International search begins for team to design landmark Centre for Music in London

The Centre for Music project, led by partners the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, has today announced the competitive process, funded by the City of London Corporation, for the recruitment of an expert design team to develop a concept design for an inspiring and innovative new Centre for Music in the City of London.

The three partner organisations, which are leading on the development of a detailed business case for the new Centre backed by the City of London Corporation, are seeking applications from internationally-recognised experts from across the globe to develop plans for a state-of-the-art building of acoustic and visual excellence.

The partners are looking to appoint a design team comprised of creative and world-leading experts in their field that share the partners’ vision, that can engage with the multi-faceted nature of the brief, and who can work with them towards a concept design to ensure the most exciting and dynamic outcome for the project.

The procurement process, submitted as Contract Notices to the Official Journal of the European Union, will lead to the appointments of the following roles to develop a concept design for the new Centre, with the intention of continuing the contracts to project completion. The concept design will form part of the detailed business case to be submitted to the City of London Corporation in December 2018:

  • Architect
  • Building Service Engineer
  • Civil & Structural Engineer
  • Acoustician
  • Theatre Consultant

The City of London Corporation has provided up to £2.5 million in funding to complete this detailed business case for the Centre for Music. The Centre would contain a world-class concert hall, education, training and digital spaces, excellent facilities for audiences and performers, and significant supporting commercial areas. 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 arts venues and its emerging cultural hub, this landmark new building would 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 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 will become available when the Museum of London fulfils its ambition to move to a new site at West Smithfield. The current Museum of London building would be demolished with the site reimagined and redesigned to accommodate the new landmark Centre for Music.

The strategic location of the site would open up a new ‘cultural corridor’ bringing visitors up from Tate Modern, via the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s into the emerging cultural hub developed by the City Corporation and its four core partners the Barbican, Guildhall School, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London. 1.5 million additional visitors a year are expected in the area from 2018 as Crossrail opens stations at Farringdon and Moorgate, and the North-South Thameslink line is also upgraded.

Dr Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said:

“We support the ambitious plans for a Centre for Music at the heart of the City of London, one of the finest cultural hubs in the world. This vibrant area has supported creativity and innovation to flourish across every sector and helped secure London’s position as the pre-eminent financial centre. Visually striking, acoustically perfect and open to all, a new Centre for Music – facing St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern – would be an important investment in the strength of the Square Mile and our neighbouring communities.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:

“This is an important step towards the transformation of this vibrant area around the Barbican Centre and Guildhall School of Music & Drama into a world-class cultural hub. Culture, open and available to everyone, attracts people to work in, live in, and visit the Square Mile. We want to keep this vision at the heart of the City experience.”

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican; Kathryn McDowell CBE, Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra and Lynne Williams, Principal, Guildhall School of Music & Drama said: 

“Today’s announcement is the latest stage in the development of this potentially transformative cultural project. Our aim is to recruit the strongest possible team of outstanding architects and experts from across the globe to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a landmark new building that inspires current and future generations through the power and excitement of live music.”

The process

The process for the recruitment of these roles will follow City of London Corporation Procurement Code and will comply with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The first stage of the procurement process is for the recruitment of Architects. Interested companies are asked to submit their response to a Selection Questionnaire (SQ) outlining their relevant experience and approach to project delivery. This questionnaire, alongside a project brief, are available on the City of London Corporation procurement portal today(add link) following submission of the Contract Notice to the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) tender portal. The closing date as advertised in the OJEU notice for SQ submission is 1200h British Summer Time on 9 June 2017. 

Once submitted, a panel will assess and score the SQ submissions before shortlisting up to six companies who will receive an Invitation To Tender (ITT). For the recruitment of the architect this ITT will request a detailed response to the design brief, the company’s approach to delivering the project, details of the team that would work on the project and a fee proposal. All Architect bids invited to tender will receive an honorarium of £10,000 for satisfactory completion of a Response to Brief to contribute to costs associated with the development of this tender response.

Shortlisted bids will then be assessed and scored based on their tender submission and, following a detailed interview process with the assessment panel, an appointment decision will be made.

The OJEU notices and the publication of the SQ for the Building Service Engineer and the Civil & Structural Engineer will be available within the next week.

For the Acoustician and Theatre Consultant roles, there will be no SQ process and an ITT will be available to any Acousticians and Theatre Consultants interested in bidding for the contract. These will also be made available shortly after the commencement of the Architect procurement.

The project partners welcome bids from both individual firms and collaborations in order to best meet the criteria.

