Welcome, Broadcasting House!
THE broadcasting stream of information and entertainment could not be contained within the first broadcasting headquarters at Savoy Hill. A site for a new building was just above Oxford Circus, at the end of Portland Place. The architect’s problem was to build twenty-two studios, which would be entirely insulated from sounds, and at the same time to provide a large number of day-lit offices. The solution was found in arranging the offices as an outer shell round an inner core of studios, which were planned as a separate building. The outer shell, with its cutaway roof, took on the likeness of a great ship with its prow pointing to the heart of London. Three aerial masts on the roof expressed the function of the new Broadcasting House. Ariel, invisible spirit of the air, was chosen as the personification of broadcasting. In a niche above the main entrance, a sculptured group by Eric Gill showed Prospero, Ariel’s master, sending him out into the world. It was, and is, though no longer a dazzling white among the greys, a twentieth-century building for a twentieth-century institution.