Marco Polo House
|Marco Polo House|
|Owner||Now owned by Berkeley Homes (West London), Apartments & Penthouses launching 2014 www.vistachelseabridge.co.uk|
|Design and construction|
Marco Polo House is a large marble- and glass-clad office building at 346 Queenstown Road facing Battersea Park in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It was built in 1987, to a design by postmodernist designer Ian Pollard.
It was originally home to British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) television in the late 1980s, and took its name from its first owner's Marcopolo satellites. Part of the building was also used by The Observer newspaper until the newspaper moved into the offices of its parent, The Guardian. When BSB merged with Sky to form BSkyB the new company kept the lease, and in 1993 the building became home to shopping channel QVC's studios and offices.
The building also used as the offices for another ill-fated broadcaster, ONdigital, the UK's first digital terrestrial television broadcaster from 1998. The company was re-launched in 2001 as ITV Digital.
The grey and white striped Marble faced building is split into two blocks, covering 157,357 square feet (14,619 m2) and is visible from trains to and from Victoria station.
After a Russian consortium bought the freehold for more than £60m in 2006, QVC decided not to renew its lease when it expired in 2012. The channel looked for alternative location - including in several Northern cities - for its 500 head office staff and studio centre. The channel's management ended broadcasting from the studios on 7 June 2012 and moved to 126,000 sq ft (11,706 m2) a new studio complex at Chiswick Park, in West London in a campus-style development on the site of a derelict London Transport bus depot, where its neighbours would include fellow broadcasters CBS and Discovery Channel.
Press reports suggested that Marco Polo house would be demolished, and replaced with a 12-storey mixed office and luxury housing development. Marco Polo House's architect Pollard told the Architects Journal the plan was a move towards a "lower grade of architecture", adding: "Marco was a fun building. It was quite an iconic at the time and some people still say it is." Others said it was "Postmodern nonsense". The Architects Journal's Merlin Fulcher told London's Evening Standard: "The new scheme looks decent, but it's always a shame to see an iconic structure knocked down, especially one that symbolises Eighties post-modernism so well."
- QVC moving to Chiswick Park, website of Stahope plc, developer of the Chiswick Park site, 19 August 2010. Accessed 7 January 2011.
- QVC to move to Chiswick Park, Robin Parker, Broadcast, London, 27 July, 2010. Accessed 7 January 2011.
- Marco Polo House faces demolition threat, Merlin Fulcher, Architects Journal, London. Accessed 7 January 2011.
- London Building : M Adrian Welch and Isabelle Lomholt, e-architect, Undated. Accessed 7 January 2011.
- Eighties riverside landmark to be knocked down for flats, Mara Bar-Hillel, Evening Standard, London, 20 April 2010. Accessed 7 January 2011.