Feilden Clegg Bradley has released images showing what the restored Southbank Centre will look like once its £25 million refurbishment project is complete.
The architect also took BD on a tour of Archigram’s unlisted brutalist arts complex to see the work progressing.
One CGI shows the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer with wrap-around glazing replacing the concrete wall at the north-west corner. The windows can be opened fully in summer, creating another entrance.
This was one of the most controversial aspects of the scheme for Historic England and planners, but they were won over by the idea of the venue being more open, said Ian Taylor of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.
“It will create a visual connection so you can see Big Ben and the Royal Festival Hall terrace, so the foyer becomes much more visible. Many more people will come in and use it,” he predicted.
The existing bar will be repositioned, while the box office will be returned to its original location on the other side of the main doors, leaving the foyer less cluttered.
FCBS is also replacing aluminium acoustic panels in the ceiling with timber units to improve sound performance.
A new ramp will be installed from the foyer into the Purcell Room and a new artists’ entrance and 300sq m green room and bar will be on the level below with greatly improved facilities.
Taylor said this would be one of the most dramatic spaces in the building with a soaring internal view up to the giant QEH air duct.
Both the QEH and Purcell Room auditoria are being completely overhauled and the ventilation system upgraded. Air flow will be reversed to make it more efficient.
The project also involves refurbishing and upgrading the Hayward Gallery. Its famous pyramid rooflights have been removed and new coffers are about to be installed, capped by a waterproof membrane and motorised blinds.
This arrangement will allow the new pyramids to be open on their north-facing sides, meaning views of the sky from the top galleries won’t be gradually occluded by layers of dirt.
Taylor said the project was one of the highlights of his career. “The more we have worked on the building the more we respect the original,” he said.