The Twitterati verdict on FCBS’ Southbank overhaul
[Warning: contains vitriol] Twittersphere reaction to Feilden Clegg Bradley’s £120 million Southbank revamp was mixed, but most agreed it looked like a ‘big glass box’
Architects, Londoners and outspoken members of the creative community, took to social media to vent their reactions to the studio’s highly anticipated vision after it was unveiled yesterday.
Praise for the 28,000m² scheme which includes a glazed sky pavilion and liner building ranged from ‘neat’ and ‘exciting’ to ‘fantastic’ with one commentator describing it as a ‘new hat’.
Another claimed the panoramic rehearsal room and corporate events space would be ‘handier than a Skylon’.
Opposition was equally emotional, with Tweeters dubbing the designs ‘tat’, ‘w****’ and ‘soul-crushingly awful’.
Video game journalist Will Freeman went so far as to describe the undercroft refurbishment as ‘f****** bad news for skateboarding’.
Skateboarding collective VIDA agreed, dubbing the plans ‘the end of Southbank all for another overpriced restaurant.’ The Brutalist building’s world-famous skate park is to be relocated to make way for new cultural facilities and retail.
Reaction among architects was similarly divided. FAT’s Sam Jacob said: ‘If Southbank wanted an OMA like scheme they should’ve hired OMA, not “sensitive” British architects trying to be bold.’
Architype’s Elrond Burrell said: ‘It’s hard to see how FCBS’ Southbank scheme relates to their sustainability roots,’
Pointing to similarities with Herzog & de Meuron’s Tate Modern further up The Thames, he added: ‘Is the cost of a practice getting so big is commercialisation?’
Duggan Morris’ Mark Shaw declared he was ‘praying for a campaign’ against the overhaul. Hari Phillips of Bell Phillips replied: ‘Start one up’.
Elsewhere, praise was also given to the scheme’s ‘stonking Arup-engineered cantilevers’.
The artistic community offered further critical reaction. Designer Christian Harrup said: ‘I just cannot get excited over glass curtain wall all over the Southbank Centre.’
Dance artists Kara Dee said: ‘SouthBank is not what it used to be. So much for it being public space for creatives cant even really train/rehearse here anymore.’
Musician and Sonic Router contributor Veridis Joe said despairingly: ‘For f***’s sake, just read they’re replacing what’s left of Southbank with a s******* restaurant.’
The scheme was however warmly received by English Heritage, Cabe, and the Hayward Gallery’s original architect Dennis Compton.