Stage 6 at Television Centre in White City, London, has been transformed into the new headquarters for BBC Worldwide, the primary commercial arm of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The space was formerly occupied by the broadcast studios of BBC News, which relocated to the BBC New Broadcasting House that HOK designed in Central London.
HOK’s design provides an open, flexible environment that promotes the BBC’s brand while facilitating cross-functional collaboration among approximately 1,200 employees across six floors.
The Television Centre’s reputation as the first “television factory” when it opened in 1960 inspired the industrial design aesthetic. In addition to energizing staff by avoiding the corporate atmosphere of a traditional workplace, exposing the structure and services within a 15-foot-high frame preserves the open floor plate and maintains clear sightlines.
To create an open, efficient workspace, the team relocated four central lift cores to a windowless wall on the east, replacing them with a feature spiral stairway. This helical staircase acts as the main circulation route for staff, providing a physical and visual link between each of the six office floors. A daylight-filled, circular atrium creates a ground-floor gathering place while providing visual connections between floors.
The design drives knowledge sharing and creativity among content providers and staff from different departments. Combining bench workstations with loose furniture options accommodates activities ranging from focused work to small or large meetings. The primary settings, or bench workstations, radiate out from the atrium with the quietest locations placed along the glazed perimeter. Surrounding the staircase and atrium are flexible, secondary settings that encourage collaboration and create a buffer that mitigates the noise that permeates up through the atrium space. The only enclosed spaces are meeting rooms, and these are deep inside the building.
To highlight the media company’s core business, more than 60 TV screens throughout the building continuously broadcast BBC programs. The graphics for each floor are themed around non-program-specific subjects such as adventurers or entertainers. Giving each floor a specific visual tone and graphic style helps extend the life of the imagery and improve wayfinding. Some rooms are themed to reflect BBC programs such as “Doctor Who” and “Dancing with the Stars.” The colorful graphics at the atrium’s base have been digitally sewn with staff members’ favorite quotes and characters from BBC programs.