The London Southbank Centre’s high-spirited Festival of the World kicked off last week in a disused space beneath the Queen Elizabeth Hall
The subterranean wilderness was a hangout for skateboarders but has since been transformed by Andrew Lock from Lyn Atelier in partnership with TILT design studio.His Festival Village is effectively a common room for the 4,000-strong army of artists working at the riverside arts venue this summer.
Speaking at the launch, which featured Festival of the World Museum designer Wayne Hemmingway, the centre’s artistic director, Jude Kelly, hinted at future redevelopment plans for the 1968 arts complex.
A tender notice seeking an architect for the job was posted in the Official Journal last week but details of the scope of the centre’s overhaul have yet to emerge. However, a recent application to English Heritage for a certificate of immunity from listing suggests its vision may involve more than minor tweaks and could kick up a storm of controversy.
EH’s stance on this bid is not difficult to predict. Two years ago the heritage watchdog’s strong recommendations to list the centre was unexpectedly refused by architecture minister John Penrose. Expect fireworks.