South Bank centre

The South Bank centre was designed and built in 1951 to facilitate the festival of Britain 1951. It was designed by a committee led by Gerald Barry, who believed strongly in modernism, and he emphasised the importance of including young designers within the plans. The south bank centre architecturally embodies the modernist style, its simple form and structure, unadorned aesthetics and brutalist materials make it up to be one the most successful public spaces in London today. The fact that the architects and designers were able to construct a centre that still lives up to expectations of a communal space sixty years on is a great achievement for a time of post war austerity. The South bank centre creates a great impression on the south side of the river, the site for it being chosen originally because it was so badly bombed and run down, now makes as much statement as the opposite, ornamented and classical side. The somerset house being directly opposite not only in distance but also aesthetics. The Royal festival hall is striped back to its core, designers found intellectual satisfaction in the simplicity of it. Design elements such as strip windows and pilloti exemplify modernist architecture, this simple Grade 1 listed building was designed to be a ‘visual representation of sound in an abstract form’ As well as conceptually replicating sound the building also had to practically improve and enhance the sound within, with the auditorium being at the centre of the structure a stylised roof was formed to help sound and audio inside. However although the exterior gets mixed reviews, the interior space is undeniably one of Europe’s largest centres for the arts, the fact that the interior is so successful derives from its structure and form. the space is open and welcoming, it is a versatile space, when being designed it was envisaged that the building would get utilised for lots of different uses thus was constructed to be versatile. The simple aesthetics allow for people to use the space as the need or wish, meaning everyone and anyone can make the space their own. The complexity of all the levels leading from the various staircases create intimate, open, quiet, social and so on type spaces that allow for anyone to come and make use of it and spend time there. This technique of formulating disparate and distinctive spaces. The interior also lay emphasis heavily on materials and aesthetics, in contrast with the exterior, the inside in more ornamented. There is use of glass, marble, bronze, wood, carpet and lighting that makes it a more friendly and inhabitable space. Although the outside was designed to make an statement and impression, the inside was to be practical and useful as people were going to be using the space for years to come. the materials not only create the atmosphere but also allow it to be a hardwearing, durable environment that would stand the test of time. Overall i think this build is very successful example of modernism and one that lived up to expectations.

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