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Film Studio Design Burland Aura Planning


Film Studio Design

A design team for your film studios. We help owners of studio complexes design studios that attract and retain creative talent and film service suppliers.

How aura planning can help with film studio design 

The great film and TV studios of the world have an aura about them that seems to inspire great work. You can design for this, but you have to recognise that the permanent built environment of your studio needs to offer a range of atmospheres. That needs thinking about in a structured way rather than assuming it will be the outcome of a good design. The goal is to make the studios a place of well-being that stimulate and support great creativity and attract the best talent. This is not an easy objective even for the most gifted architect. We help de-risk the design process.

Why Burland Aura Planning for film studio design

James Burland is an architect who, over a career designing a wide range of different buildings, felt the building user wasn’t getting enough say. Although users were often consulted, they were not encouraged to share the mood they wanted a building to give them. 

Working on plans Ealing Studios and then Pinewood and Shepperton, James observed how the permanent design features of a film studio all influence the way its creative community feels. All good architects can create moods through design but they need to know what mood you are after! Those moods will be different where you are in relation to the building and what you want to do in the building. A film studio, in particular, can have an impressive atmosphere generated from unique, modest and functional structures due to the association with films that have been made on its lot. There will be lots to exploit.

James encountered mood specification when designing large sports stadia where the spectator’s experience is crucial and carefully planned. The interplay of light, sound and air is the spatial experience and it differs depending on whether you are approaching, entering, moving through or staying in the building, and whether you are alone or with others. These experiences can be designed if you have first identified and described them.

He researched the published literature on experience design while taking a masters degree at Cambridge University and developed the Burland Aura Planning process. He has subsequently applied it to several commercial projects including a film studio design. See the Tallinn Studios case study for more details. 

Who we work with

  • Film studio managers who want to improve their working environment and the creativity of their team 

  • Media service providers to be competitive and attractive to emerging skilled professionals.

  • Film related businesses looking for the right location to set up their workplace, and to offer a work environment that attracts the best staff

  • Facilities managers for creative industries searching for suitable work space for their companies 

  • Local authorities dealing with film studio planning applications and looking to find common objectives in the environmental and planning impact of the studio complex 

  • Property developers who want to attract film studios into their developments and need to meet local employment requirements and to add vitality to the location.  

  • Planning departments when writing policy for existing or new film studio expansion plans 

  • Estate agents looking for more convincing ways of explaining why a lettable space in film studios is appealing 

  • Neighbourhood action groups needing to negotiate with the people behind a film studio development to ensure it meets the neighbourhood’s needs


Project: Tallinn Studios

Tallinn Studios is a project well advanced with a completed concept and planning submission. The film producers behind the project were interested in what aura planning could bring to the design. This case study gives an idea of what the first stage of the aura planning process can do for a project, before getting into the whole aura planning process. Although it was a short term assignment, the clients found great benefit in looking at the project in a different way.

Photo Credit: Cotswold Life

Film Studio Design Burland Aura Planning


Film studios find the aura planning process empathetic with the collaborative methods of film-making


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