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C20 Society snipes at FCBS’ Southbank overhaul

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The Twentieth Century (C20) Society has warned it is ‘extremely concerned’ over parts of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios’ Southbank Centre redevelopment

The conservation body questioned the visual impact of a proposed ‘liner building’, arguing the structure could impact on views from Waterloo bridge of the Royal Festival Hall and the National Theatre.

Unveiled last month, the £120 million Festival Wing project doubles the size of the Thameside Brutalist concrete complex by introducing a glazed ‘liner’ building and a semi-transparent, box-like sky pavilion.

In a statement, the C20 Society said: ‘We have specific concerns regarding the projecting end of the liner building, and its overhang on Queens Walk, and the visual impact of that projection – it appears that it would exceed the current building line of the Southbank Centre and the Royal Festival Hall.

‘This overhang would also obstruct important views of the National Theatre from Hungerford Bridge.’

The society however welcomed the proposal’s ‘light touch’ approach to refurbishing the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery.

An online petition calling for Lambeth Council, the Southbank Centre, Boris Johnson, Arts Council England to halt plans to relocate the complex’s skatepark has meanwhile amassed 25,400 signatures.  

The project is expected to be submitted for planning later this month.


FCBS’s festival Wing project

The Southbank Concert Halls opened in 1968 as part of a London County Council-backed masterplan for the post-industrial area’s transformation. The complex's redevelopment has been masterplanned by Rick Mather since 1999


The Southbank Concert Halls opened in 1968 as part of a London County Council-backed masterplan for the post-industrial area’s transformation. The complex’s redevelopment has been masterplanned by Rick Mather since 1999


Queen Elizabeth Hall
The auditorium will be refurbished with the width of the stage expanded to create wing space with less impact on sightlines. Artistic and technical facilities will be upgraded along with back of house and disability access. New access will be provided to central foyer.

Purcell Room
Auditorium and back of house will be refurbished to improved stage access. technical facilities and disability access are to be upgraded. A new entrance will create access from the central foyer.

Hayward Gallery
Galleries to be refurbishing with improved access through spaces to enable free exhibitions. The iconic pyramid roof will be replicated to improve lighting and be made watertight. Access to the central foyer and a new secure loading bay will be created.

New Central Foyer
A glazed atrium between the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery is planned as an ‘artistic and social hub’ linking the complex to the British Film Institute and National Theatre.

Glass Pavilion
A floating venue designed to hold a 150-strong orchestra and a choir of up to 250 people with a small audience. It will also host corporate events

The ‘liner’ building
Between the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Waterloo Bridge, the glazed ‘liner’ building will provide space for educational, artistic and commercial cultural uses. Designed as a large flexible space, the flexible space will host a broader, year-round education programme for all age groups and abilities. The Saison Poetry Library will move from Level 5 in the Royal Festival Hall to join a literature and spoken word space in a new literature centre, and two new restaurants will overlook the river.

Undercrofts will be reclaimed for artistic and cultural uses; including a new venue for gigs, dance, cabaret, music and spoken word events and a space for young people.

Heritage and Archive Space
Occupying the undercoft, the public facility will explore the site’s history and include hands-on installations.

Kid’s area
Designed for children and families, the undercroft facility will feature storytelling and interactive activities alongside exhibitions and a family restaurant. It will also be home to the childrens’ collection of the Poetry Library.

Green spaces
New public spaces include a square and two new roof gardens.

Urban arts
New riverside area for skateboarders, BMX and graffiti located under Hungerford Bridge and visible to the public from Queen’s Walk

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