When the Southbank Centre wanted a combined archive storage and meeting place, Jonathan Tuckey Design chose Dexion’s Slotted Angle supplied by Pewright Supply, Dexion’s London Distributor.
Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames. Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, Southbank Centre draws on its heritage as a festival site, with art and activities inside and out and encourages everyone to become involved in the arts in new and creative ways.
Jonathan Tuckey Design is one of the UK’s leading architectural practices for remodelling and radically transforming old buildings for modern use.
As part of Southbank Centre’s long-term programme of restoration and improvement and alongside the Heritage Lottery funded renovation of the Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre wanted to open up its extensive archive to the public for the first time. Jonathan Tuckey Design was invited to design and build a solution which would house and displaying sections of the archive, while providing the venue for a pioneering programme of ’public archiving’ and related artisitc activity.
Southbank Centre Archive Studio is at the heart of the building restoration project, prominently located within the foyer of the Grade I listed, modernist Royal Festival Hall, overlooking the restoration works. As well as housing sections of the Southbank’s extensive archive and incorporating changing displays, it is the venue for regular group volunteering sessions and an evolving programme of public engagement activity, linked to the varied festivals which make up Southbank Centre’s wider artistic programme. The Archive Studio will remain in place at least until the reopening of the Hayward Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall in early 2018.
Dexion Slotted Angle, first invented in 1947 and produced since the 50’s was used for the free-standing, self-supporting structure to house the Southbank’s archive and to create the Archive Studio; the open framework of the slotted angle construction system makes the scale of the archival process apparent to visitors and creates a space which allows them to meet the archive team and actively engage with the collection.
The Dexion Slotted Angle is held together with polished brass nuts and bolts and clad in perforated hardboard. Overall the Archive Studio complements the iconic, Grade I listed, modernist interior of the Royal Festival Hall, also built in the early 50’s.
Matthew Farrer, project lead, from Jonathan Tuckey Design said:
“We felt that the Archive Studio should be built from materials with a heritage value that would be easily associated with that period of time, the aim was to create a tangible connection with the archive material. Penwright Supply assisted in the design of the Dexion structure, ensuring that it was structurally sound and constructed it on site.”
Clare Wood, Southbank Centre Archivist said:
"I like that way that our workaday raw materials of boxes and shelves, usually perceived as a bit dull, have been made beautiful and arresting. Archives as a concept are notoriously tricky to communicate - the Archive Studio’s structure provide a tangible starting point for public conversations around this. The careful choice of materials in the design has also meant that the Archive Studio feels like a seamless part of the Royal Festival Hall foyers, and this integration is key to embedding the archive in Southbank Centre’s wider work.”
- Two 6m high Slotted Angle shelving units, construction designed by Jonathan Tuckey Design.
- Two three-metre-high shelving units facing the foyer that feature illuminated glass display cases.
- Three bays of shelving on castors at the entrance form a three-metre-wide hinged door. This also functions as a mobile display unit.
- Lockable cupboards with sliding perforated hardboard doors
- A lightbox integrated into one of the shelving bays
- A counterweighted fold-down desk operated on a series of pulleys.
About the Customer
The Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames occupying a 21 acre site and includes Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, the Hayward Gallery, and The Poetry Library. Created in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, it draws on its heritage as a festival site, with art and activities inside and outside, encouraging everyone to become involved in the arts in new and creative ways.
They offer a wide range of cultural events with music, dance, art, performance and spoken word events throughout the year. Every year, thousands of musicians and artists perform to millions of visitors, making this one of the most popular cultural destinations in the country.
As well as these events and venues, there are restaurants, cafes, bars and shops to also enjoy.
Jonathan Tuckey Design aims to reveal what buildings from different eras mean to us today. Based in London, a city of historical context with modern needs and demands, they enthusiastically embrace architecture of change, for example, by juxtaposing contemporary elements with original features of old, existing buildings to create exciting and dynamic new uses.
With an additional office in Andermatt, Switzerland, Jonathan Tuckey Design has worked on commercial and residential projects within Europe , the USA as well as South America.