Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Architects appointed for Centre for Music project

11:03, 10th October 2017

The Centre for Music has taken a step forward with the appointment of New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

Founded by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio in 1981, the practice has a number of major cultural projects to its name, including New York’s High Line and the transformation of the Lincoln Center.

It is currently engaged in the renovation and expansion of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and projects under construction include the Juilliard School in Tianjin, China.

The Centre for Music will be the firm’s first building in the UK.

DS+R was selected from a shortlist also including Frank Gehry (Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA), Renzo Piano (Pompidou Centre) and Amanda Levete (the Victoria & Albert Museum’s new courtyard).

The New York and London-based team will collaborate with UK-based architecture firm Sheppard Robson and Nagata Acoustics, which has consulted on venues including Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Danish Radio Concert Hall, Mariinsky Concert Hall and Opera House, Elbphilharmonie, and Philharmonie de Paris.

The design team also comprises Charcoalblue as theatre consultant, BuroHappold as civil and structural engineer and building services engineers, and AECOM as cost consultant.

The firm will submit a design for the building by December 2018, which will form part of the detailed business case.

The selection panel said that DS+R’s ‘visionary ideas offered the exciting potential to create a Centre for Music fit for the future that offers access and engagement for all.’

New York's High Line Photo: Marco Rubino/Shutterstock
New York’s High Line
Photo: Marco Rubino/Shutterstock

DS+R partner Elizabeth Diller 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.

‘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 of the London Symphony Orchestra, described the announcement as ‘an exciting step forward’, adding: ‘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.’

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican, Kathryn McDowell, managing director of the London Symphony Orchestra, and Lynne Williams, principal of the 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.’

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