Royal Festival Hall

LCC Architects' Department, London, 1951


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View from Hungerford Bridge 

Galwey Arphot     Download Original

  • View from Hungerford Bridge    
  • Aerial view of the south bank and the Festival Hall    
  • Looking up at the Hungerford Bridge side elevation    
  • Corner of the facade    
  • Looking up the external approach stair    
  • The river front at night    
  • The riverside terrace    
  • View from the roof terrace towards Waterloo station    
  • View across the Thames from the roof garden    
  • The main entrance    
  • View across the main foyer    
  • The main foyer bar    
  • The main cloakroom    
  • The main foyer from the approach stairs    
  • View of the half landing approaching the main foyer    
  • View of the main staircase and ceiling detail    
  • Looking out through the windows of the upper restuarant    
  • The glazed wall of the upper restaurant    
  • View down to the upper and lower restaurants     
  • The meeting room on the Waterloo Bridge side    
  • Balcony foyer bar     
  • View down the auditorium from the projection box at the back    
  • Looking along one of the main transverse walkways from the mid stalls entrance    
  • View at the mid stalls entrance level    
  • View up the auditorium from the choir seating    
  • View of lower stalls transverse walkway    
  • View from the rear of the auditorium looking towards the royal box    
  • View of the auditorium from a box    
  • Sycamore canopy over the orchestra platform    
  • Site plan    
  • Basement level plan    
  • Main foyer level plan    
  • Front stall level plan    
  • Mid stalls level plan    
  • Back stall level plan    
  • Balcony level plan    
  • Plan of the entrance foyer    
  • Plan of the riverside terrace at the main foyer level    
  • Meeting room and foyer plan    
  • Lower restaurant floor plan    
  • Upper restaurant floor plan    
  • Stall level plan    
  • Orchestra platform plan    
  • The longitudinal section    
  • Sketch perspective of a side wing    
  • Sketch perspective of the meeting room and terrace    
  • Concept layout diagrams    
  • Diagram showing circulation     
  • Diagrams showing multiple use of the building    
  • Orchestra platform alternative arrangements    
  • Diagram showing lighting in the auditorium for concerts    
  • Diagram showing extra lighting in the auditorium for dramatic performances    
  • Diagram showing air supply system in auditorium    
  • Diagram showing air extract grilles in auditorium    
  • Section through auditorium showing the location of the reflecting and absorbing surfaces    
  • Diagram showing defence against train noise    
  • Model    
  • The roof under construction    
  • Detail of the sycamore canopy    
  • Window detail and flower box    
  • Detail of a balcony box    
  • Balustrade detail    

Modernist theatre on the London Southbank commissioned for the 1951 Festival of Britain

The building accommodates a 3,000 seat auditorium, primarily for orchestras and choirs, a smaller hall for chamber music and recitals and musicians accommodation.

Large foyers, refreshment bars, meeting rooms and restaurant surround the central auditorium. All these elements are planned in such a way that each element can be used separately or in combination.

The majority of the structure is reinforced concrete with the auditorium being carried on a series of circular reinforced concrete columns and the circulation and ancillary spaces planned around them.

The curved concrete roof is clad in copper and and supported on transverse steel girders. In contrast to the solidity of the central mass the surrounding structure is comparatively light and transparent with swathes of glass running the length of the building.

Externally Portland stone and coloured tiles are used while the internal palette are finished with clear, bright colours, marble, glass and polished wood.


  • Begun: 1948
  • Completed: 1951
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Public realm
  • Total cost: £2M
  • Address: Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

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