C20 is thrilled to announce the Channel 4 headquarters (1992-94) in Westminster has just been Grade II listed. Recognition with national listing places the high-tech office block and studio complex alongside the Lloyds building as one of Richard Rogers most high-profile listed works, and one of the youngest listed buildings in the country. It comes just weeks after the Society included the building in our 2023 Risk List – the top 10 twentieth century buildings most under threat in the UK.
As with the Lloyds building, the services and structural elements of Channel 4 (124 Horseferry Road) are externally expressed to dramatic effect, with two four storey wings meeting at a full height atrium in curved curtain-walled glass – believed to be the first of its type in the UK. The building contains primarily office space and there is only one studio, as most of the channels output is produced by independent programme makers. The design projects the perceived character of the broadcaster: innovative, socially aware and willing to take risks. It was Rogers’ first central London job after the Lloyd’s Building in the City, now Grade I listed. 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.
Following the broadcasters relocation of its national headquarters to Leeds in 2019, the threat to the building mounted as the Government announced their intention to privatise the channel, with some estimates valuing the super-prime London HQ site at upwards of £100 million. While these plans have since been shelved, without protection the building remained harmful vulnerable to alteration or redevelopment, with concerning being raised recently at work taking place to the dramatic curtain wall glazed atrium.
After a COI (Certificate of Immunity from listing) request was made in 2021, the Society strongly advocated listing for the building and included it in our recently launched 2023 Risk List campaign.
C20 Director Catherine Croft commented:
The Channel 4 HQ is undoubtedly one of Richard Rogers’ most significant UK projects and so we’re delighted to see it receive the protection it deserves. C20 Society strongly advocated for the building to be recognised with listing and included it in our recent 2023 Risk List.
Like his celebrated ‘inside-out’ Lloyds building, it’s an exemplar of the high tech movement, dramatically expressing its services and structural elements externally – a fitting metaphor for the bold public broadcaster that commissioned it.
The Risk List publication – 2023 Issue
The Risk List is the Societies’ annual compilation of the top 10 most threatened twentieth and twenty-first century buildings across the UK.
Our 2023 list includes a Bengali women’s centre in London’s East End, a brutalist John Lewis store in Scotland, a set of modernist power station cooling towers in the Midlands, and a 1980’s avant-garde pop pyramid in Milton Keynes, demonstrating the extraordinary breadth of architectural styles that characterised the period. It also encourages members of the public to participate, with specific actions to help save each building. Download our Risk List publication now to get involved!