Almost a decade on from its closure in 2013 the iconic White City home of the BBC Television Centre makes another giant step into the second phase of a £500 million redevelopment programme, which will ultimately create some 950 new apartments, shops and a restaurant too.
Mitsui Fudosan UK takes over from Mace as developer of the current phase, which is due to deliver 500+ apartments, while original Development Manager Stanhope remains in place to oversee the completion by 2026 of a new residential tower block comprising 167 apartments, 180 more in a crescent-shaped block to match the building’s unique original ‘doughnut’ footprint and 22 contemporary townhouses lining a ‘village green’.
Of course, the sensitive yet practical renaissance of a building this iconic, so totally permeated with the history of British broadcasting, is a huge challenge. Little wonder then that at the head of the design team is multiple award-winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) whose work on major landmark projects such as Broadgate, Paternoster Square and the Tate Modern are already well-known to Londoners. Renowned for their sterling work re-imagining historic buildings for modern uses, the 2015 Stirling Prize-winners have been careful to preserve key features as poignant reminders of the development’s rich history and immense significance, among them the original windows and the original gilded bronze statue of the all-seeing Sun God Helios (also known rather appropriately as Ariel).
The much-loved statue, which had been a focal point since the opening of the BBC Television Centre in 1960, has been repaired, restored and remounted in its original prime position in the middle of the fountain at the heart of the rotunda.
And there’s heartening news for anyone whose heart sank on hearing that the television studios were to close. White City is once again a television centre, thanks to the preservation and comprehensive refurbishment in the project of three original studios to create three brand new, state-of-the-art TV facilities. Already a number of major TV shows are booked in for production there, including the Graham Norton Show and ITV’s This Morning.Overall, the development is good news for London’s broadcast industry by bringing those three television studios bang up to date and restoring West London as a TV production contender – and of course by providing the Hammersmith and Fulham area with much-needed new housing with affordable homes available alongside high-end apartments starting at around £650k.