Southbank Centre

In Brief

Southbank Centre
Construction value:
December 2017

Southbank Centre wishes to create major new arts spaces to enable them to offer more arts for more people more of the time. This is an ambitious project which starts with the refurbishment of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Hayward Gallery and the Purcell Room, all spaces dating from the late 1960s and are now inadequate to serve audiences and performers in the 21st century.

The brief includes the need to address urgent problems including poor access to, and upgrading of, the stages and galleries, substandard back-stage areas, and worn out services. The project also seeks to reclaim unused and underused space. Once this work is completed the Southbank Centre aim to create further space for arts by connecting external spaces and extending existing buildings.


We developed our proposals for the full project at the Festival Wing to satisfy the arts programming aspirations of Southbank Centre, to conserve the best aspects of the existing buildings, and to establish a new identity and presence for the complex as a vibrant arts and social destination in the heart of the Capital.

Our concept was anchored in the premise that the existing buildings, though not listed, are important and should be retained and carefully negotiated. This sensitive conservation approach is contrasted with a much bolder approach to the new interventions.

Southbank Centre


Southbank Centre

“This is the important next step in the transformation of Southbank Centre, which began with the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall.” Alan Bishop, Chief Executive of Southbank Centre

Design Approach

The fundamental architectural moves began with our plan for renewal and refurbishment. We then addressed the imperative to resolve access and connectivity issues across the site through the creation of a new Central Foyer. This is topped by a glass pavilion, providing space for orchestra rehearsal and public events.

Responding to Rick Mather’s masterplan for the Festival Wing, which established a liner building to either side of the site, we proposed the creation of a new three-storey building alongside Waterloo Bridge to provide meeting and educational spaces, a restaurant, and the national Poetry Library which is currently housed in the Royal Festival Hall.

Southbank Centre


Cost Consultant & CDM: 
Gardiner & Theobald
Services Engineer & Environmental Consultant: 
Max Fordham
Project Manager, Structural & Transport Engineer:
Acoustic Consultant: 
Ramboll UK
Heritage Advisor: 
Montagu Evans
Landscape Consultant:
West 8
Richard Battye 

Southbank Centre