Centre for Music

City of London / United Kingdom / 2018

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The Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama have released the first concept designs for their project to create a world class Centre for Music in London, as part of a progress update on their plans for the proposed new building. This update follows the recent news that the City of London Corporation has backed the next phase of work by providing £2.49 million for the three partners to undertake further design development, and to progress fundraising, business modelling and capital funding plans.


The Centre for Music would be a world-class venue for performance and education across all musical genres, harnessing the power of three internationally recognised cultural organisations - the Barbican, LSO and Guildhall School - to inspire a new generation with a love of music. The Centre would include a world class concert hall and superb spaces for performance, education and rehearsal. It would, above all, be a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the joy of making-music first hand.


The concept designs, developed by lead architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, demonstrate the potential to deliver this landmark new building on the current Museum of London site.


Elizabeth Diller, Founding Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, said:
“We want to unlock the urban potential of the Centre for Music's site at the southern tip of the Barbican by reclaiming the roundabout for the public realm, where the car’s isolating effects are keenly felt today. A vital public space seamlessly connects to the foyer and extends a welcome to everyone, with or without a performance ticket.

“The foyer would be abuzz day and night, filled with activity and glimpses into the inner life of the Hall. We imagine a concert hall for the 21st century that embraces both a bespoke and a loose fit approach: tailored for exceptional symphonic sound, yet agile enough to accommodate creative work across disciplines and genres.”


Alongside creating an outstanding new building for London and the UK, the designs propose reimagining and transforming the layout and public realm of the current Museum of London site, creating open, welcoming and traffic free public spaces, while also linking to the Barbican Estate’s Highwalk network.


The proposed Centre for Music site, which has been made available in principle by the City of London Corporation, sits on a key cultural axis in the capital, linking north from Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral and between two major new Elizabeth Line stations. The realisation of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s concept designs would create an iconic new gateway to the City of London’s emerging Culture Mile, drawing visitors into an area that is set to be transformed over the next decade and beyond through new transport hubs, outdoor programming and major enhancements to streets and wider public realm that link the area’s existing and planned world-class cultural destinations.


About Centre for Music


The City of London Corporation provided funding for the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama to complete a detailed business case for a world-class Centre for Music in the Square Mile. This business case was submitted in December 2018 and the City Corporation recently announced a further £2.49 million in funding for the three partners to undertake further design development, and to progress fundraising, business modelling and capital funding plans.
The Centre for Music would be a world-class venue for performance and education across all musical genres, harnessing the power of three internationally recognised cultural organisations - the Barbican, LSO and Guildhall School - to inspire a new generation with a love of music. The Centre would include a world class concert hall and superb spaces for rehearsal, performance and education. It would, above all, be a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the joy of making-music first hand.


The Centre for Music would be run by the Barbican Centre, enabling the arts centre to significantly expand its international programme across all genres; it would be the home of the London Symphony Orchestra who would be the principal performing organisation; and the base for the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s new Institute for Social Impact. The Centre would also allow the Barbican, LSO and Guildhall School to build upon and significantly increase their current learning and discovery programmes, with the ambition of delivering high quality music experiences for school children and communities across London.


In October 2017, the Centre for Music project team announced the appointment of a world-class design team led by international acclaimed design studio Diller Scofidio + Renfro to develop concept design for the Centre. This design team also includes Sheppard Robson, Nagata Acoustics, Charcoalblue and BuroHappold, while AECOM are the project’s cost consultant.


The preferred site for the Centre for Music, which the City of London Corporation has agreed in principle to make available, is currently occupied by the Museum of London, and would become available when the Museum of London fulfils its ambition to move to a larger site at West Smithfield.

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    The Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama have released the first concept designs for their project to create a world class Centre for Music in London, as part of a progress update on their plans for the proposed new building. This update follows the recent news that the City of London Corporation has backed the next phase of work by providing £2.49 million for the three partners to undertake further design development, and to progress fundraising,...

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