FCBStudios are leading the design team for this major project at Alexandra Palace funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Haringey Council. We are undertaking significant refurbishment and repair of this listed public building while allowing its operations in the west side to continue successfully.
The HLF project is focussed on the East Wing which, despite being partially derelict, contains the very popular Ice Rink. Surrounding the rink in a U-shape are the former BBC Studios, the Victorian Theatre and the glazed East Court.
All these spaces offer their own particular delight and aspects of historic significance. The East Court was once a grand exhibition space, part of a wider experience of promenade and spectacle so beloved of the Victorian public. The 19th century theatre, dark for over eighty years, bears a highly atmospheric patina of age. It is a true ‘found space’, a snap-shot of a grander time, now in ‘stabilised decay’. Finally the BBC Studios gave birth in 1936 to a technology that was to change the world – high definition television.
Read 'Suspended Animation' by Architect Matt Somerville.
The scheme won support from English Heritage, the Theatres Trust, the Friends of Alexandra Palace Theatre, the Friends of Alexandra Palace Park, the Victorian Society and the Alexandra Palace Television Group as well as local residents. This project represents a unique opportunity for the ‘People’s Palace’ to fulfil its potential as a place of learning and enjoyment for the wider community and to provide a significant boost to the local economy.
In September 2016 we were appointed to develop a strategic masterplan, to further regenerate the local area.
The challenge for the Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust, and therefore for FCBStudios as design team leaders, is to bring new life back to these spaces and to encourage visitors to explore the Palace in new ways.
Our approach is to define a new typology of attractions using the valuable assets of the Theatre and BBC studios which will be connected conceptually and physically by the glazed East Court which will be activated with a great food offer and activities that are thoughtful, educative, playful and fun.
Both conservation and new design are informed of course by the historic building and its associated performance and working spaces. We aim to use the collections and the story of the earliest BBC transmissions as a foundation to create a new type of experience. We will augment these historic stories into a significant changing display, also exploring the contemporary world of transmission and reception, which would provide a compelling 21st century context for many visitors to this important site.
2015 New London Awards: Public Buildings Unbuilt Winner