BBC White City Project
(Broadcasting Building and Media Centre)

Yuko Shiraishi
Since October 2001, I start working with Allies & Morrison Architect on the BBC White City Project. I was asked to advice on the uses of colours in the internal and external of the buildings. This was my first experience of working with architect and, even though I was accustomed to dealing with the architectural space for artistic installation, it was totally different experience. It required a completely new visualisation and management. I have often thought about the separation between architects and artists throughout history, or the disappointing result of collaborations between the two. But the history has also proven that we have fantastic churches and buildings with incredible art in the west and in temples in the orient. During the 20–century, the division between the architect and artist become stronger but there is a magnet power between the two to be together both from artist side as well as architecture side. Today we are dealing with more building, more people, more international cultures. You cannot ignore globalization. It is natural way to work together from all different fields. I call this is the 21–century of Bauhaus ideas.
With the BBC White City Project, I was concerned about the people who work there – just like architects are. I wanted to introduce colours which are fresh, light and soft but energetic colours and not sweet. For example, people consciously think pink is pretty and sweet colour but you could introduce 'hardcore' pink. Also, as people are coming into the building everyday, I introduce many colours but used them in a minimal way. That way their reception of colours is sharp and fresh.
Metal louvers on the outside of both buildings are painted in six colours selected to compliment each other whilst maintaining independent identity. The Broadcast building and the Media centre are the two structures which I see as sisters sharing a kind of DNA'. The chosen colours relate to those of the lights and on the street where the colours of the two buildings meet and combine. The street becomes an aesthetic as well as physical link.
In the 'acoustic fins' in the Atrium features nine colours in three sections. The arrangement is random but the colours chosen to suit their architectural spaces – including toilets corridors and stairs. The playout control room (first floor, broadcasting building) exploits texture – in this case required for acoustic reasons characteristically combine random selection with considered order: the human element with construction.
The Reception at the Media Centre
The Media Centre reception is commission for which I am adopting a different approach to that of the White City project. I now know the Media centre building very well but I wanted to create something completely different. The work that I done with architects for the White City project was mostly on architectural plans (since the buildings had not yet been built). It was like combining my idea with the plan drawings. For the reception area it is different because I can see the real space and decide what to do with it. In the reception area I am introducing the idea of 'box paintings' with the painted wall and use also the reflected glass boxes. A painted line from the main wall piece extends to the ceiling and on to the opposite wall and there is furniture, which relates to the main wall pieces.
I introduce an intimate environment, which acts as transition to the large vertical Atrium space beyond.