Thoroughly Good

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Initial feedback on Southbank’s Festival Wing

2,000 people have provided feedback on the Southbank Centre’s proposals to ‘retain, repair and refurbish’ the site of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery. Respondents commented on architectural designs, and the inclusion of commercial spaces and, after the work was completed, their likelihood of visiting Festival Wing.

Everyone seems broadly in agreement about everything. Which is good.

Well, almost.

Questions have been raised about the skaters, BMXers and graffiti artists area, for whom a relocation is proposed – more details on southbankundercroft.com.

As it stands, I’m still not entirely convinced on the relocation. That is – I suspect my gut instinct is rooted in my resistance to change and an assumption that fundamentally good things are maintained by protecting continuity.

In one sense, the organic development of the space is something to celebrate and protect. On the other hand however, I might be basking in the tiresome glow of nostalgia. The people to ask surely, are those who use the space themselves. And if they’re not responding, one wonders what will really if the skaters choose not to accept the relocation. Will there be an outcry? Will there be a significant drop in Southbank visitors? I suspect not. If the renovation and refurbishment work didn’t go ahead because the skaters refused to move, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? Bad seems a little strong, but it would seem a shame.

The planning application for the Festival Wing should be submitted to Lambeth Council next month. Lambeth’s will mount their own consultation after that.

There’s an updated public exhibition featuring plans for the Festival Wing in the Royal Festival Hall. It’s open daily from 10am to 11pm, and is also available at southbankcentre.co.uk.

 

 

 

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Southbank Centre

Jon Jacob • April 23, 2013


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