Television Centre: Phase One

Taking responsibility for the future life of a national treasure

Television Centre is a unique site. As the home of the BBC for over 50 years, it is a sophisticated working studio complex, the site of a nation’s many memories and a historic Grade II listed building. Once the BBC had made the decision to relocate, it was acquired by Stanhope and partners, who have worked to offer it a new lease of life with a creative mix of uses that look to the future whilst also protecting the building’s original function as a home for British broadcasting.

A sensitive site

For such a sensitive site, the BBC needed to be confident that the property sold to a developer who would respect on their legacy. After a year-long process to develop initial proposals for the project and deal structure that met the BBC’s objectives, Stanhope purchased the property in July 2012 in Joint Venture with Mitsui Fudosan and Aimco.
Working with Stirling Prize-winning architects AHMM, a sensitive and modern approach was established for the redevelopment of this listed structure that included significant increases in capacity of the site, whilst retaining the distinctive circular contours of the building when seen from both the street and above. This respectful approach to the listed buildings combined with an open attitude to all stakeholders, meant Stanhope were able to get the project through with full planning permission at the first attempt.
At an architectural level, seven additional emerging and established architectural practices, (including two Stirling prize winners) were also invited to contribute their own designs for the site, providing a diverse and creative combination of contemporary British styles across the estate.
A similar spirit of creative collaboration is reflected in the mix of uses planned for the new development, encompassing apartments, work places, fully operational TV studios used by the BBC, a hotel and members club operated by Soho House, a gym, cinema and extensive new food and retail.

Unique challenges

The construction phase included numerous technical challenges and creative solutions. Working to the circular structure, plans for the building meant no two apartments shared the same layout.
On the outside, a two metre metal frame was constructed and bolted on to the 1950 exterior to imperceptibly increase the depth of garden facing homes. And with an active BBC presence upon the site throughout the construction phase, the project team had to demolish a 250,000 sq ft building and remove 50 years of television cabling without taking their BBC residents “off air”.

Back in the public domain

At one point a closed and private site, Television Centre’s ground level is now an open and bustling hive of activity where office workers, residents, TV makers and restaurant goers intersect around the famous forecourt. Independent restaurants, cafes and bars on the site include The Allis, Homeslice, Bluebird, Kricket and Patty+Bun. Additionally the site also meant a new home for Soho House’s members club and hotel and a new cinema from West London’s celebrated Electric.
The 400,000 sq ft of office accommodation includes a high profile move west by both Publicis and the White Company, and homes that were 80% sold on completion. The site also hosts 1200 staff from BBC Worldwide, and studios for ITV’s This Morning and BBC’s Graham Norton show. Television Centre is feeling very much itself again.
Use
Homes, Mixed-use, Workplaces
Role
Originate, Design, Build, Manage
Status
In Use, Asset Managed
Duration
2012 to Present
Partners
Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd, AIMCo, BBC
Architect
AHMM, MaccreanorLavington, Duggan Morris, Gillespies, DRMM
Location
White City, London
Gross area
2,300,000 Square Foot