This is my first post in homage to the BBC TV Centre at White City in West London. In my opinion, an architectural mid-century workplace masterpiece loved by the people who worked there and have recently been relocated in the decentralisation of the BBC. The building was commissioned by the BBC in 1949 from architects Norman and Dawbarn and was the headquarters and home of the BBC from 1960 to 2013. The architect Arthur Hayes, who worked as part of the original team, continued to work as the BBC’s resident site architect. See The BBC Story for more information and a video of Arthur Hayes talking about his memories of the Television Centre. The photographs above show details of the listed staircase, notice the complete lack of any support in the landing platforms – amazing architecture.
I love the mix of the functionality, the monochrome palette, and the rich hardwood which has deepened in tone with use. This is typical of many mid-century designs and a combination I find very effective.
The circular architecture of what is often affectionately called ‘The Big Doughnut’ by those who worked there, brings fascinating features to the working space, the long curving corridors, and the central courtyard viewable from all the interior windows. Many areas of the building are Grade II listed and will be converted for other uses now the BBC has left the majority of the building. Some areas will still be retained for use by the BBC.
In the next two posts I will look at the typography of the BBC Television Centre and say goodbye to the studios and facilities which will be demolished.