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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
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|Royal Festival Hall|
The Royal Festival Hall from Golden Jubilee Bridge, during reopening celebrations
|Country||England, United Kingdom|
|Construction started||1948 (18 months to complete)|
|Inaugurated||3 May 1951|
|Cost||GBP £2 million (1951)|
|Renovation cost||GBP £111 million (2007)|
|Design and construction|
|Client||London County Council|
|Owner||London County Council (1951-1965),
Greater London Council (1965-1986)
Arts Council (1986-1988),
Southbank Centre Limited (1988-present)
|Architect||Sir Robert Matthew and Dr Leslie Martin|
|Other designers||Robin Day (Furniture inc. surviving auditorium seating)|
|Main contractor||Holland, Hannen & Cubitts|
The Royal Festival Hall is a 2,900-seat concert, dance and talks venue within Southbank Centre in London. It is situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, not far from Hungerford Bridge. It is a Grade I listed building - the first post-war building to become so protected (in 1981). The London Philharmonic Orchestra and Philharmonia Orchestras perform the majority of their London concerts in the hall.
The hall was built as part of the Festival of Britain for London County Council, and was officially opened on 3 May 1951. When the Greater London Council (LCC's successor) was abolished in 1986, the Hall was taken over by the Arts Council. Since the late 1980s the hall has operated an 'open foyers' policy, opening up the substantial foyer spaces to the public throughout the day, even if there are no performances. This has proved very popular and the foyers are now one of the most used public spaces in London.
The foundation stone was laid in 1949 by Clement Attlee, then Prime Minister, on the site of the former Lion Brewery, built in 1837. The building was constructed by Holland, Hannen & Cubitts and officially opened on 3 May 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain. The original plan was that Arturo Toscanini would conduct the opening concerts, but he was unwell, and the inaugural concerts were conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent and Sir Adrian Boult. The first general manager was T E Bean who contributed greatly to the early success of the Festival Hall.
The hall's design is unashamedly Modernist, the Festival's commissioning architect (Hugh Casson) having taken the decision to appoint only young architects. It was designed by Leslie Martin, Robert Matthew and Peter Moro from the LCC's Architects' Department; Martin was just 39 when he was appointed to lead the design team in late 1948. Martin designed the structure as an 'egg in a box', a term he used to describe the separation of the curved auditorium space from the surrounding building and the noise and vibration of the adjacent railway viaduct. Sir Thomas Beecham used similar imagery, calling the building a 'giant chicken coop'.
The building was substantially altered in 1964 by adding the foyers and terraces to the river side of the building and more dressing rooms to the rear. Alterations to the facades facing the river removed the playful Scandinavian Modernism of the building's primary public face in favour of a plainer and hard-edged style. The building's original entrance sequence was much compromised by these changes and the later additions of raised concrete walkways around the building to serve the neighbouring Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and The Hayward, built in 1967/8 and also part of Southbank Centre.
The building underwent a substantial renovation between 2005 and 2007 led by Allies and Morrison Architects aimed at improving the poor acoustics (which Simon Rattle said made performers 'lose the will to live'), production access and flexibility of the auditorium and the general quality of fabric, entrance spaces and cafe and the layouts of the foyers. The interior of the concert hall space was almost entirely intact until this re-modelling, which saw its stage canopy and walls rebuilt in plainer more rectangular forms. This was carried out in the face of opposition from conservationists, led by the Twentieth Century Society. While musicians report improvements in their own experience of the acoustic from the stage perspective, some audience members report disappointment that renovations have failed to improve the acoustics of the hall, largely due to conservation imperatives which are noted by the acoustic developers.
A row of seven shop/catering units has been added on the river side of the hall (with offices upstairs) and the section of the riverside walk next to these was improved. This has released space inside the original building which had been used for shops. The hall officially reopened to the public in June 2007 with a concert by the heavy metal band Motörhead, opening Jarvis Cocker's Meltdown. The refurbishment is expected to cost in the region of £91 million. A film has been made documenting the refurbishment, entitled This Is Tomorrow; it is directed by Paul Kelly and produced by Andrew Hinton. The soundtrack was composed by the band Saint Etienne who performed it at the film's première in the Festival Hall.
A large head and shoulders bust of Nelson Mandela (by Ian Walters, 1985) stands on the walkway between the hall and Hungerford Bridge approach viaduct. Originally made in glass-fibre it was repeatedly vandalised until re-cast in bronze. Skateboarders, who have congregated since the 1980s in the undercroft of the neighbouring Queen Elizabeth Hall (considered to be London's most iconic skateboarding area) and now constitute a notable feature of the Southbank Centre, may soon be moved on if this area of the centre is redeveloped.
Seen from the River Thames, October 2010
Seen from Victoria Embankment, June 2011
Rear facade from the Hayward Gallery during restoration, May 2007
Royal Festival Hall (bottom left) from the London Eye, July 2008
Walking through the Appearing Rooms fountain installation, by Danish artistJeppe Hein, outside the RFH during reopening celebrations after 2007 refurbishment.