With a global audience of around 241 million, the BBC is the world’s largest and most renowned broadcaster. The iconic home of British radio, Broadcasting House, has long been the jewel in its crown. But ten years ago, the BBC recognised that it needed a headquarters more fit for the digital age.
AECOM was commissioned to lead the business services design, and the project has positioned us as a world leader in media design. It has involved refurbishing the original 1932 Grade II* listed Broadcasting House, and building a high-tech, 13-floor extension. Recently completed, the centre was opened by Her Majesty The Queen.
At the centre is the BBC’s news hub – a vast, day lit column-free space, and one of the world’s largest live newsrooms. A number of spaces will be open to the public including a gallery, the central piazza and a glass-walled walkway with views into the newsroom.
Broadcasting House’s advanced new tri-media facilities include one flexible and six fixed-rig TV studios, as well as 16 radio studios, countless edit rooms and transmission suites. Space-saving design has been essential.
Transforming Broadcasting House from heritage to high-definition is a demanding task. Staying on air is naturally of paramount importance: no failure of any building service system can interrupt broadcasting. The complex mechanical, electrical and control systems need to be highly resilient, as does the acoustic design.
The site’s close proximity to London Underground’s Bakerloo and Victoria tube lines and its cramped, urban location demanded innovative engineering solutions.
The redesign will save the BBC £736m over a 20-year period. This is the first broadcasting development to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent and our experience is already informing industry-wide guidance.