By continuing to use the site you agree to our Privacy & Cookies policy

Your browser seems to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser.


Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.


Amplification attack is just Arup's sour grapes


It's all very well for Arup Acoustics and Derek Sugden to say that the work of rival acousticians Kirkegaard will 'fail to meet the standards demanded by the South Bank Centre'. Remember, Kirkegaard was selected instead of Arup Acoustics in an open process in the mid-1990s.

However, it is important for our culture that buildings are allowed to develop. We have to be able to alter buildings in a sensitive way and to make them meet the changing aspirations of society. Criticising what is a well-considered viable solution merely increases the probability that nothing will happen and that the building will become irrelevant. When the RFH was built, the design was tailored to meet the acoustic understanding of the time. It is true that this has now changed and that Derek Sugden has been one of the leaders in wanting the acoustic solutions to be driven by good building and architecture without fussy additions.

Allies and Morrison has already had Leslie Martin and Peter Moro's accolade for understanding the RFH architecture, when it cleared out the foyer space below the auditorium and restored the original concept.

The proposals to increase the reverberation of the acoustic without relying on modern electrical amplification systems have been worked out by Allies and Morrison and Kirkegaard, and we should anticipate that the RFH will get a new lease of life.

Buildings need to be kept upto-date in a bold way. Of course, it is possible to let them go quietly out of date and out of use so that our history is allowed quietly to decay to the detriment of our quality of life.

Max Fordham, London

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment.

The searchable digital buildings archive with drawings from more than 1,500 projects

AJ newsletters