the real-life experience.

‘Digital 3D modeling and 1:1 mockups were used extensively to test and accentuate the perspective composition of the news desk and set design to create a dynamic on-air look, framing the panoramic London skyline.

‘The major challenge was to the invert the restrictive constraints of a high rise building into a design asset by restructuring the perspective composition to enhance a cinematic wide-angle depth of space resulting in the unique channel spatial brand identity.

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