Leading architects, writers and historians back bid to save Southwark tube station - a modern ‘architectural sensation’

31 July 2017

Leading architects, writers and historians back bid to save Southwark tube station - a modern ‘architectural sensation’

A group of leading historians, writers and architects is urging the Secretary of State for Culture Karen Bradley to assess the architectural quality of 11 modern Jubilee Line tube stations – all opened to critical acclaim in 1999 - including Southwark which was recently refused listing.

In a letter published in The Times on Monday, nine architects, writers and historians, including Marcus Binney, SAVE's Executive President and former Times architecture critic, describe the new Jubilee stations, as ‘the biggest architectural sensation of their kind since the Moscow Underground’. 

Southwark Station, designed by MacCormac, Jamieson, Pritchard architects (partner in charge Richard MacCormac), won an RIBA bronze medal in 2000 and a special British Construction Industry Award for Architectural and Engineering Excellence in Public Transport.

The letter states: “The 11 stations were commissioned by Roland Paoletti, soon after he completed the impressive new Metro in Hong Kong. He chose a group of talented architects both established and at the beginning of their careers. It was one of the best examples of public sector patronage of our time.”

The letter is signed by Will Alsop (North Greenwich); Michael and Patty Hopkins (Westminster); Ian Ritchie (Bermondsey); Chris Wilkinson & Jim Eyre (Stratford) Marcus Binney; Ken Powell; and Jonathan Glancey.

They are calling on Karen Bradley to assess the group value of all the modern Jubilee Line stations – and to review the recent decision not to list Southwark.

The listing application, put forward by the Twentieth Century Society, was triggered by reports that TfL plans to demolish the concourse of Southwark Tube station as part of a major redevelopment of the site. Historic England recently advised the government not to list the station – despite describing it as ‘exceptional’ in its recommendation report.  The Twentieth Century Society is appealing the decision not to list.

Marcus Binney, Executive President of SAVE said: "It is alarming when fine buildings come under threat so soon after they were completed. As Richard MacComarc is sadly no longer with us to speak for his station it is doubly important that the rest of us make a stand to save it.” 

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE said: "These 11 Jubilee Line stations are exceptional – this is award winning public architecture at its best, designed by some of the greatest architects of a generation.

“Southwark Station was built less than 20 years ago – demolition and redevelopment of large parts of it would not only be a tragic loss of fantastic modern architecture, it would also be a colossal waste of resources."

Notes to Editor:

1. For more information please contact SAVE on 0207 253 3500 or office@savebritainsheritage.org

2. In their listing advice report, Historic England describe Southwark station as follows:

"Southwark Underground Station stands out as an exceptional, visually rewarding response to Paoletti's brief, for the technical and engineering skills required to fit it into a highly restrictive site, and above all for its imaginative and dramatic architectural treatment, which is embedded in the function of the building, and helps mitigate the necessary complexity of the station."

3. See the attached Historic England report for further details of the history of the Jubilee Line Extension.

4. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.

Press release issued by SAVE Britain’s Heritage

70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ

Registered Charity 269129

Tel. 020 7253 3500  Email office@savebritainsheritage.org


Follow SAVE on Twitter: @SAVEBrit

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