Southbank to be transformed in £120m refurbishment project

Southbank_Centre_Festival_WingLondon’s Southbank Centre is to undergo a £120 million transformation to create modern, world-class cultural centre.

Under proposals published today, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery will be refurbished and a new glass pavilion and central foyer constructed.

The pavilion will offer “first-class acoustics” and be big enough to hold a full orchestra of 150 and choir of up to 250 plus small audience. The existing 1960’s buildings will be overhauled to provide better access and upgrade stages, galleries and back stage areas.

Southbank bosses say the project will allow the Centre to deliver a larger and more ambitious arts, educational and cultural programme.

The proposals will go on display later this week at the Royal Festival Hall and on the Southbank Centre‟s website, ensuring Londoners can have their say ahead of a planning application being submitted to Lambeth Council in late Spring.

The project was designed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and has been endorsed by a cross-party coalition of politicians including Mayor Boris Johnson and Lambeth & Southwark London Assembly Member Val Shawcross.

It also has the backing of English Heritage and Lambeth council.

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, said: We‟re thrilled with the plans we‟re unveiling, which reflect our aspiration to give millions of people a new relationship with this extraordinary historic site and provide them with further opportunities to get involved in the arts and culture.”


  1. Tony Woolf says

    This “pavilion” sounds total nonsense, and will surely be dropped. Whatever is the point of a space for a huge orchestra ahd choir and a small audience? The performers would need a large space to sound their best (and not be overwhelmingly loud), and you can’t put on a financially viable concert with a lot of performers and a small audience.

  2. Ilana Sara Yacobi says

    South Bank is already a world class cultural centre. It’s design does not need refurbishment; everyone I know that appreciates and enjoys South Bank, loves it for this reason. It is already a beautiful place full of diversity and creativity, and this is not hindered by the buildings being from the 1960’s, which in fact is part of the allure of it as it is a magical place without even trying to hard. It doesn’t need a £150m refurbishment. It is not overly commercial, yet attracts many people from around the world every year and no doubt is a main centre for culture in London. The people it attracts are very diverse and from all different parts of London and the world, but I know a lot of people have a lot of respect for it as it is. It’s architecture is also definitely a ‘one of a kind’ of all art centres in London and it would be a real shame to destroy a historical memoir of 50+ years of arts and creativity. The buildings themselves have beauty in their simplicity the way they can transform a piece of 1960’s architecture into a bright, fun and inviting place. A refurbishment would be unnecessary, and a waste of money. Why not make a soup kitchen alongside, or somewhere where the local homeless people (there are a lot of them, young and old around South Bank) can seek refuge (shelter?) and maybe do some odd jobs? a couple of water fountains would be useful. I feel the money could be used for a better use. If it needs something to spend £150m on, why not have a summer festival, celebrating the arts! That would be a wonderful, useful and enjoyable project, that would attract even more crowds and publicity for the centre even with its world-renowned popularity. Being a place of equality, care and diversity, I feel one of these options would be a positive alternative in many people’s opinion, and would keep in line with South Bank’s being a worldwide and community place to enjoy the arts for all.