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C20 Society backs calls to list BBC Wales HQ

The Twentieth Century Society has backed a move by Cadw to list home of the BBC in Wales for the last 50 years

Cadw, the historic environment service of the Welsh Government, is considering whether to list the 1966 Broadcasting House site, which covers 40,500m² and includes BBC Cymru Wales’ 22,300m² former headquarters building.

The campus, designed by Welsh architect Dale Owen, is under threat from redevelopment after the corporation put the plot in north Cardiff on the market last summer as part of plans to relocate to a new purpose-built centre in the Welsh capital.

Owen, who worked in the US with the founder of the Bauhaus school Walter Gropius, is recognised as one of Wales’ most important Modernist architects. He also designed the National Museum of Wales at St Fagan’s and the Grade II-listed Arts Centre in Aberystwyth.

Henrietta Billings, senior conservation adviser at the Twentieth Century Society said: ‘The BBC building is one of Wales’ most outstanding and important Modernist buildings, and one of the best remaining examples of this highly significant Welsh architectural practice.

‘We believe this iconic set of buildings should be listed and celebrated as a key part of Wales’s cultural and architectural heritage. We would like to see them retained and converted – not demolished – as part of any new use for the site.’

Judi Loach, architectural historian at the University of Cardiff added: ‘This is the outstanding Modernist building of the post war era in Cardiff and indeed one of the very few in Wales that can stand comparison with first rate architecture abroad.

‘This is the most significant twentieth century building to be threatened in Wales since the loss of the grade II*-listed rubber factory in Brynmawr, south Wales built 1946-51, demolished in 2001.’

The Royal Society of Architects in Wales has also joined the calls for statutory protection for the the building with its president Dan Benham claiming the building was ‘a key example of design from its time’ and had ‘significant architectural merit’.

He said: ‘Any student of Welsh architecture knows that this building is a key link in the architectural history of Wales. [We do] not want to see buildings of this significance being lost to future generations.’

Much of BBC Wales’ drama production has already moved to the FAT-designed Roath Lock Studios, in Cardiff Bay.

A recommendation on the listing, which will ultimately be decided by the Secretary of State, is due in March 2014.

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