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BP International Centre for Business and Technology
Sunbury, UK

BP is one of the UK’s most important companies with operations in more than 70 countries and revenues that put it in the world’s top 20. Broadway Malyan has been working with the oil and gas company for more than a quarter of a century and in 1998 it won a major design competition to create a masterplan for the phased redevelopment of its research site at Sunbury as a new technology park.

Over a century of occupation by BP, the Sunbury site had evolved from a series of laboratories into a collection of almost 100 buildings, many of which were no longer occupied or fit for purpose. Broadway Malyan’s masterplan saw the creation of a coherent 33-hectare campus reflecting BP’s brand values, creating a sense of community while also offering state-of-the art facilities within world-class architecture for their 6,500-strong workforce.

The masterplan

The guiding principle for the new masterplan for BP’s International Centre for Business Technology (ICBT) was to create a campus that was flexible and adaptable enough to respond to the company’s various business areas and their needs and objectives.

The masterplan took the form of a cluster of buildings that radiated from a central landscaped courtyard, incorporated within a wider parkland landscape with mature trees and water features.

Reflecting the fast changing technological environment in which BP operate, the masterplan created a series of integrated buildings which could also be conceived as individual office buildings with their own frontage, car parking and access.

Aerial photo of campus style masterplan for BP's International Centre for Business Technology in Sunbury, design and delivered by Broadway Malyan.


Phase 1 of the project comprised 20,000m² of commercial space set over three buildings to the north of the site which was followed by a second phase including 25,000m² of commercial space over four new buildings. A modular design philosophy, meaning minimum components and maximum off-site fabrication, was adopted and this helped to deliver the very highest standards of quality on time, within budget and with minimal wastage. Long-span, steel frame components were designed supported by masts and cables allowing for large unobstructed floor spaces that could be adapted for future needs. Services such as toilets and circulation are housed within or adjacent to the structural corridor further ensuring future flexibility.

Building cross section at BP International Centre for Business and Technology in Sunbury, showing steel frame components and large unobstructed floor spaces.

The Link Building

At the focal point of the second phase, the Link Building connects three commercial office buildings – which use the same structural system as Phase 1 – and includes an elegant curving glass façade facing the central courtyard. The Link building completes the southern section of the site providing a sense of arrival for the overall scheme. The building houses central facilities including reception, restaurant, meeting and break out spaces and a ‘town hall’ meeting space for 400 people. A distinctive saw-tooth roof is clad in photovoltaic panels, which provide shading to rooflight windows and power the ground water pumps that cool the building’s air supply. A highly efficient cycle was created whereby the more the sun shines, the greater the photovoltaic contribution, the harder the pumps work and the cooler the space becomes.

The Link building at BP's International Centre for Business and Technology, featuring a curving glass facade and saw-tooth roof clad in photovoltaic panels.

The Upstream Learning Centre

The BP Upstream Learning Centre is Broadway Malyan’s most recent addition to the Sunbury campus and was specifically designed as an educational building. A fully glazed façade faces the public realm allowing views into a bright yellow central core, housing the classrooms, which penetrates the roof and provides a solid counterpoint to the glazed box aesthetic. Within the centre’s 3,944sqm building are a variety of learning spaces including classrooms, informal settings and oil extraction simulators, all integrating state-of-the-art AV and IT. The classrooms are designed to high space standards, with dual high definition projector screens with a number of different layouts for varying teaching and learning styles. The computer classroom is equipped with 17 state-of-the-art 3D workstations and a large 3D projection screen for the visualisation of complex rock strata and engineering.

The BP Upstream Learning Centre at the Sunbury campus, designed by Broadway Malyan as an educational building.
External façade detail at BP's Upstream Learning Centre at their Sunbury campus, designed by Broadway Malyan.
Bright yellow central core at BP's Upstream Learning Centre in Sunbury, housing classrooms, informal spaces and oil extraction simulators.


Sustainability was a key consideration in the Sunbury project with each building within the campus achieving either BREEAM Excellent or Very Good ratings. A mixed-mode energy strategy has informed the design of the buildings, combining advanced technology with natural passive systems. Throughout the project the team embraced and maximised the potential Broadway Malyan of new technologies such as photovoltaic panels, chill ceilings, displacement ventilation, thermal mass, natural ventilation and super airtight construction. CO2 emissions have been reduced by 50% compared to that of other typical BP UK buildings while waste was minimised through modular design and repetition and 80 per cent of all waste produced during construction was recycled.

Sketch detailing energy efficiency of BP's Upstream Learning Centre in Sunbury, including photovoltaic panels, chill ceilings, thermal mass and natural ventilation.

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