BBC Television Centre Building, White City
DescriptionOnly four years after the end of World War 2, the BBC announced that new Television Studios were to be constructed at a 13.5 acre site (previously used for the Franco-British exhibition of 1908), 4 miles from central London, at White City within the Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Although many households did not have a television at the time, it was recognised that existing facilities would not have the capacity to accommodate the needs within a few short years. Unfortunately, the scarcity of building materials at this time meant that although building began in 1951, the building was not in full use until 1960, when it became the largest, and most technologically advanced television studio in the world.
Instantly recognisable buildings with innovative design meant that these studios became the hub of BBC broadcasting for decades, right up until 2013, when the site was mothballed, production having moved to other sites, including the BBC White City Broadcast Centre, less than a mile north of the Television Centre site. The site was sold, releasing much needed funds for the BBC, to Stanhope Property who sensitively redeveloped the site around the existing listed buildings, maintaining the atmosphere of the historic use of the site and providing over 1000 new homes, eating places and leisure activities. The famous statue of Helios, the Greek god of the sun, symbolises the radiation of television around the world and has been refurbished and is now central to the development as part of a fountain, which the new apartments overlook.
The old car park in front of the famous “doughnut” building was carefully crafted into a new area of high-quality public realm, with screening provided by numerous mature trees central to the planning consent. With leading Landscape Architect Gillespies at the realm GreenBlue Urban worked closely with P J Carey, the groundworks contractor to create large interconnected tree pits, providing adequate volumes of uncompacted "specifically designed" soil for the fine Pin Oak [Quercus palustris] trees. A tough urban tree that copes with limited periods of waterlogging, it produces fine autumn colour as the leaves turn scarlet,
StrataCells, Underground guying, Root Management and integrated Castle Tree grilles with aeration and irrigation were all carefully installed to the highest standard. Overseen with onsite supervision due to the many complex underground utilities - Shane Frost of GBU states:-
This was one of the most extensive planting trenches I had seen at that time along, the results are amazing and have radically changed the street scene.
GreenBlue are proud to have been involved in this multi award winning regeneration project - the planted trees are providing character and seasonal colour for all who live, work and play, or even just pass by this wonderful iconic building.