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Mediaworks, White City Place: recycling a building for a new future

In 2004, the BBC moved into a media and broadcasting centre designed by Allies and Morrison. The BBC Media Village buildings were designed as big, robust concrete frame buildings, convenient and flexible. Today, 13 years later, this resilience has shown true as the re-imagined White City Place, a new tech and creative hub developed by Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan. Set within burgeoning White City, the office complex is repurposing the old BBC buildings as 53,000 sqm of new speculative office accommodation.

The refurbishment of the first of these buildings, The Mediaworks, has been completed by the practice.

Our interventions have been largely subtle, focused on making what was a single-occupier building work in a more flexible way for diverse users. Of the three atria, the central one has been retained from ground to fifth floor with this voluminous space containing a set of timber-clad staircases which provide strong visual presence. At ground level, this is a shared space where all tenants can mix and benefit from casual meeting and working spaces. The north and south atria have been in-filled at first floor to create more office accommodation. Office floors have been reconfigured to be more open and flexible. Fixings and details throughout the building have been meticulously updated and new contemporary furniture has been specified for common areas.

The Mediaworks’ slender brick-clad neighbour, Garden House, will from this autumn become a new home for programmes of the Royal College of Art’s Schools of Communication, Humanities and Architecture. This evolution from office to academic uses is a reflection of the original design’s ability to be adaptable over time.

The old administrative headquarters for the BBC, a Scott Brownrigg Turner building which opened in 1990, is being transformed into The Westworks. The practice is designing a large shared tenant area at ground level with extensive cafes, terraces, an event studio, reception areas and staff/cycling facilities. New beverage and leisure units at ground level will animate a newly landscaped street by landscape architects HED. Completion is due later this year.