Sky Believe in Better Building. Credit: Simon Kennedy; Sky Believe in Better Building. Credit: Simon Kennedy;

Sky Believe in Better Building, London

Designing the Sky Believe In Better Building

A game-changing commercial timber structure, designed and built in just one year

Sky is Europe’s leading direct-to-consumer media and entertainment company, serving 24 million customers. The company had decided to redevelop its campus headquarters with a new home for their ‘Believe in Better’ schools outreach programme and Academy training facilities. With aspirations of being more than just a training base, the building needed to be an inspiring showpiece for Sky’s corporate values and long-term sustainability goals, whilst being flexible enough to respond to the diverse needs of it many users. 

A technical design and delivery challenge

Speed was crucial, with completion needed in time for the brand’s 25th anniversary celebrations – only a year away. With this milestone fast approaching, Sky entrusted Arup with the rapid design and delivery of this technically demanding project. 

Project Summary

1 The UK’s tallest commercial timber building

12months from design to completion

Watch this video: Learn how the use of timber saw the Believe in better building delivered in record time.
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Designing the UK's tallest commercial timber structure

We believe that good architecture should understand the lives and priorities of those that use it. The Believe in Better Building has a clear social idea based around community focus, education, and incredible flexibility for Sky’s fast-changing corporate culture.


Reflecting Sky’s commitment as a carbon-neutral company, the architecture also incorporates extensive environmental innovation. It is a structure that does a lot with very few materials, most notably its use of sustainable wood that makes it the UK’s tallest commercial timber building.

The stair is a unifying gesture, that links the three storeys and makes the building easy to navigate for users, many of whom will never have visited before. Arup

A dramatic suspended staircase rises through the building to the rooftop, a unifying feature that brings together each of the four storeys from the ground floor. With huge amounts of daylight and space; fresh and fun interiors, it is designed to be intuitive – partitions slide and unfold to interconnect a shifting landscape of creative spaces.


The simple, modular design of the building enables Sky to use it in several different ways – from community outreach, to teaching, training and general office use. The outcome is a building that creates, celebrates and expresses organisational and social interactions. A place for people. 

That such a complex integrated environmental system was achieved in a scant three month design period is hard to comprehend. ” Riba Journal

Sky Believe in Better Building. Credit: Simon Kennedy Sky Believe in Better Building. Credit: Simon Kennedy

Quality architecture delivered at speed

Our total architecture approach demonstrates what can be achieved when every relevant discipline contributes towards design in parallel. Arup took the project from inception to site in three months, with completion in just one year. Only with this integrated team of architect, engineer, contractor and client could the Believe In Better Building have been built in such a short time, to such high quality. 

The careful architectural design means that this building exceeds Sky’s targets for operational and embodied carbon reduction, achieving a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ environmental rating, yet it was delivered within the cost of a traditional commercial office building. 

It has been recognised with awards from World Architecture News and the UK-based Institution of Civil Engineers. It is also the first building in the UK to be designed in accordance with the emerging Wellness certification principles.