DS+R Beats Foster, Gehry, Piano, and Others, For New London Centre for Music

The City of London has tapped Diller Scofidio + Renfro for a new concert hall near the Barbican.

DSR London Centre for Music
The new London Centre for Music will occupy the site of the Museum of London. Courtesy Infernalfox/Wikipedia

The London Symphony Orchestra’s new home will be designed by New York–based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the architects behind the multi-purpose Shed at Hudson Yards (in collaboration with Rockwell Group) and the redesigned Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. The firm was selected from a shortlist that included Foster + Partners, Gehry Partners, A_LA (helmed by Amanda Levete), Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Snøhetta.

The Centre will occupy the Museum of London’s site, which is itself located near the Barbican complex, the Orchestra’s current home. (The Museum of London plans to move to a larger structure designed by Stanton Williams and Asif Khan.) The new Centre–which will include commercial and educational programming–will also house the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

While DS+R’s design hasn’t been revealed, the selection committee said in a press release 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, utilizing 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.”

DS+R’s team includes Nagata Acoustics (acoustician), Charcoalblue (theater consultant), BuroHappold (civil and structural engineer, as well as building services engineer), and AECOM (cost consultant). Pledging to keep “a keen eye toward the future” needs of audiences and artists alike, firm co-founder Liz Diller added that the new building “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.”

The London Centre for Music project has $3.3 million in backing from the City of London Corporation, however, an additional $257 million to $322 million will need to be raised via private donations, according to a July article from The New York Times. In terms of next steps, the winning team will begin working on a conceptual design that will be delivered to “the City of London Corporation by December 2018 as part of a detailed business case for the Centre.”

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