A refurbishment that successfully retains the QEH’s original design aesthetic, celebrating the features that shape the building’s identity. Concrete has never looked quite so good. I like a good set of refurb pics – permanent records of an untarnished architectural endeavour. Artistic vision fully realised, preserved in a moment potent with anticipation and brimming with pride. Pictures of concert halls without an audience make the location irresistible – moments when concert halls are seen in all of their magisterial beauty. Concert halls don’t need to be opulent. They don’t need to be spaces with gilded edges, velvet cushions or busts of composers dotted around. They are locations for special events. Their interiors should be not like any other you would normally step into. The senses need to be come alive when you step inside them. Both the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room return to use in early April. Pictures have been released today along with the list of works that have been completed that give the venue a much-needed refresh. The restoration includes: fully refurbished and updated auditoria; refreshed and redesigned back of house areas; a new artists’ entrance; a revamped foyer able to hold 1000 people. Improved access, and new ventilation, lighting systems Concrete has been restored using Arte Mundit, a latex poultice more commonly used on classical sculptures and stone conservation projects. New timber lining to the Queen Elizabeth Hall stage will improve the acclaimed acoustics for performers on stage. Aluminium and leather seats have been re-upholstered by hand. Artists and performers get new accessible dressing rooms a brand new artists’ entrance and a backstage bar. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Southbank and especially for QEH. I love the Brutalist architecture (not many do), and I adore the elegant simplicity of the interior. The restoration – work carried out by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBStudios) with Max Fordham, Arup and BAM Construction – celebrates the elements which make this such a special destination. The project was funded by the support of the public, Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, plus National Lottery players, corporate partners, trusts and foundations and individual major donors. Chineke!
Orchestra opens the Queen Elizabeth Hall with a concert of Daniel Kidane, Benjamin Britten and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4 on Monday 9 April at 7.30pm
The first event in the Purcell Room is on Sunday 29 April. Fifty Poems from Five Decades will celebrate the opening of both QEH and Purcell Room.
All pictures credit: Morley Von Sternberg