The Southbank Centre may be closing up shop temporarily, but don’t automatically expect that to forestall all festivities. According to interviews with architects published today in the London Evening Standard, the exhibition and arts centre may branch out onto the Thames river with a temporary floating structure set up to host some events.
The Southbank’s festival wing is scheduled to close for three years as part of a £120m overhaul that will see the space kitted with more performance venues, a poetry library and a glass pavilion. Designers Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios are hoping to gain planning permission in late spring and to start work in autumn next year.
Although not part of the main design, if approved, some of the shows and exhibitions could be moved over the to floating “SouthBerg” structure named for vaguely resembling an iceberg.
Designers Baca Architects hope that it would be assembled alongside the Southbank and would remain there until construction was completed. The project is estimated to cost £12m-£15m, but the firms forecasts that cultural operations would cover much of the initial investment.
Once the major refurbishment is completed, the SouthBerg could be towed away to act as a cultural and culinary space elsewhere in the Thames, likely in the Docklands, Baca Architects said.
“A floating pavilion would provide complete continuity of service for this popular cultural destination throughout the refurbishment period and be a fun and striking waterfront attraction for Londoners and tourists alike on this busy stretch of the river,” Robert Barker, director of Baca Architects, told the Standard.
The Southbank Centre has called the SouthBerg “a fun idea” but stressed that it is not yet part of the agreed revamp.
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