Southbank Centre, with its origins in the 1951 Festival of Britain, is one of the great democratic and imaginative buildings of the last century and holds a unique place in the London arts scene.
The restoration and redesign of Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery has given these unique 1960s Brutalist wonders a new lease of life and a low maintenance, lower energy future.
Whilst primarily a conservation project to replace building services, improve environmental performance and upgrade infrastructure, the revitalised building is now able to fully support an ever-widening artistic programme, and improve disabled access for audiences and artists.
At the Hayward Gallery, the works reinterpret the iconic pyramid roof with a solution that allows controlled natural light back into the galleries, described by Henry Moore in the context of the new galleries as “God’s daylight”. Achieving this successful daylight was raised as “a matter of the utmost importance” by the Arts Council to the GLC in 1966 while the buildings were under construction and continues to be at the heart of the project.
The project was undertaken with the generous support of Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as trusts and foundations, individuals and Southbank Centre's friends.
In time for its 50th birthday, essential restoration has taken place at Hayward Gallery to enable it to continue to present its programme of world-class exhibitions.
The building’s 66 iconic pyramid rooflights have undergone an adaptive redesign inspired by sculptor Henry Moore's call to "Let the light in", and now allow the galleries to be flooded by controllable natural light.
Inside the galleries, new climate control, essential building services and digital infrastructure, have been installed, the terrazzo floors of the gallery replaced and the sculpture terraces repaved.
Opened in March 1967, The Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room are host to an incredibly diverse range of artistic performance. Our work was to redesign and upgrade the necessary infrastructure to improve the buildings for 21st century artists and audiences.
New glazing to the front corner of the reconfigured foyer allows light to flood in and celebrates the new connection to the riverfront. There is increased technical capacity throughout and the auditoria have been sensitively refurbished. Artists' facilities have been renovated with expanded dressing rooms, a new artist’s entrance and green room.
New plant, modern controls, LED lighting, and production infrastructure delivers an invisible upgrade supporting Southbank Centre’s artistic programme.
In the Hayward Gallery, upgrades to the envelope and a new roof have improved thermal performance and brought controllable natural daylight into the upper galleries. The resulting more stable environmental conditions come with a 42% reduction in electricity use.
Original concrete and cast aluminium finishes across both buildings have been retained and refurbished to preserve their Brutalist uniqueness.
2019 RIBA National Award
2019 RIBA London Award
2018 AJ Architecture Award Refurb (over £20m)
Interior Architecture for Foyer Hospitality:
Archer Humphryes Architects
Cost Consultant & CDM:
Gardiner & Theobald
Services Engineer & Environmental Consultant:
Project Manager & Structural Engineer: Arup
Charcoal Blue / Southbank
The Fire Surgery
Approved Inspector Services
Main Contractor: BAM