Since opening in Summer 1968, the Hayward Gallery has earned its title as one of the worlds leading contemporary art galleries. Closed in September 2015 and open again in January 2018, the Gallery underwent an extensive two year refurbishment programme. In May 2019 the refurbishment won the prestigious RIBA London Award Awards and RIBA the National Award 2019.
The main focus of the refurbishment was the replacement of sixty-six glass pyramid rooflights which were re-engineered to let controlled natural lighting into the upper galleries for the first time. The refurbishment was made possible by a grant from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund, trusts and foundations, and Southbank Centre friends supporting the ‘Let The Light In fundraising campaign.’
For the new pyramid construction the architects chose to use aluminium profiles from Aluprof’s MB-SR50 Curtain Wall system. The four sided pyramids are glazed on two sides with laminated low-iron glass and to maintain weathering the square base of the pyramid rooflight, utilised an additional 5° slopped, low-iron, double glazed unit. The two glazed sides of the pyramid offer sun shading to the lower, 5° sloped glazing whilst still allowing a view of the sky from below through the two open sides of the pyramid.
The sixty-six new pyramid rooflights replace the original, problematic, heavily leaded, single glazed Georgian glass units. Early in the buildings life these dysfunctional original units had been blocked out, now, with the support of Aluprof, the building retains not only its original design intent but offers high levels of thermal efficiency thanks to the introduction of double glazing and high performance thermal breaks in the frames design.
With the careful selection of glass, the change in available light, as the sun is obscured by clouds, is minimised, thereby offering a more constant light level in the gallery space below. Reinstating a now controllable blackout blind below the rooflight offers further flexibility for the use of the gallery space below.
Architects on the project are Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and the redevelopment of the gallery is just part of a wider £35 million upgrade of the Southbank Centre in time for its 50th anniversary. Of heavy ‘Brutalist Architecture’ design, popular back in the 1960’s, the architect has sympathetically updated the gallery meeting today’s display requirements, but maintaining the original design intent of the period.