The redevelopment of Broadcasting House means that for the first time, the BBC's national and global journalism teams will be working together on the same site, alongside Radio 1 and 1Xtra, the commissioning and scheduling teams for BBC One, Two, Three and Four, and all of the Vision Factual teams based in London.
The redevelopment has been carried out in two phases. Phase one comprised the refurbishment of the original 1932 Grade II* listed Broadcasting House, which continues to be the home of national radio; and the construction of the new John Peel Wing, now home to the BBC’s Arabic and Persian television services and BBC London. It was completed in 2005 and officially opened by The Queen in April 2006.
Phase Two was the addition of a brand new extension to provide a spacious and modern broadcast centre with state-of-the-art technology for all BBC journalism. Construction work was completed ahead of schedule in October 2010 and there followed a year-long technical fit-out. The beginning of 2012 heralded the start of the single biggest migration ever undertaken in the BBC, as 6,000 staff from Audio and Music, News and Vision, move into the new building. The migration will be complete by April 2013.
A range of new public spaces have been created at the heart of the new complex, which will open up the building to create dialogue between audiences/visitors and BBC staff.
In the central space between Broadcasting House and the new John Peel wing is a wide open piazza, called World, which will be used to stage cultural events and performances. It will also house a café where public and staff alike will be able to eat and relax – away from the bustle of nearby Oxford Street.
In addition, there is a new public walkway running through the centre of the site, which provides a foyer for the Radio Theatre, and which opens onto the Media Cafe where the public and BBC staff can mix. Along the length of the Cafe is a glass-fronted window which provides a unique view into the BBC Newsroom. This will be open to the general public in April 2013.
At the heart of the building is the newsroom, a column-free space, surrounded by technical areas and day-lit by the eight-storey high atria above. About twice the size of the largest floor available in Television Centre, this will be one of the largest live newsrooms in the world.
At any one time, over ten million people across the UK will watch or listen to output from the new Broadcasting House, and every week at least 150 million people worldwide will tune into the BBC World Service networks.
Top architects, designers and artists have been involved in shaping the new Broadcasting House, in order to create a truly inspirational workplace for the organisation that aims to be the most creative in the world. The site has taken a decade to complete and will be fully operational by April 2013. The single biggest migration ever undertaken in the BBC began in January 2012, to move 6,000 staff from Audio and Music, News and Vision into their new home.
On Sunday 11 March the BBC’s Burmese Service was the first programme to broadcast live from their new Broadcasting House. This marks the start of the BBC World Service's move from Bush House, its London home for over 70 years, to a new state of the art, multimedia broadcasting centre in the heart of the capital.
The construction of the new development has been financed by a public-private partnership involving a special bond. One of the benefits of the new building is the financial savings it has enabled the BBC to deliver which have more than trebled from £233 million estimated in 2003 to the latest estimate of £736 million.
Architect: MacCormac Jamieson Prichard (Phase I)/Sheppard Robson (Phase II)
Construction: Bovis Lend Lease
Management: Land Securities Development
Interior design: HOK
Consulting engineers: Ramboll UK
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