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Tuesday22 July 2014

Minister rejects Southbank and Waterloo listing

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Architecture minister John Penrose today turned down the Southbank Centre and Waterloo Station for listing.

The news will come as a major blow to the Twentieth Century Society and English Heritage, who nominated the buildings for protection.

Penrose acknowledged the strong arguments for listing the Southbank Centre but said he was persuaded that there were aspects that had never functioned as intended and that there had been many changes to the design and look of the buildings.

He said: “The architecture is poorly resolved, the structures are not unique or groundbreaking and the individuals behind Archigram had limited influence on the building’s design.”

The Twentieth Century Society’s case covered the Hayward Gallery, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall and their shared spaces and walkways.

The minister agreed there was “some interest” in the interiors and that the two concert halls had excellent acoustics as well as historic interest as a post-war purpose-built centre for the arts.

Waterloo Station’s Victory Arch remains listed but neither Grimshaw’s former Eurostar terminal nor the rest of the station merited protection, he said.

He described the station as “much altered” and demonstrating an “uncoordinated mixture of different styles”.

“Evidence also indicates that although the Edwardian baroque style exterior survives, finer examples of that style exist,” he added.

The minister also rejected a listing application for six former army huts on Fremington Camp in Devon.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • The Hayward Gallery is classic 60's, but externally has been left to rot. If it was in Germany, France, US or Canada it would be kept in top notch condition. Embedded energy considerations alone should ensure its retention.

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  • A wise decision by the minsiter and another defeat for the increasingly irrelevant heritage groups! Their attempt to list any pile of junk is rightly being rejected.

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  • Junk????????? - you must have spent too long in McDonalds

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  • Waterloo Station’s Victory Arch (pictured) is already listed, the rest of the station is horrible. Haywood Gallery? Nothing special either.

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  • Mr Green. The Hayward Gallery, not the Haywood Gallery. You would know this if you had ever visited it. Spend some time there and you will understand why it is special. I do not refer to the space under the decks, which have been claimed, unchallenged, by skateboarders (that is interesting for another reason, but those that have little to do with architecture). I advise spending some time in the lobby of the Queen Elizabeth Hall/Purcell Room as well. Look at documentation of these buildings as they were made, not as they were hopelessly altered. I hope you will be convinced that their restoration is necessary. As for the 'rest of Waterloo', the Grimshaw shed is rather good; the rambling glass roof of the remainder is interesting and quite unusual. A bit too nineteenth-century, I know.

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  • Mark - a Haywood supporter!
    Given that some of the South Bank will be sacrificed I hope the Hayward can be saved, with the Festival Hall (not under threat), to provide stop ends to any new scheme. The QE hall is not too successful externally in my view (no, I don't work for CABE), and it came after the Hayward. I will put aside the political considerations that it was designed in that hotbed of social aspirations that was the world renowned GLC Architects Department.

    Grimshaws Eurostar terminal is brilliant - but is sitting there unused and grimy because the train operating companies cannot be arsed to bring the platforms into use to relieve pressure on the other platforms (keep shovelling those commuters in). The terminal is also in the wrong place at the wrong time because developers are drooling at the development potential of the site and guess what - they will win the day.

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