Royal Festival Hall, London

Surprisingly, given the Royal Festival Hall’s panoramic views over the river Thames, neither the original 1951 restaurant nor the 1964 enlargement were particularly successful. This design takes advantage of the river and inflects the space of the restaurant towards it. The restaurant is connected both spatially and architecturally with the foyer and auditorium at the heart of the building. The principal intervention is a curved plaster canopy springing from the rear wall of the restaurant. The canopy extends in plan to make dramatic four meter high portal entrances to the big dining room and fans out in section to emphasise the generosity of the volume. Its symmetry about the central axis of the auditorium focuses on the raised bar and stage area at the rear of the space. The composition, materials and detail of this assembly are all drawn from references within the original building. A line of new spun aluminium pendant lights reinforces the gesture of the canopy opening towards the river.


The Capital Group
Structural engineer
Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick
Services engineer
Hilson Moran
Partnership Ltd
Quantity surveyor
Boyden and Co
Dollman Ralston
Kitchen specialist
CDS Associates

Dennis Gilbert/VIEW


Completion date
Royal Festival Hall
South Bank
London SE1