The panel appointed to assess tender responses from architects are:

· Alex Beard CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House

· Professor Ricky Burdett CBE, Professor of Urban Studies and Director, LSE Cities

· Eva Jiricna CBE RA, Founder, Eva Jiricna Architects

· Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican (Panel Chair)

· Kathryn McDowell CBE, Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra

· Deputy Alastair Moss, Member, City of London Corporation

· Lucy Musgrave, Director, Publica

· Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director Designate, London Symphony Orchestra

· Lynne Williams, Principal, Guildhall School of Music & Drama

 The tender responses for the other design roles will be judged by tender assessment panels made up of experts in the relevant fields and key members of the Centre for Music Project team. The appointed Panel Chairs are:

· Karin Gartzke, Arts Management Consultant, (Theatre Consultant Panel)

· Rob Manning, Former President of Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (Building Services Engineer Panel)

· Kathryn McDowell, CBE, Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra (Acoustician Panel)

· Graham Watts, OBE, CEO of the Construction Industry Council (Civil & Structural Engineer Panel)

Full details of the criteria for assessing the SQ and ITT submissions are available in the documentation published on the City of London Corporation procurement portal.



For more information contact:

Nick Adams, Communications Manager, Barbican, 0207 382 5274,

Lorna Gemmell, Head of Communications, Barbican, 0207 382 7147,

Notes to editors

About Centre for Music 

The City of London Corporation has 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.  At the heart of the vision for the Centre for Music are proposals for a landmark building containing a world-class concert hall for the digital age and an ambitious, educational offer to bring music-making to the widest possible audience. The Centre would be a permanent home to the London Symphony Orchestra. It will also host performances from the Barbican’s family of Associate orchestras and ensembles, as well as performances from touring artists and orchestras from across the UK and the world across a range of genres.  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 will become available when the Museum of London fulfils its ambition to move to a larger site at West Smithfield.  Work on the business case is ongoing and will be completed by December 2018.  

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 One, Two and Three, 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 EntertainmentCheek by Jowl, Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company. International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of AmsterdamNew York PhilharmonicLos Angeles Philharmonic,Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center.  Find us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube  

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 75% of all funding self-generated. Sir Simon Rattle becomes the LSO’s Music Director in September 2017. An ambitious artistic vision, with access to great music for everyone at its heart, was announced in January 2017.

 About the Guildhall School of Music & Drama  The Guildhall School is a vibrant, international community of young musicians, actors and theatre technicians in the heart of the City of London. Twice-rated No.1 specialist institution in the UK by the Guardian University Guide, and recently selected as one of the top ten institutions for performing arts in the world (QS World University Rankings 2016), the School is a global leader of creative and professional practice which promotes innovation, experiment and research, with over 900 students in higher education, drawn from nearly 60 countries around the world. It 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 Centre for Young Musicians. The School is widely recognised for the quality of its teaching and its graduates, and its new building, Milton Court which opened in September 2013, offers state-of-the-art facilities to match the talent within its walls, ensuring that students enter their chosen profession at the highest level.

About the City of London Corporation  The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

· We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.

· We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.

· We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.  See for more details.

About the Cultural Hub  The City of London Corporation has a long history as a leading investor in the arts including the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London in the Square Mile. Together they are working to transform the area from Farringdon to Moorgate and the evolving Cultural Hub to create an unparalleled destination that is an internationally renowned, distinctive, vibrant and welcoming centre for the arts, heritage, learning and entertainment. A potential new Museum of London and a new Centre for Music are key parts of the vision for the Cultural Hub and will help to redefine this area of the City well in to the future and reinforce the City’s central role in the cultural life of the country.  Panel Member Biographies

Alex Beard CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House

(Member, Architecture Panel)

Alex has been Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House since 2013, and is a board member of 14-18 NOW (chair of finance and operations committee), High House Production Park (chair), and the West End Partnership.

He previously spent 19 years at the Tate, latterly as Deputy Director, working closely with Sir Nicholas Serota in the creation of Tate Modern, the capital development programme for Tate Modern, Tate Britain and Tate St Ives and the launch of The Tanks at Tate Modern in summer 2012.

He was appointed a CBE for his services to the arts in 2012, and a Fellow of Kings College London in 2016.

Professor Ricky Burdett CBE, Professor of Urban Studies and Director, LSE Cities

(Member, Architecture Panel)Ricky Burdett is a Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics where he runs LSE Cities and the Urban Age programme. He is a Council member of the Royal College of Art, was Director of the Venice International Architecture Biennale and Curator of the Global Cities Exhibition at Tate Modern in London. He was a member of the UK Government Airport Commission and has advised the Mayor of London, the London Olympics Delivery Agency, the BBC, the Royal Opera House, the British Library, the Great Ormond Street Hospital as well as private and public agencies in the US, Latin America and Europe.

Karin Gartzke, Arts Management Consultant

(Chair, Theatre Consultant Panel)

During her 35 year career in theatre Karin worked for the Ambassador Theatre Group as Business Development Director overseeing UK regional and international theatre acquisitions. She project managed many of the company’s major theatre developments. She was also Chief Executive of Richmond Theatre, Deputy Director of Performing Arts at the South Bank Centre, Deputy Drama Director, Arts Council of England and administrator of several touring companies. She served on the board of UK Theatre and has undertaken consultancies for Arts Council England, Dance UK, the Young Vic and Cheek by Jowl as well as for the government in Abu Dhabi.

