Dezeen Magazine

Channel 4 headquarters by Richard Rogers

Richard Rogers' Channel 4 headquarters awarded Grade II-listing

The Richard Rogers-designed Channel 4 headquarters in London, which was recently deemed one of the UK's most-at-risk buildings, has been granted Grade II-listed status.

Completed in 1994, the Channel 4 headquarters in central London was given a Grade II-listing as an "elegant example of high-tech architecture", according to listing body Historic England.

The listing follows an assessment carried out by the body after the building's owners applied for a Certificate of Immunity from Listing, which would have guaranteed that no listing occurred for five years.

It is understood that the owners wanted to replace its atrium glazing. However, heritage body the Twentieth Century Society (C20) described the building as under threat of "redevelopment or alteration".

Building created by "one of Britain's most celebrated architects"

Historic England described the Channel 4 headquarters as "a major contributor to our cultural landscape" and"an important British work by Richard Rogers Partnership, a practice of international renown led by one of Britain's most celebrated architects".

"[It is] an elegant work of the high-tech movement, displaying many of its key principles, such as the separation of services from the spaces served, the use of prefabricated elements and a technological aesthetic based upon expressed structure and exposed services," added the body.

The building, which was Rogers' first in central London after his Grade I-listed Lloyd's building, comprises two wings that create an L-shaped form connected by a curved shaped flanked by two towers.

Its distinctive facade is clad in glass and pewter-coated powder-grey aluminium, punctuated by pale-red details.

It was recently named on the C20's Risk List of the building's most under threat, due to the fact that it "could be at risk of being sold if Channel 4 is privatised and is under threat of redevelopment or alteration."

Headquarters an "exemplar of the high-tech movement"

The organisation applauded the decision to give it a Grade II-listing.

"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 director Catherine Croft said.

"C20 Society strongly advocated for the building to be recognised with listing and included it in our recent 2023 Risk List," she added.

"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."

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), the studio co-founded by Rogers, was "delighted" the Channel 4 headquarters is now listed.

"RSHP are delighted to see that the Channel Four headquarters in London has been Grade II listed," RSHP senior design partner Ivan Harbour told Dezeen.

"The building, commissioned by the, then, 10-year-old TV station, radical in its programming and commissioning was, on opening, described as a ‘transistor radio’ following on from the 'valve radio', Lloyd's of London," he added.

"Although, superficially similar in its expression (the team was led by John Young, following his role on Lloyd's), the building takes the contrary urban approach, re-enforcing the street edges and amplifying its primary Westminster street corner as a generous public space."

RSHP is reportedly investigating turning the Lloyd's building into a hotel for its owners.

The photography is courtesy of RSHP.