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Allies and Morrison unveils long-awaited Royal Festival Hall revamp

Allies and Morrison's two-year, £100 million revamp of London's Grade I-listed Royal Festival Hall (RFH) on the South Bank has finally been unveiled.

In addition to improved acoustics - by Kirkegaard Associates - and increased legroom and under-seat heating in the auditorium, the spruced-up RFH also features cafés, rooftop terraces and a flagship restaurant - the 'Skylon'.

Staff and production facilities at the much-loved 56-year old building have been moved into a new extension, creating an extra 35 per cent of space in the hall for public use.

Outside the RFH - which lies at the heart of the Southbank Centre's 8.5ha site alongside the Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery and the Queen Elizabeth Hall - previously inaccessible or underused public spaces have been returned to the public realm under a masterplan by Rick Mather Architects.

The £100 million overhaul has been funded by the Arts Council (£25 million), the Heritage Lottery Fund (£22million), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (£5 million), and the Mayor's London Agencies (£7 million). The RFH's 18,000 members have contributed £2.5 million.

Built as part of the Festival of Britain, the RFH was designed by LCC architects Leslie Martin, Robert Matthew and Peter Moro. It opened on 3 May 1951.

by Max Thompson

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