Skate park preservation group Long Live Southbank (LLS) has called for the full restoration of the area’s Undercroft – a famous hotspot for London’s skateboarders.
The organisation succeeded last year in stopping the Southbank Centre’s £120m plans to turn the skate park into shops and restaurants, and has now issued a 50-page dossier titled ‘Southbank Undercroft: Proposal for Restoration of Original Design and Vision’.
LLS says in the report: ‘The Southbank skate spot (the Undercroft) is a found space that by nature of its design was found to be the perfect architecture and topography for the art of skateboarding.’
The group is specifically asking for the restoration and reopening of two-thirds of the space, closed by the Southbank Centre in 2005 for refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall.
It says Southbank Centre management have reneged on a promise made in 2005 that its closure would be temporary, with the area remaining shut off to skaters despite the Royal Festival Hall reopening in 2007.
The Brutalist complex was built in 1968 and became popular with the skateboarding community during the mid-1970s. It was designed by London County Council (LLC) architects Ron Herron and Warren Chalk, who would later join avant-garde architecture collective Archigram.
Added LLS: ‘The Southbank complex was an original experiment in British architectural design by some of the most daring architectural thinkers of the 1960s.’