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The Hayward is an art gallery within the Southbank Centremarker, part of an area of major arts venues on the South Bankmarker of the River Thames, in central Londonmarker, Englandmarker. It is sited adjacent to the other Southbank Centremarker buildings (the Royal Festival Hallmarker and the Queen Elizabeth Hallmarker/Purcell Roommarker) and also the Royal National Theatremarker and British Film Institute. Prior to a rebranding of the South Bank Centre to Southbank Centre in early 2007, the Hayward was known as the Hayward Gallery.

The Hayward opened on 9 July 1968, and its powerful massing and extensive use of exposed concrete construction makes it a good example of Brutalist architecture. The initial concept was designed, with the Queen Elizabeth Hallmarker and Purcell Roommarker, as an addition to the Southbank Centremarker arts complex by Ron Herron and Warren Chalk, two of the founding members of Archigram, of the Department of Architecture and Civic Design of the Greater London Council. Warren Chalk then developed the site plan, while Ron Herron designed the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Alan Waterhouse, then Dennis Crompton, designed the Hayward. The Gallery is named after Sir Isaac Hayward, a former leader of the London County Council, the GLC's predecessor. Joanna Drew was the founding Director. Ralph Rugoff is the current Director (as of mid 2006).


The Hayward hosts three/four major temporary exhibitions each year and does not house any permanent collections. From 1968 to 1986, the gallery was managed by the Arts Council of Great Britain, but management then passed to Southbank Centre. The gallery is also the base of the Arts Council's National Touring Exhibitions programme, as it was, until 2002, of the Arts Council Collection. Unlike British galleries receiving state funding support, but in common with other temporary exhibitions at British galleries, the Hayward charges admission fees. The Hayward's exhibition policy embraces visual art from all periods, and past shows have included the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Edvard Munch and the French Impressionists. Recently the programme has tended to concentrate on surveys of contemporary art which complement the spaces and powerful concrete structure of the building, such as those of works by Dan Flavin and Antony Gormley.

It has hosted two surveys of works from the Arts Council Collection: British art 1940–1980 and How to Improve the World: 60 Years of British Art.


The design brief was for five gallery spaces, two levels of indoor galleries and three outdoor sculpture courts (the massive concrete trays at the upper level) in order to house the Arts Council collection. The intended outdoor display of sculpture against the background of the London skyline appears to have been impractical and the sculpture courts have been little used and usually closed to the public until the Blind Light exhibition of works by Antony Gormley in 2007.

The two levels of the Hayward open to the public are linked by a pair of cast concrete staircases. These staircases, and lavatories at an intermediate level, are accommodated in a concrete box in between the eastern and western parts of the indoor galleries. One of these staircases also runs down to street level with access (now emergency only) to Belvedere Road; the other extends down into the private entrance foyer, at lower level, on the north side of the building. This almost hidden private entrance is located below the foyer and external walkway on the north facade, above the car park and near the overhanging Purcell Roommarker auditorium. The screens advertising the British Film Institute and Museum of the Moving Image which enclosed the car park by the central access road were removed in 2008, giving a more open feel to the ground level area at the west end.

The building originally had a very small main foyer area with cast aluminium doors similar to those of the Queen Elizabeth Hallmarker. In 2003 the foyer of the building was remodelled with a larger glass-fronted foyer, designed by the Haworth Tompkins architectural practice, and including a new oval shaped glass pavilion designed by Dan Graham above a new cafe in the projecting former office space at the east end. A shop had been added earlier inside the north-west end of the lower gallery.

The two upper galleries can use heavily filtered natural light from the glass pyramids on their flat roofs. Three concrete towers run vertically through the middle of the structure and contain the passenger lift, service lift and service duct. The kinetic light sculpture, which responds to wind force, on the roof of the passenger lift tower, was retained from an exhibition in 1971.

The roof terrace at the south end and linking bridge to the Queen Elizabeth Hallmarker foyer building is unfortunately closed to the public, which makes impossible some of the more interesting pedestrian circulation opportunities of the original design.

The walkway above Belvedere Road with access from Waterloo Bridgemarker widens to the west, following the line of Belvedere Road and accommodating the stairs to the external terrace, but following a different line from the upper gallery walls. The angled plan shape of the concrete sculpture court in the south corner reflects the change in angle of the site between Waterloo Bridge and Festival Square. In this way, despite its seemingly uncompromising form, the building responds to its site.

The south-west corner of the building at street level is occupied by an electrical switch room. A car park occupies most of the lower ground level. A plant room occupies the lower level at the east end, above the car park, with a great concrete exhaust stack by Waterloo Bridge.

The high-level walkway system which linked the Hayward to the Hungerford Bridgemarker area was partly removed in spring 1999, leaving a curious truncated end on Festival Square, and poorer access from Festival Square. This is exacerbated by the positioning of the car park and loading bay entrances, a legacy of the original 1960's design ideas about vertical separation of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Among the tricks of the building is the different lines of the walls at ground level and walkway level on this facade, which reconcile the differing axes of the Hayward and the Royal Festival Hallmarker.


Southbank Centre and Arts Council are considering the future of the Hayward building, together with the Queen Elizabeth Hallmarker and Purcell Roommarker which stand between the Hayward and the River Thames. A proposed scheme selected from an architectural competition, designed by Richard Rogers, in the early 1990s would have involved covering all three buildings in a great wave-shaped glass roof, which would have linked the Royal Festival Hallmarker to Waterloo Bridgemarker. This did not proceed due to its reliance on a high level of lottery funding, likely high cost, and the opposition of the Twentieth Century Society who saw it as damaging to the setting of the individual buildings underneath the canopy.


  • ARUP JOURNAL: South Bank Arts Centre; Architects: H. Bennett, Greater London Council chief architect 1967 July, p. 20-31
  • ARCHITECTURAL REVIEW: South Bank Arts Centre, London borough of Lambeth; Architects: H. Bennett, architect to the Greater London Council vol. 144, no. 857, 1968 July, p. 14-30
  • INTERIOR DESIGN: Hayward Art Gallery, South Bank Art Centre, London; Architect: H. Bennett, architect to the Greater London Council 1968 Sept., p. 49-54
  • OFFICIAL ARCHITECTURE & PLANNING: South Bank Cultural Centre, London borough of Lambeth; Architect: H. Bennett, chief architect of the Greater London Council 1969 Aug., p. 918-923
  • THE ARCHITECTS' JOURNAL: No. 3441, Vol. 133. March 30, 1961, p. 469-478

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