Changes to plan for second phase of Broadcasting House force project architect to cut staff

Architect Maccormac Jamieson Prichard has cut one-third of its 35-strong design team from the BBC Broadcasting House project.

The move is a response to changes to the design of the second phase of alterations, which simplify the structure of the 24-hour studio where the BBC’s flagship news operations would be based.

The four huge metal “trees” supporting the room will be replaced by a series of more conventional columns.

MJP conceded that some staff had been made redundant but emphasised that it was committed to the project as a whole. Some of the 12 architects taken off the project have taken voluntary redundancy and a few could be reallocated.

Director Richard MacCormac said: “MJP is committed to the review that we’re undertaking and we are confident that this will be a great project.” The redundancies came as a source close to the project this week said the BBC had called for a design review of the second phase of Broadcasting House because it was no longer sure what sort of space it wanted, and how it should be used.

The source said that although phase two would still include the newsroom, the initial plan was to bring the rest of building to the highest technical specification, with huge standby power facilities, so that extra studios could be added if needed. The BBC is now looking for a more simple fit-out that could be used for more general purposes and possibly be sublet.

However, it is understood that the change of plans for the internal fit-out will not affect the schedule for the completion of the external infrastructure.

The BBC’s project manager for Broadcasting House, Keith Beal, denied there was a link between the BBC’s round of efficiencies, which could see several thousand staff being axed, and the design review.

He said: “There is no delay. Where there is a change is on the fit out side of things. You have to be very careful to not tie in issues that are not related. The efficiencies would be happening with or without Broadcasting House."