First concept designs released for London Centre for Music project as next steps announced

The Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama have today 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. 

Entry Plaza. Concept Design Centre for Music. Courtesy of Diller Scofidio and Renfro

Entry Plaza. Concept Design Centre for Music. Courtesy of Diller Scofidio and Renfro


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.

Images, animation and film available for download from: https://bit.ly/2QX8SVN

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.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair, City of London Corporation, said:
“The proposed Centre for Music would be a landmark building in the City’s emerging Culture Mile, and arguably become regarded as the envy of the international arts, music and educational community.

“As a major funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK, the City of London Corporation is proud to support these bold and ambitious plans, which have been brought so vividly to life in these initial designs by Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

“Visually breathtakingly, acoustically perfect, and with a stated commitment to being totally inclusive, the Centre for Music would bring together outstanding performers and diverse audiences.

“It is my sincere hope that it would attract generous support from businesses in the Square Mile and beyond. That is vital to its success.”

Current estimates for the cost of the core Centre for Music elements of the building are £288 million in today’s prices. Above these core elements are a series of commercial spaces that will support the construction and running costs of the building, enabling it to operate without ongoing public subsidy.

The Centre would be run by the Barbican, enabling the arts centre to significantly expand its international programme across all genres. It would be the home of the London Symphony Orchestra 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. Digital technology would be fully integrated into the building’s design and infrastructure, enabling music and education activity delivered in the Centre to be distributed to a global audience.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican; Kathryn McDowell CBE, Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra and Lynne Williams, Principal, Guildhall School of Music & Drama said:
“The Centre for Music would enhance the status of London as one of the world’s leading cultural capitals, delivering major new benefits to the city and the UK’s musical life, educational offer and international reputation. We believe the project would have the equivalent impact on music in the capital as the opening of Tate Modern had on contemporary art almost two decades ago.

“The shared ambition and experience of the project partners, the availability of a key site and the support of the City of London Corporation have all aligned to create a once in a generation opportunity to transform how music is experienced in London and beyond.”


Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director, London Symphony Orchestra and Artist-in-Association, Barbican and Guildhall School of Music & Drama said:
“We believe in music. We believe in London. We believe in the power of music to transform people’s lives. And more importantly than anything else, we believe it is for everybody. Talent for music, love for music has never been anything to do with the ability to play, to hear or learn. It is every child’s birthright.

“The idea that there can be a new cultural centre in London, in Culture Mile, and that in the middle of it, a truly great international, modern concert hall of our time, equipped for everything of this age, is very exciting. A sign of London as a dynamic cultural city, at a time when we are going to need this more and more.”

The next phase of work on the project is expected to take approximately one year to complete.

-ENDS-

culturemile.london/centreformusic

For more information contact:
Jane Quinn
Bolton & Quinn
e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
t: +44 (0)20 7221 5000

Nick Adams
Senior Policy and Communications Manager
Barbican
e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
t: +44 (0)20 7382 5274

NOTES TO EDITORS

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.

About Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Founded in 1981, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is a design studio whose work spans architecture, urban design, installation art, multi-media performance, digital media, and print. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. Based in New York, with a small office in London, the studio is comprised of over 100 architects, designers, artists and researchers, led by four partners—Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro and Benjamin Gilmartin. Ricardo Scofidio and Elizabeth Diller were recognized as two of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time Magazine and are International Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Elizabeth Diller, who is leading the design of the Centre for Music, is a professor at Princeton University, a visiting professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and led the Grand Jury for the 2018 RIBA International Prize.

About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.
www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

About Culture Mile
Culture Mile is a corner of London’s working capital, where creativity is fast becoming the most valuable currency. The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, are leading the animation of the whole neighbourhood with imaginative collaborations and events. Culture Mile brings commerce and culture together in a wealth of creativity. Known meets unknown. Ancient and modern collide as the streets are activated by exhibitions, gigs, pop-ups and events. So whether you’re with family, friends or flying solo, there’s something for everyone. And thanks to Crossrail’s new Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, the area is more connected than ever. Join us today where two thousand years of history collide with the world’s best culture.
www.culturemile.london

About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas 1, 2 and 3, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery the Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory, conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia, Associate Producer Serious, and Artistic Partner Create. Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue, Cheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company. The Los Angeles Philharmonic are the Barbican’s International Orchestral Partner, the Australian Chamber Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble at Milton Court and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra are International Associate Ensemble. Find us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Spotify

About the London Symphony Orchestra
The LSO was established in 1904 and has a unique ethos. As a musical collective, it is built on artistic ownership and partnership. With an inimitable signature sound, the LSO’s mission is to bring the greatest music to the greatest number of people. The LSO has been the only Resident Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in the City of London since it opened in 1982, giving 70 symphonic concerts there every year. Through LSO Discovery, it is a pioneer of music education, offering musical experiences to 60,000 people every year. With the formation of its own record label LSO Live in 1999 the LSO pioneered a revolution in recording live orchestral music. The LSO strives to embrace new digital technologies – having successfully moved into digital film, Blu-Ray Audio, downloads, streaming and virtual reality – and it continues to innovate with platforms such as LSO Play, a web-based video player that allows people to observe the Orchestra from different angles. The LSO is also a highly successful creative enterprise, with 80% of all funding self-generated.
lso.co.uk

About the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and production artists in the heart of the City of London. Rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework and ranked as the UK’s top conservatoire in the Guardian University Guide 2019 for Music, the School is a global leader of creative and professional practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with over 1,000 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world. The School is also the UK’s leading provider of specialist music training at the under-18 level with nearly 2,500 students in Junior Guildhall and the Centre for Young Musicians.
www.gsmd.ac.uk