Letter: South Bank sound

FOLLOWING the demise of Lord Rogers's canopy for the South Bank, the intention is to substitute that of the runners-up in the competition, Allies and Morrison, "to make the arts complex a worthy cultural landmark once more" ("On the crest of a new wave", 9 April).

London has more good orchestras than any other city in the world. The South Bank is its primary concert hall. However, London does not possess an acoustically decent concert hall to compare with Birmingham, revamped Chicago, Boston or Amsterdam. The Festival Hall is an acoustic disgrace.

Instead of throwing good money after bad, the only sensible solution is to start from the inside and work outwards. By all means use the South Bank's wonderful location, but instead of tinkering with the external appearance let us get our priorities right and start by building a concert hall worthy of the capital, where music can be heard with pleasure rather than endured. A great deal is now known about acoustics, so this is no longer a hit-and-miss affair.

Employ Russell Johnson, who designed the spectacularly successful and acoustically adaptable Symphony Hall in Birmingham, to get the inside right first and if the exterior can be made to look half as good as Johnson's Birmingham interior, most of us will be more than happy.


London NW3