Letter: South Bank jewel

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Complete demolition on the South Bank seems extreme; at least our wonderful Royal Festival Hall stays ("South Bank buildings to be razed and rebuilt", 9 December).

Is there not a middle way?

The problem has always been the ill-considered space between those 1970s buildings, where the quality of the pedestrian deck ought to make up part of the sense of public enjoyment, of festivity. In particular the draughty, mean, formless, leftover gap between the back of Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery entrance presents an architectural gaffe unworthy of London and of the precinct of Peter Moro and Sir Leslie Martin's masterpiece, the Royal Festival Hall.

If the Queen Elizabeth Hall were to stay - and its interior is judged by many to have excellent acoustic and architectural qualities - and if the unlovely Hayward Gallery and its unhappy forecourt were to be rebuilt elsewhere to the west of Hungerford Bridge, the opportunity opens up to redesign a common entrance forecourt between the new British Film Centre on the south, and the rear of Queen Elizabeth Hall to the north.

With minute care to pedestrian comfort and enjoyment this urban vestibule could become a little jewel - a court in the intimate London tradition - giving access to each building on either side.


London W4