GIVING SOUTHBANK CENTRE’S BRUTALIST VENUES A NEW LEASE OF LIFE AND A LOWER ENERGY FUTURE
Southbank Centre has its origins in the 1951 Festival of Britain. It is one of the great democratic and imaginative spaces of the last century and holds a special place in the London arts scene.
The restoration and redesign of Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery was primarily a conservation project to replace building services, improve environmental performance and upgrade infrastructure.
However, with elements of redesign and interpretation of the original vision, the venues are revitalised and able to fully support an ever-widening artistic programme, with improved disabled access for audiences and artists. 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.
The results speak for themselves. They provide fantastic facilities that are not only fit-for-purpose, but beautiful and will allow us to present great art to the widest possible audiences for many years to come.
Mark Rushworth, Property Director, Southbank Centre
SHINING A LIGHT
Achieving successful daylight galleries was raised as “a matter of the utmost importance” by the Arts Council to the GLC in 1966 during the construction of the Hayward Gallery.
Inspired by sculptor Henry Moore's call to "Let the light in" to the galleries, we took an adaptive approach to restoring the building’s 66 iconic pyramid rooflights. Our intention was to improve the environmental performance of the roof to achieve the right conditions for the display of art, and give full control of lighting back to the curators while maintaining the spirit of the original aesthetic.
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, to enable it to continue to present its programme of world-class exhibitions.
MORE ART FOR MORE PEOPLE
More than 28 million people walk past the buildings every year and Southbank Centre wanted to engage with every one of them throughout the design process.
Our work was to redesign and upgrade the necessary infrastructure to improve the buildings for 21st-century artists and audiences. Alongside improvements to the venue - increased technical capacity throughout, sensitively refurbished auditoria, renovated artists' facilities with expanded dressing rooms, a new artist’s entrance and green room we also wanted the buildings themselves to engage better with their audiences.
The foyer has been opened up and has found a new use as a nightclub, exhibition space and informal venue with its full height opening windows softening the threshold to encourage new visitors.
With Feilden Clegg Bradley's renewal of teh Hayward, it's like getting a new art gallery. It's cleaned-up, robust exterior advances and recedes into the winter sun with new vigour.
Rowan Moore, The Observer
AN INVISIBLE UPGRADE
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.