Channel 4 Headquarters (124-126 Horseferry Road, 1990-1994), designed by Richard Rogers and Partners (now RSHP), was listed at Grade II by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the 23rd March 2023.
The listing is in response to the increased issue of works undertaken as part of a proposed refurbishment, providing it with a degree of protection in this process. Construction began in 1990, placing it within the ‘Thirty Year Rule’ for listing eligibility, despite its completion in 1994. This listing demonstrates to landowners, asset holders and stakeholders where the threshold lies for building this relative youth. Channel 4’s headquarters is a seminal building designed for the commercially funded, publicly owned broadcaster by one of the twentieth century’s leading architectural practices. It also possesses some special historic and sociological interest as a bespoke TV company HQ from the period of television growth. Its layout, with public spaces such as the communal gardens and the staff cafeteria at its centre, represents the democratic principles of Channel 4.
The building is characteristic of Rogers’ thoughts on urbanism, reintegrating the traditional urban block form through its ‘logical’ L-shaped plan responding to its position at the junction with Chadwick Street. The concaved entrance welcomes visitors and workers, providing an entrance to a central atrium with glazed walls allowing visibility of offices and lightweight walkways crossing the interior.
Situated in a prominent position at the corner of Horseferry Road in Westminster, the building’s carved-out entrance, prominent lift overruns and exposed colour-coded servicing, including boiler flues, transmission antennae and chiller plant, is emblematic of a design oeuvre that had developed across Rogers’ career, beginning with his and Renzo Piano’s Pompidou Centre in Paris and expressed through the Grade I listed Lloyd’s Building in the City of London. The building has a high degree of architectural merit.
The listing is another example of High-Tech buildings of the 1990s and complements other Post-Modern listings from this decade, including James Stirling and Michael Wilford’s One Poultry (1994-1998, Grade II*). The movement itself was well-established by this point, and with technological advancements, particularly in the use of automated Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems (HVAC), ensuring the amount of space required for servicing the running of a building was becoming smaller, allowing greater architectural expression to the exterior.
Montagu Evans’ Historic Environment and Townscape team have advised on multiple buildings from the second half of the twentieth century and our in-house Post-War working group specialists in this area. And predicting which modern buildings will be next to be added to the List is an area of heritage work is an area of interest to many – owners, developers, planners and all who appreciate the buildings around them.
The list description is available HERE.
A description of the building by its architects is available HERE.