The Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room are monuments to 1960s radicalism - a continuing experiment in providing a Place for the Arts at the heart of London’s Southbank.
They sit between more architecturally recognised and distinguished neighbours, the Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre, yet they bring to the area a broadening of the cultural vision and an ability to recapture the populist Festival spirit that arose there in the post-war era.
The sober luxury of the Queen Elizabeth Hall interior soon became a place for music far beyond the classical canon, bringing respectability to rock and providing a new home for the avant-garde. The Hayward has always been at the forefront of radical experimentation in the visual arts with art extending out onto its terraces and roof spaces. The concrete topography of the buildings has provided an urban playground for the arts and culture of the city.
Arguably, more than any other buildings in the country, Southbank Centre embodies a legacy of 1960s zeitgeist.
Respecting Brutalism: The Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall at 50 is a tribute to the buildings. Their contextual history is described by historian Elain Harwood, their cultural stories told by the current curators, and their secret idiosyncrasies are brought to life by the photography of project architect Richard Battye.