A NEW vision for the iconic BBC TV Centre has been unveiled by the BBC and its developer partner Stanhope, writes LookWest Editor Ross Sturley.
The outline proposals look to open up and transform Television Centre into a mixed use development which still includes office and studio space for the BBC, as well as entertainment and leisure facilities, public open space, offices, housing and a hotel.
The 14 acre TV Centre site is currently occupied by 1.6m sq ft of existing buildings dating from the 1950s-1990s. It became home to the BBC in 1960, when the main building, whose shape was inspired by a question mark, was designed by architects Norman and Dawbarn. Elements of the building, including the central ‘inner ring’, are Grade II listed and will be retained and enhanced in the new designs by architects Alford Hall Monaghan Morris.
For the first time, Television Centre will be opened up to the public and the famous forecourt remodelled and enlivened by new retail, leisure and entertainment uses and access through the site providing connectivity with the local area, including Hammersmith Park.
While the BBC is moving most of its staff away from White City – to Broadcasting House in central London, or to the regions – some will remain at Television Centre operating studios, while BBC Worldwide – the Corporation’s main commercial arm - will make their new headquarters in a refurbishment of the ‘Stage 6’ building fronting Wood Lane.
The remaining offices are aimed at occupiers in the creative sector. As well as the commercial office space, there will be a variety of public uses, including a cinema, health club, restaurants and cafes.
David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope says of the plans: “We will be bringing new life into the site with new public routes, spaces and uses. We will be introducing a vibrant and exciting mix of new retail, leisure, office and residential uses whilst keeping and enhancing the famous original BBC buildings and retaining key operational BBC studio and office facilities on site. Television Centre will be a great place to live, work and visit.”
There are eight studios at present, and three of these will be refitted as ‘state of the art’ studio space, while the ‘inner ring’ of Television Centre will be refurbished to provide space for a hotel and residential apartments.
The current ‘Stage 4 and 5’ buildings will also be refurbished to provide speculative office space, targeted at being a new media or creative hub for businesses in the area The ‘Drama Block’, ‘Restaurant Block’, ‘East Tower’ and Multi Storey Car Park on Wood Lane will be replaced with new residential buildings and townhouses, while a ‘Village Green’ of town houses for families with private rear gardens will be created to the south of the site.
There will be approximately 1,000 new homes in total.
RIBA award winning practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris are Stanhope’s lead architects on the project, supported by Macreanor Lavington and Duggan Morris.
Paul Monaghan, Director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, said: “This unique opportunity will see the creation of a masterplan which will open up this much loved site, and the iconic buildings set within it, to the public for the first time and reconnect it with the surrounding neighbourhoods. We look forward to developing the exciting proposals as the project moves through planning and onto site.”
Stanhope bought the site in July 2012 for £200m partly funded by Mitsui Fudosan and the Alberta Investment Management Corporation. The BBC has leased back the site to Stanhope until 2015 and BBC Worldwide and BBC Studios and Post Production will stay at Television Centre in refurbished accommodation from April 2015. The remainder of the site will be vacated by the BBC and handed back to Stanhope in April 2015.
AHMM, the BBC and Stanhope will be submitting a series of planning applications to Hammersmith & Fulham Council. The partners hope to have made significant progress on planning by the end of 2013 in order to have vacant possession and start building work in 2015.
The redevelopment of the BBC TV Centre will be discussed in depth at Place West London on October 22 this year. www.placewestlondon.com .