European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Reading, ECMWF Berkshire Building, English Architecture Photos

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Building, Reading

21 November 2023

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) headquarters, Whiteknights campus

Design: BDP

Location: Whiteknights campus, University of Reading, Berkshire, England, UK

BDP’s Sustainable Weather And Climate Science Building Set To Be Built In Reading

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Reading, Berkshire, UK

ECMWF University of Reading, Berkshire, UK

21st November 2023 – The University of Reading campus is set to become home to the largest cluster of weather and climate scientists in the world, following agreement to build a new, sustainable, state-of-the-art headquarters for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on the University’s Whiteknights campus.

Designed by BDP and delivered for the UK Department for Science, innovation and technology (DSIT) by the Government Property Agency (GPA), the new building will replace the current headquarters of ECMWF as it moves adjacent to the University’s Department of Meteorology.

BDP is providing a full multidisciplinary design service as part of a team led by Mace, which has signed a Pre-Construction Services Agreement (PCSA) with the GPA to manage the next stage of the project.

The ECMWF new HQ building will provide office accommodation for the organisation’s employees and includes a council chamber, conference and seminar spaces. Wellbeing is supported through a gym, exemplary cycle provision, staff restaurant and an external amenity space.

Following the GPA Net Zero guidelines, the design targets a net zero carbon status, supporting ECMWF in its work to record, understand, and predict the weather – producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its member states.

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Building, Reading

BDP architect director, Frank Loehner, explains: “This unique, highly sustainable building will sit in a landscaped setting which reflects the parkland ethos of the university campus, with a design that takes inspiration from the nature of ECMWF research and operations. The site itself is surrounded by an unrivalled green, biodiverse setting which integrates the natural surroundings and the building to become a sanctuary on the campus.

“A fabric-first approach allowed us to optimise the building, making decisions on the form, glazing ratios and performance of the façade, as well as consider the minimisation of the use of materials. These are all crucial in our aim to create a project that has low embodied and operational carbon.”

Clive Anderson, GPA Director of Capital Projects said: “We are pleased to be working alongside colleagues from DSIT to deliver the UK offer to continue to host the ECMWF’s Headquarters. This will create one of the largest clusters of climate research scientists in the world and continue the UK’s leading position in climate change and adaptation. This exciting programme will create a modern, accessible and inclusive workspace for the ECMWF and create a highly sustainable, net zero carbon building to assist the GPA in its objective to contribute to the wider Greening Government Commitments.”

The design goes further in reflecting ECMWF’s organisation’s scientific role and identity. For example, the variations in the vertical pattern take inspiration from the graphical representation of the analytical data produced by ECMWF. The landscape architecture design itself is inspired by the ECMWF’s earth system approach and the interaction of land, ocean and atmosphere.
Pending planning approval, the project will commence in Summer 2024.

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Building, Reading, Berkshire


BDP is an international interdisciplinary practice of architects, engineers, designers and urbanists. We work closely with users, clients and the community to create special places for living, working, shopping, culture and learning across the world. Founded in 1961, we now have studios across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, UAE, India, China, Singapore and Canada. BDP has a leading track record in all major sectors including health, education, workplace, retail, urbanism, heritage, housing, transport and leisure and has won over 1000 awards for design quality.

In March 2016, BDP combined forces with Japan’s leading engineering practice Nippon Koei to form an integrated design group of genuine international reach. Sharing a philosophy which places an emphasis on design integration and community impact, the new group offers a unique combination of deep technical skills in engineering, architecture and the full range of design disciplines.


ECMWF is the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. We are both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing global numerical weather predictions and other data for our Member and Co-operating States and the broader community. The Centre has one of the largest supercomputer facilities and meteorological data archives in the world.

Other strategic activities include delivering advanced training and assisting the WMO in implementing its programmes. We are a key player in Copernicus, the Earth Observation component of the European Union’s Space programme, offering quality-assured information on climate change (Copernicus Climate Change Service), atmospheric composition (Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service), flooding and fire danger (Copernicus Emergency Management Service), and through the EU’s Destination Earth initiative, we are developing prototype digital twins of the Earth.


The Government Property Agency (GPA) exists to deliver the Government’s property strategy. It is the largest property holder in government, with more than £2.1 billion in property assets, and over 45% of the Government’s office estate.

The GPA combines public sector know-how and private sector expertise with commercial acumen. It provides a service to central government departments through the management of an integrated and shared estate (currently more than 950,000 square metres) working with commercial partners to deliver property strategies, asset management, property technology, facilities management and security services.

Representing the best covenant in the UK – His Majesty’s Government – the GPA is empowered to drive industry-leading deals, procure the best-in-class suppliers, and hire people that are inspired to deliver some of the most high-profile initiatives on the Government’s agenda.


European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Reading, Berkshire images / information received 211123 from BDP

Location: Reading, Berkshire, England, UK

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