Channel 4’s London Headquarters Listed at Grade II
Channel 4’s London headquarters at 124-126 Horseferry Road has been listed at Grade II by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on Historic England’s advice, giving it greater protection and recognition.
Built in 1992-1994 and designed specifically for Channel 4 by the internationally renowned architectural practice Richard Rogers Partnership, the award-winning building is one of the youngest listed buildings in England.
The Channel 4 building on Horseferry Road is among the finest examples of a building in the High Tech style for which Lord Rogers of Riverside and his great British partnership became internationally renowned. Just as we have recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of Channel 4, I am delighted that this building has been listed so that it can continue to be admired and enjoyed by future generations.
Television has had an enormous impact on our national life since the 1930s, but the Channel 4 headquarters is one of only a few buildings purposely designed for the industry’s needs. It is architecturally fascinating, as well as having great historic interest for its connection to Channel 4, which has been a major contributor to our cultural landscape since being set up as a publicly owned channel in 1982. Listing recognises this impressive building and protects it for the future.
124-126 Horseferry Road is an elegant example of High-tech architecture. This movement emerged in the 1960s and Sir Richard Rogers was a leading advocate. The building demonstrates many of the movement’s key principles, including the separation of services from the spaces served, the use of prefabricated elements and a technological aesthetic. It was Rogers’ first central London job after the Lloyd’s Building in the City, now Grade I listed.
Although it’s much less high profile than Roger’s Lloyd’s building, both were really significant UK commissions for this outstanding practice, and both dramatically express services and structural elements externally. We put it on our 2019 Buildings at Risk list and are delighted to see it being given the protection it deserves.
The building was a BBC Design Awards Finalist in 1996, and won a RIBA National Award in 1995, a Royal Fine Art Commission Award in 1995 and a Civic Trust Award in 1996.
Channel 4 arrived in 1982, established by the 1980 Broadcasting Act. The act provided for a new, publicly-owned but commercially-funded, fourth channel with a remit to ‘encourage innovation and experiment in the form and content of programmes’. Its output was to offer something different from the other channels and its organisational model was equally distinctive, being funded by advertising but adhering to a public service remit. It didn’t produce its own programming, instead commissioning and buying material from independent production companies. Channel 4 aimed to employ people outside the television industry who could bring new and non-traditional perspectives. This led to new voices and new talents, and a greater representation of minorities.