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Making 195 Piccadilly more accessible

Event: 195 Piccadilly Building DocumentationDate: June & July 2019Venue: BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London-BAFTA/Hannah Taylor

The redevelopment of 195 Piccadilly has given BAFTA the unique opportunity to improve the building’s accessibility. Built in 1883, 195 Piccadilly has been limited by its Victorian architecture. Our top to bottom transformation of the building has enabled us to make some crucial structural changes that make the building a safe and inviting space for all people with access needs.

From the start of the project our design philosophy was to achieve a much more accessible building. We devised an access strategy in line with the Equality Act 2010 and the London Plan, ensuring that issues relating to access and inclusion have been considered at every stage of the design process. 

Throughout our planning stages the term “disability” was viewed in its broadest sense including impaired mobility, sight, comprehension and hearing and addressing the needs of the following user groups:

  • Individuals with mobility, sight, comprehension or hearing impairment
  • The ageing population
  • People with temporary injuries
  • People whose movement may be impaired or encumbered in any way, for example pregnant women or people with young children

Some of the major improvements to the building include:

  • Two wheelchair accessible passenger lifts providing access to all four floors and access to the roof terrace at the front of the building overlooking Piccadilly via a stair climber
  • A lift to the stage in the Princess Anne Theatre giving greater access for disabled speakers and participants at events
  • An improved entrance with fully automatic glazed double doors providing step-free access to the building   
  • A reception desk which is designed for both approach and use by wheelchair users from both sides
  • Full access throughout the building including levelling out floors and removing stairs where possible, and the addition ramps where there are steps
  • A wheelchair refuge on each floor to ensure wheelchair users are safe in emergencies
  • Fully accessible bathrooms on each floor
  • Removable seats in our theatres for wheelchair users
  • Hearing loops in both screening rooms - the 227-seat Princess Anne Theatre and the new 42-seat fourth floor screening room                    
  • Clear, concise and consistent signage suitable for people with visual impairments and learning disabilities, such as dyslexia. Signs have large print in a clear typeface, with good contrast and low glare. People with learning disabilities can benefit from an increased use of pictures on signs, in addition to or independent from text      
  • All lift call buttons are made distinct by illumination and the call buttons have tactile relief selectors. The lifts have audible announcements at each floor

The improvements to the building are crucial to enable us to support industry talent - both established and those on our learning programmes - in the most inclusive way. Improving access to the building helps us to broaden public use of 195 Piccadilly, enabling audiences with access needs to participate more easily in our events and use our facilities. 

With thanks to Ken Ross and Rachael Ross MBE - Accessibility and Inclusion Patrons and The Span Trust for making these developments possible.