Letter: Visual appeal of the Hayward Gallery

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The Independent Online
Sir: May I draw the attention of fellow defenders of the Hayward Gallery and other buildings of the South Bank modern complex, such as Jonathan Glancey (Architecture, 24 February), to those arguments for its improvement already presented in an independent report made in 1986. Now urgently needed, such arguments should be studied carefully.

The report was commissioned by the Greater London Council in the full knowledge that its own demolition was imminent. The writers - Richard Cork, Balraj Khamin and Shirley Read - were asked to advise on a visual arts policy for the South Bank centring on the Hayward Gallery. They were fair in assessing the views of those interested in demolishing the Hayward, but they defended the view that it should be retained and improved. Two of their many excellent proposals, all of which could be added to Mr Glancey's own, were the following:

'The building of a two-storey glazed extension to alter and expand the existing foyer area. The extension should include an improved seating area, and a much larger cafe and book shop which can be kept open all the year round.'

'The erection of a glass dome or pyramid on the sculpture court overlooking the foyer area to use as a conservatory. The planting of both the other sculpture courts with flowering plants, grass and creepers.'

They suggested that these two courts be used regularly both for the display of sculpture and the staging of performances, and be kept open permanently.

Yours sincerely,


London, WC1

26 February