BAFTA has undertaken a major renovation of its London headquarters that will double the building’s capacity and increase space devoted to the British academy’s programs to promote skills training and new talent.
Work has already begun on the $31 million overhaul, which is expected to take two years. In the interim, BAFTA will relocate its home base to the building next door. (Staff offices are around the corner and will be unaffected by the renovation.)
The expanded headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, right by London’s famed Piccadilly Circus, will include an entire floor dedicated to its educational and new-talent programs. The extra space should allow the organization to double its charitable activities, including helping more than 80,000 people a year develop careers in the creative industries. It should also generate new income to expand BAFTA’s programs nationally and internationally, the academy said.
BAFTA is relying on donations to pay for the renovation designed by Benedetti Architects. More than 70% of the price tag has already been funded, including a grant from the London mayor’s office.
“This is a vital investment in the creative future of film, games and television,” said Amanda Berry, BAFTA’s CEO. “We believe that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. A redeveloped 195 Piccadilly will enable us to deliver a greater variety of new talent initiatives, learning events and activity and increase access to our industries.”
The building has been officially deemed of historical value. Originally erected in 1883, it served as a gallery space for the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours.
While in its temporary home next door, BAFTA plans to open its doors to the public for the first time, setting aside space for members, an exhibition on BAFTA Award winners and nominees, and a cafe.