Design Team led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro Announced for London Centre for Music Project

The Centre for Music project, backed by £2.5million in funding from the City of London Corporation, has today announced the team which it intends to appoint to develop a concept design for a new Centre for Music in the City of London. This team will be led by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, whose New York and London-based team will work in collaboration with UK-based architecture firm Sheppard Robson.

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. The studio has delivered major cultural and public realm projects in the US and internationally. These projects include the High Line (New York); the transformation of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts campus which included the redesign of Alice Tully Hall as well as the expansion of The Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet (New York); Zaryadye Park (Moscow); The Broad contemporary art museum (Los Angeles); the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkeley; and the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center at Columbia University (New York).

DS+R is currently engaged in two significant cultural projects in New York: The Shed, the first multi-arts centre designed to commission, produce, and present all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture, and the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Projects currently under construction include the Museum of Image & Sound on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro and The Juilliard School in Tianjin, China.

The Centre for Music architect selection panel said: "The panel agreed that, of the six excellent submissions, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s visionary ideas offered the exciting potential to create a Centre for Music fit for the future that offers access and engagement for all. The panel felt Diller Scofidio + Renfro most clearly met the vision and ambition of this project, utilising their experience of creating inspiring new spaces for culture to present a proposal that delivers a world-class concert hall in an outstanding new building, as part of the re-imagination of a key area of the City of London within Culture Mile.”

Elizabeth Diller, Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro said: “My studio is very honored to be chosen from among this stellar group of architects and thrilled to have the chance to create an important cultural building for London, our first in the UK. We look forward to working with three of London’s greatest institutions and the opportunity to align their artistic, educational and civic visions for the Centre for Music. The new building will meet the needs of artists and audiences today with a keen eye toward the future. It will be sensitive to the inherited character of the Barbican and its vital role in Culture Mile while directly engaging the contemporary urban life of the city. We aspire to make a hub where people want to spend their time, with or without a ticket.”

Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director, London Symphony Orchestra said: “This announcement is an exciting step forward in the plans for a 21st century Centre for Music that would be home to the London Symphony Orchestra. I am sure this outstanding design team will deliver plans for an exceptional new place for the enjoyment and understanding of music that is welcoming and open to all.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said: “My colleagues and I send our warmest congratulations to the team at Diller Scofidio + Renfro on its winning bid to help design this remarkable building in the heart of the Square Mile. These are bold and ambitious plans, and not only would Diller Scofidio + Renfro be responsible for creating a visually striking and acoustically perfect concert hall, it is our firm belief that the Centre for Music would come to be regarded and admired widely as an iconic landmark in Culture Mile.”

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 will be a transformative cultural project that will inspire current and future generations through the power and excitement of live music. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a dynamic new approach to performance and learning and we are delighted with the vision, calibre and skills of the selected design team. We look forward to working with this outstanding team to create a concept design for a landmark new space that enables us to lead a step change in the way music is experienced.”

Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Sheppard Robson will work alongside an outstanding design team that includes internationally recognised experts in their fields capable of delivering on the project’s ambition to create state-of-the-art building of acoustic and visual excellence. This team comprises: Nagata Acoustics (Acoustician), Charcoalblue (Theatre Consultant), BuroHappold (Civil and Structural Engineer), BuroHappold (Building Services Engineers) and AECOM (Cost Consultant). DS+R would also like to recognize the following consultants for their contribution to the winning competition bid: ARUP (Accessible Environment, Fire Engineering, Facade Engineering), Orsa (Principal Designer and Facade Access Consultant), and Transolar (Sustainability).

The Centre for Music is planned to accommodate a world-class concert hall, education, training and digital spaces, excellent facilities for audiences and performers, and significant supporting commercial areas. It will be a permanent home for the London Symphony Orchestra. It would be a place of welcome, participation, discovery and learning fit for the digital age. At the heart of the City of London’s thriving Culture Mile, this landmark new building is planned to be a visible signal of commitment to the future of music that enhances London’s position as a world leading centre for the cultural and creative industries.

The selection of the design team follows an open process run by the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, who are leading on the development of a detailed business case for the new Centre backed by £2.5million in funding from the City of London Corporation. The project received applications from companies from across the globe before shortlisting a range of outstanding firms for each role. Companies submitted tender responses and were interviewed and marked against published criteria.

The design team will now work together with the project partners to deliver a concept design for the Centre for Music which will be submitted to the City of London Corporation by December 2018 as part of a detailed business case for the Centre.