Original architect: injecting life into Southbank was well overdue

Dennis Crompton, one of the original architects involved in the design of the Hayward Gallery, said:

“I remember my excitement when, in 1960, I was invited to join the team of architects at the LCC, who were working on the design of the proposed new concert hall and art gallery on the South Bank. The following year, when the project had its public launch, one member of the group expressed our ambition that there should be other facilities on the South Bank ‘so that it becomes alive ... rather than just a cultural centre’.

"Some seven or eight years later I again experienced excitement when the complex opened and I was able to wander from the riverside walk, over the walkways and terraces and through (and over!) the buildings – but there was something still missing.

"This feeling persisted for over 40 years until a warm Spring day – 22 April 2011 to be exact – when I revisited South Bank, found it teaming with people, children and adults, some relaxing on a newly-installed grassy lawn on the top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof and others dodging through the fountain on the terrace below.

"Activity everywhere. So many people just enjoying themselves.

“I felt that old excitement return. Looking at the proposals for the future I have the hope that this welcome, and much overdue, liveliness will be amplified and extended to other less clement times of the year and that perhaps the new buildings will themselves reflect the animation of the public presence.”

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Plans for southbank revamp

The Southbank Centre has unveiled plans to transform the complex around the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery.