Home to the BBC from 1960 until 2013, the Grade II listed Helios building, also called White City House, has been the setting for many beloved television programmes, including things like Top of the Pops, Dr Who and legendary kid’s TV show, Blue Peter.
Now the BBC has moved out and the building has been redeveloped as super high-end apartments with a range of services on-site, including a Soho House.
This is the operator’s eighth site in London and has one of the capital’s largest and most high-spec gyms.
According to gym manager, Julien Delande, the 24,000sq ft basement gym has been embraced by Soho House members, hotel guests and residents alike. “We opened at the end of April and already we have 500 visitors each day,” he says. “We see ourselves on a par with Equinox. We’re a luxury provider in the way the gym has been conceived and designed and the quality of the environment, equipment, location and instructors.”
The cardio equipment was supplied by Technogym and and Life Fitness, with plate-loaded strength equipment from Hammer Strength, while custom-made dumbbells and barbells – Soho House logo – are by Watson.
Keen to offer members the latest in workout trends, there’s also a bespoke TRX rig, Olympic lifting platforms and a prowler track. Delande says the track is popular with all clients, but especially the PTs. “We’ve responded to trends by offering facilities like the prowler track – more and more people want to mimic the way athletes train and methods they have seen on social media.”
There are four studios within the gym, offering a wide range of classes, including mind-body programmes such as yoga, Barry’s Bootcamp-style classes and combat classes, with two specialist boxing instructors.
A signature 45-minute HIIT programme has also been created specially for Soho House, called House 3.
Members have access to an extensive wet area, with a 17m lap pool, a steamroom, sauna, hammam, and a juice bar serving health snacks and drinks. The rooftop pool and bar has a Palm Springs vibe, with potted ferns, parasols and 60s-style floral loungers.
A great deal of attention has been given to the interior design, to ensure it reflects the building’s heritage. Design director, Linda Boronkay, has used fluted timber walls in lounge areas, corridors and the female changing areas, inspired by the original reception area in the BBC, while Tibor, the company that designed patterns for the BBC, has provided furniture and fabrics with a retro vibe. This is complemented by the terrazzo flooring.
The Games Room – the main members’ space – features a custom-made rug inspired by the BBC test card.
Spanning two floors, the club’s 45 bedrooms feature mid-century terrazzo tables, fluted timber wardrobes, modernist wooden minibars, and the original exposed concrete support beams. Bathrooms have circular patterned tiles inspired by BBC designs and a full range of Cowshed products – the Soho House own-brand.
The club has eight F&B outlets, including an East meets West restaurant, the House Canteen and Studio 8, which hosts members’ events. Both The Allis and The Electric Cinema are open to the public.
The Electric Cinema White City has two screens, each with rows of velvet armchairs, footstalls and cashmere blankets. The space has dark blue 60s geometric carpets, velvet walls and signage inspired by the BBC studios.
An art collection has been curated in response to the building’s history, comprising a number of commissioned pieces, including Archie Proudfoot’s Test Card Girl and a take on the iconic Playschool windows by Chris Levine. There’s also a permanent collection commemorating the work of artist broadcaster, Tony Hart.