The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

BBC Broadcasting House, Llandaff, Cardiff
BBC Headquarters, Llandaff, Cardiff

“Exemplary modernist” Welsh BBC HQ not listed

By Henrietta Billings

The Twentieth Century Society is disappointed by the Welsh government’s recent decision not to list the BBC’s 1967 Broadcasting House site in Cardiff, one of Wales’ most outstanding post war buildings.

The complex is under threat from demolition and redevelopment after the corporation put the site in north Cardiff up for sale last year as part of plans to relocate to a new headquarters elsewhere in the capital.

The decision, made against advice from Cadw – the Welsh government’s heritage advisers – is a blow to Wales’ post war heritage, and comes after the controversial and highly publicised loss of the 1979 Chartist Mural in Newport – demolished in October last year.

In their assessment of the building which recommended listing at Grade II, Cadw said: “The building is recommended for listing on the basis of its special architectural interest as a sensitively designed complex of buildings by one of Wales’ leading modernist architects, and as an exemplary modernist building. It is also of special historic interest as the only purpose-built national public service broadcasting centre of its period in Wales.”

Welsh minister of culture and sport John Griffiths, refused this recommendation and decided not to list because in his view it did not meet the criteria for listing as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

We believe this historic TV and radio complex, designed by renowned Welsh architect Dale Owen as principle architect of Percy Thomas Partnership, is one of Wales’ most outstanding and important post war buildings. It is also one of the best remaining examples of this highly significant Welsh architectural practice.

We have seen no evidence that the building could not be converted to new uses once the BBC moves out. Demolition would result in a wasteful and unnecessary loss of a key part of Wales’ architectural heritage.