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Public Space Research South Bank Arts Centre

CASE STUDY: South Bank Arts Centre


Norman Engleback (lead architect) with E.J. Blyth, J.A. Roberts, W.J. Sutherland, Ron Herron, Warren Chalk, Dennis Crompton, John Attenborough, Bryn Jones. Hubert Bennett was Chief Architect at the London County Council (LCC), after 1965, the Greater London Council (GLC).




The Southbank Arts Centre consists of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, and the Hayward Gallery. The LCC had its own very large Architecture Department, so that it was, unusually, both client and architect for the Centre. Warren Chalk, an LCC architect and also a member of Archigram, was in charge of designing the walkways. He said of their genesis: “The design was one of the first attempts by the LCC … to recognise the conflict between the pedestrian and the motor vehicle. This was not seen only as a simple problem of segregation; the different nature of their moving was exploited, the inspiration being the ’51 Exhibition site [the Festival of Britain] and 2 entries for the Hauptstadt Berlin Competition of 1958, that by the Smithsons and that of Arthur Korn.” The Centre’s walkways are the Haupstadt ideas constructed: separate circulation for pedestrians that is so generous, it is simultaneously a means of going through, and a place to go to.

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