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Latest South Bank brief could save the Hayward


The long-awaited planning brief for the latest redevelopment of the South Bank Centre has been published, and may reprieve the Hayward Gallery.

Frank Duffy of degw helped to prepare the brief before competitive interviews, to be advertised in March, to masterplan the 12ha site, the biggest concentration of arts buildings in the world. It recommends doubling the amount of accommodation on the riverside site, and demolishing the buildings housing the Museum of the Moving Image and National Film Theatre. Unlike Lord Rogers' glass wave, sunk last March, the project could involve as many as six different building projects.

Options include demolishing the Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall; keeping both buildings but making major additions and developing the nearby Hungerford carpark; or keeping the Hayward but bulldozing the qe Hall.

'I don't think the Hayward will have to go. It is unique and no other exhibition space has the same character, volumetric complexity, fluidity or robustness,' said Duffy.

sbc chairman Elliott Bernerd is chairing the selection panel with English Heritage and local council representatives, Duffy and the lse's Richard Burdett. Bernerd said: 'We need a firm footing on the focus, concept and what we can achieve operationally. Therefore we will not rush in with an architectural solution. This will not be a backdoor attempt for a masterplanner to become the architect.'

He said that funding and sources would be worked out as the masterplan developed. It will be assessed in the summer, with no dates set for work to start. Bernerd was open-minded about the Hayward's future.

Graham Morrison of Allies and Morrison said that the plan must respect the nearby Royal Festival Hall which his practice is refurbishing. 'We would like to put our names forward for the masterplan. The last scheme was excellent but it was a building, not a masterplan, and lacked flexibility.'

Kenneth Powell, consultant director at the Twentieth Century Society, welcomed the ray of hope for the Hayward and qe Hall. 'We have an open mind on how to adapt them. Conservationists and traditionalists want the Hayward knocked down, and the modernisers including Zaha Hadid and Cedric Price have become preservationists.'

Expressions of interest in becoming masterplanner should be sent to Mike McCart, commercial director, Royal Festival Hall, London SE1 8XX.

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