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South Bank boost

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Publication of Frank Duffy's brief for the redevelopment of the South Bank arts complex this week shows that flexible thinking is the order of the day. It is not inevitable that the Hayward Gallery, for example, will be demolished. The masterplanner for the site, to be chosen after competitive interview after the post is advertised, will have to juggle assets against liabilities in considering the future, in particular of the 1960s concrete buildings on the site. The one certainty is that the concrete walkways will go in their entirety: South Bank chairman Elliott Bernerd is insistent that it will be possible to walk through the entire complex at ground level, properly linking in the 'fortress' National Theatre, and abandoning the concrete 'shrouds'. Meanwhile, property man Bernerd has pulled off a coup by securing for the complex the vacant undercroft at the southern end of Waterloo bridge, which was set for use as a cinema, restaurant and club. Now it will form part of the access route to the South Bank site from Waterloo Station via Bryan Avery's imax cinema. You will at last be able to get to the river without crossing a road. The chairman makes a good point: 'We have to find workable solutions not based entirely on good design.'

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