At a time when most organisations are throwing in the sponge and
moving out to the periphery of their home city, the BBC has unveiled
dramatic new plans by Sir Richard MacCormac of MacCormac Jameson
and Pritchard to concentrate key production and executive activities
together at Broadcasting House. This will enable the tacky White
City complex to be rationalised. Bush Houses activities will
be incorporated in the new grouping. MacCormac has designed a subtle
but dramatic updating, reconciling this with the fine church by
John Nash on the corner, St Pauls Langham Place, and enhancing
the original 1932 Broadcasting House. This building is not always
recognised as incorporating spaces designed by Wells Coates, Serge
Chermayeff, and the respected but forgotten Edward Mauffe. Notwithstanding
all this, Broadcasting House currently rates only Grade II as a
listed building. It seems likely that when MacCormacs rehabilitation
is completed, the whole group will be raised to Grade I. MacCormac,
architect recently of the new Wellcome Wing at the Science Museum
as well as the masterly Ruskin Museum at the University of Lancaster,
has been lucky to secure the job. A previous BBC initiative embraced
Lord Foster in replacing the overblown Langham Hotel, opposite.
Although this was one of Fosters best schemes of the period,
but was gently abandoned by Auntie. Now her environment
will be dramatically brought up into the 21st century.
At the same time the BBC has already commissioned David Chipperfield to develop a core for BBC Scotland in Glasgow, at Pacific Quay. Chipperfield too has landed on his feet, having worked for Foster on the earlier Langham Place project.