The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

The Hayward Gallery from Waterloo Bridge. Photograph by Laurence Mackman.

Press release: South Bank Centre – ‘Festival Wing’ proposals

We are very pleased to hear the South Bank Centre’s enthusiasm for the existing Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room buildings, and their intention to retain, and not demolish them.   It is great that they now appreciate what they have got, and recognise that there has been a culture shift and that the public have warmed to these buildings.

The Twentieth Century Society has repeatedly called for these buildings to be listed: we think it is outrageous that their international architectural and historic interest has not been recognised by Government.    They are an outstanding example of innovative and imaginative design.

Catherine Croft, Director the Twentieth Century Society said, “The ‘Festival Wing’ proposals are very large and ambitious.    It would have a major impact on the setting of the existing buildings, and require demolition of some elements.”

“In particular, the siting of the glass pavilion above the newly enclosed space between the Hayward Gallery and the Queen Elizabeth Hall would be a very significant intervention”, added Croft.

The Twentieth Century Society will be considering the proposals in detail on March 18th.  Whilst it would be fantastic to see increased space for the vibrant programme of arts events that has animated these buildings in recent years, we want to be sure that the alterations will not be so drastic that they will overpower much loved buildings which could certainly be significantly revitalised by a less extensive scheme.


Note to Editors:

  1. The Twentieth Century Society has repeatedly called for the listing of this ensemble, constructed by the LCC’s / GLC’s Architect’s Department between 1963 and 68. The South Bank Centre sits in the Southbank Conservation Area, between the National Theatre (Grade II * listed) and Royal Festival Hall (Grade I listed). The complex – an arts centre which includes the Purcell Rooms, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery – showcases some of the best and most important architecture from this period in the country.
  2. A Certificate of Immunity from Listing of the South Bank Centre was issued in 2012. This was the fourth time this complex of buildings was rejected for listing.
  3. The international importance of the Southbank Centre has been recognised by the World Monuments Fund who added the complex to their 2012 “Watchlist” of endangered brutalist buildings.

Please contact Henrietta Billings at the Twentieth Century Society for further queries:

T: 020 7250 3857