Wednesday23 July 2014

Hadid speaks up for South Bank Centre

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Zaha Hadid has criticised as “unbelievable” the government’s decision not to list the South Bank Centre, insisting the 1960s complex deserved statutory protection

Her comments came after architecture minister John Penrose this week overruled English Heritage and refused to list either the arts centre or Waterloo Station.

It is the third time ministers have rejected the South Bank Centre for listing.

Hadid told BD: “The South Bank Centre is significant and definitely merits listing. It’s rare in London to have something done as a coherent ensemble, and the South Bank Centre is an excellent example by some of the UK’s most interesting designers of the time.

“In 1998, I designed a show on art and architecture at the Hayward Gallery and found it a great place to work.

“The rawness and purity of these buildings is what makes them so contemporary. Although of different periods, each building works well within the cohesive urbanism and cultural domain of the South Bank. With very little effort, it could be made spectacular.”

The Twentieth Century Society pledged to appeal against Penrose’s decision, describing the Hayward Gallery as the South Bank’s “third grace”, alongside the grade I listed Royal Festival Hall and grade II* National Theatre.

Senior caseworker Jon Wright called the government’s move “devastating” and said it raised questions about how seriously it took EH’s advice, particularly as Penrose has overruled the heritage body in half the post-war cases he has looked at.

“EH has a right to feel aggrieved or even undermined because their assessments were thoroughly decent,” said Wright. “They are the government adviser on the historic environment but are they being trusted?”

  • Cabe has welcomed Haworth Tompkins’ £70 million scheme for London’s National Theatre which goes to committee on Wednesday.


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