Monday, November 01, 2021

Channel 4 Headquarters


London The Unfinished City
Big 4.
Wednesday October 27, 2021.

It was a beautiful October morning as my youngest, Keilyn, and I made our way around London. Having stopped to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, we decided to go for a stroll in which Keilyn would be the navigator.

We headed south down Buckingham Gate and on to Artillery Row, before turning westward towards Great Peter Street. The smell of street food emanating from Strutton Ground was intoxicating, but it was the giant number '4', off to our right, which had Keilyn's attention. So, we crossed on to Horseferry Road to investigate. 

London The Unfinished City
Channel 4 HQ.

Keilyn had soon put two-and-two together and realised that this was the home of Channel 4 television. We took some photos, trying not to get passers-by in the images, but, as it was close to lunchtime, this proved difficult.

We then headed up to Strutton Ground and enjoyed some street food, before continuing on our walk around London.

Brief History

Channel 4, which first broadcast in 1982, originally had its headquarters at 60 Charlotte Street, in London's West End. 

In 1990 three architectural firms were asked to submit plans for a new 15,000 m2 (160,000 sq ft) headquarters, for Channel 4, in Westminster. The Richard Rogers Partnership, who had designed the Lloyd's Building, were chosen. The brief called for two blocks of flats, a public landscaped garden and an underground car park.

Work began in 1990 and was completed in 1994. It consists of two four-storey office blocks connected to an L shape central entrance block, which has a conclave glazed wall and finished in grey steel cladding perforated with red steel struts. John Young, the project architect, said that the red colour was "taken from a paint sample provided by the City of San Francisco: it is the same colour as the Golden Gate Bridge".

Big 4

The 'Big 4' is a 15.24 metre (50 foot) tall statue created by FreeState, in 2007, and is based on the Channel 4 logo used between 2004-2015.

Originally constructed in 2007, the Big 4 is a naked frame, ready to be transformed by artists. Its structure mirrors Channel 4’s iconic on-air identity, with the metal bars forming the logo only when viewed from a particular angle.

The Big 4 was created to celebrate both the Channel's 25th anniversary year and the launch of the Big Art Project. Since its inception a variety of artists, both internationally renowned and emerging talent, have created ‘skins’ for the 4.

January 2011 saw the fifth skin design "Time to Breathe" by artist Hannah Gourlay - which has the 4 softly breathe, inhaling and exhaling softly, at a similar pace to yogic breathing. Other artists include El Antsui (Untitled), Stephanie Imbeau (Shelter) & Claire Watson (Snowman)

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