Explore The Innards Of London's Concrete Jungle

Kyra Hanson
By Kyra Hanson Last edited 40 months ago
Explore The Innards Of London's Concrete Jungle
Hayward Gallery. Photo: Sophia Schorr-kon

Forget stately homes, flowery wallpaper and picnics among carefully pruned hedges. Brutalism is all about rough, harsh edges and functional space over frivolous details and, as a distinct departure from their usual venues, the National Trust is celebrating some of the UK's iconic Brutalist structures by offering behind the scenes tours of these often underrated buildings.

If the sight of exposed concrete makes your weak at the knees you'd be mad to miss a tour organised in conjunction with the Southbank Centre where you can have a nosy behind the scenes of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, and Hayward Gallery — a real treat for those interested in eyeing up the original fixtures and fittings before the 1960s buildings are refurbished.

The imposing concrete slabs that make up the Southbank Centre, University of East Anglia in Norwich and Park Hill Estate in Sheffield have been dividing opinion ever since they came to dominate the landscape unapologetically between the 1950s and 70s.

Despite looking more like nuclear bunkers we think it's great that the National Trust regards these as places that should be celebrated as part of our architectural history.

But what do you think? Are London's concrete structures carbuncles blighting the landscape? Or architectural blessings that echo the drab English weather? Make up your mind after exploring the innards of the Southbank Centre. Get a taster of the tour from the gallery below.


Photos courtesy of the National Trust and Sophia Schorr-Kon.

Tours of the Southbank Centre run from 25 September-4 October, last for 90 minutes and run every hour from 10am-7pm. Day tour tickets cost £10/£12, Evening tours from 5pm cost £15

Like this? Check out our list of the top Brutalist buildings in London

Last Updated 11 September 2015