Talks & Topics

Architecture and Culture: The 1960s at Southbank Centre

Want to know more about the interwoven history of Southbank Centre’s architecture and culture?

With the reopening of the iconic Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery in 2018, this study offers you an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the buildings and looks back to ask: how did it all begin?

In this day you can go in-depth and learn more through talks and discussions. We answer questions ranging from why brutalist architecture and the South Bank were chosen for the buildings, how the architects envisaged artists and the public utilising the spaces and what ideas and details make the buildings so iconic.

Discover the origins and key elements of the iconic Queen Elizabeth Hall architecture and learn more about the art and artists that shaped the era in these venues, including the hit Kinetic and Pop Art Hayward exhibitions, artists Steve Reich, Pink Floyd and the London Sinfonietta, the Poetry International movement and more.

The day is led by culture and heritage experts Shan Maclennan and Chloe Bird, and Richard Battye, lead architect of the building’s refurbishment from award-winning Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios.

Dates & times

This event has passed.


Royal Festival Hall
Blue Room, Level 1


Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)


25% off (limited availability)
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Event information
Please note that this study day includes a tour of the unfinished buildings, so some access is restricted.

This event is not suitable for anyone with vertigo, discomfort or difficulty with heights or stairs, or other perceivable difficulties with a building site.

Please note that attendees are required to wear hard hats, high-vis, gloves, and protective footwear for the behind-the-scenes tour. This protective equipment is provided on the day (please wear suitable socks to change into protective footwear).