Eva Jiricna CBE RA RDI, RIBA, Founder, Eva Jiricna Architects

(Member, Architecture Panel)Eva Jiricna has lived and worked in London for nearly 50 years, establishing herself on the architectural scene working on ground breaking projects (Lloyds Headquarters, Brighton Marina) before forming her practice in 1985, the studio moving to the forefront of innovation with highly crafted, detailed designs. Her inspirational work and dedication to the profession resulted in a plethora of awards and honours in the UK, Czech Republic and elsewhere, garnering Doctorates and Professorships from multiple institutions. Eva has a deep commitment to architectural education and long standing relationship with the AA (President of Council). She frequently participates on architectural juries and lectures internationally on her work.

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican

(Chair, Architecture Panel)Sir Nicholas Kenyon has been Managing Director of the Barbican Centre since 2007. He was Controller, BBC Radio 3 1992-8, and Director of the BBC Proms from 1996 to 2007.He was a music critic for The New Yorker, The Times and Observer, and editor of Early Music 1983-92. He was appointed Controller, BBC Radio 3 in 1992, and was responsible for the award-winning seasons Fairest Isle and Sounding the Century. He oversaw the BBC’s programming for the Millennium, and then ran the BBC’s Live Events and TV Classical Music departments, including the Queen’s Jubilee Concerts of 2002.He has lectured widely and published books on Bach, Mozart, Simon Rattle, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and early music. Most recently he has edited The City of London: a Companion Guide. He has been a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College Oxford, and is an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College Oxford. He is a member of Arts Council England. He was knighted in the 2008 New Year Honours, and in 2011 received the British Academy President’s medal for outstanding service to the arts and humanities. He is married with four children and lives in London.

Rob Manning BSc (Hons) CEng FCIBSE(Chair, Building Services Engineer Panel)Rob Manning is a building services engineer experienced in design of the systems that influence the quality of the internal environment.From working with design and construction companies he has a broad knowledge of the design, setting to work and operation of buildings.He was elected President of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers in 2010.Since 2012 he has been a member of the UK Government BIM Task Group in support of the Building Information Modelling and Government Soft Landings policies and was the first chair of the Construction Industry Council BIM Forum.

Kathryn McDowell CBE, Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra

(Chair, Acoustician Panel / Member, Architecture Panel)

Kathryn McDowell joined the London Symphony Orchestra as Managing Director in 2005. She was brought up in Northern Ireland and read Music at Edinburgh University. After a post-graduate course in teacher training, she spent a year in Vienna working with political refugees.

In the mid-eighties Kathryn became one of the first education and community managers with orchestras, creating an extensive programme with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and leading the ABO’s first national education project. She also worked with Welsh National Opera and the Ulster Orchestra, before becoming Music Director of the Arts Council of England in the nineties, and later directing the City of London Festival.

She led the bid for the creation of the Wales Millennium Centre, working with the design team, developing the cultural vision and programming and the Business Plan for the operation, as well as the Cost Plan for the capital programme.

Kathryn is Chair of the Association of British Orchestras, and a member of the St. Paul’s Cathedral Council. She was Chair of the ABO’s Sustainable Touring Review (2010); Chair of the Family Friendly Arts Campaign (2011-2015); and a Governor of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (2007-2016). She holds honorary awards from Trinity College, the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London in 2009, and awarded a CBE in the 2011 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Deputy Alastair Moss, Member, City of London Corporation (Member, Architecture Panel)  Deputy Alastair Moss is a member of the City of London Corporation.

Lucy Musgrave, Director, Publica (Member, Architecture Panel)

Lucy Musgrave is the founding Director of Publica and a leading practitioner in the fields of urbanism and the public realm.Over a 25 year career, Lucy has played a key advisory role in policy recommendations, strategic planning and urban design frameworks, and in the advocacy of design quality. She is a current member of the West End Partnership Place Task Group, National Infrastructure Commission Expert Advisory Group, HS2 Design Panel, New London Sounding Board, City Property Association Board and the Cultural Hub Advisory Board for the City of London. Lucy is regularly invited to sit on the jury for design competitions, most recently the Museum of London West Smithfield International Design Competition and the Illuminated River International Design Competition. Lucy has also contributed to two West End Partnership Task Groups and served on the panel for the Farrell Review of Architecture and the Built Environment in 2014. Lucy was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2001.

Sir Simon Rattle, Music Director Designate, London Symphony Orchestra(Member, Architecture Panel)Sir Simon Rattle was born in Liverpool and studied at the Royal Academy of Music. He becomes Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra in September 2017, and announced an ambitious artistic vision for the Orchestra earlier this year. In 1980 at the age of 25 he became Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser (later Music Director) of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Under his leadership the orchestra gained a reputation as one of the finest in the world, and he was instrumental in the creation of its new home, Birmingham Symphony Hall, which opened in 1991 and is considered to be among the world’s best concert halls. In 2002 he became Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and steps down from that role in 2018.

Lynne Williams, Principal, Guildhall School of Music & Drama(Member, Architecture Panel)Lynne Williams joined the Guildhall School as Principal in January 2017.In a career spanning over 40 years, Lynne Williams has developed a significant breadth of arts practice, pedagogy and cultural entrepreneurship across not-for profit, government and commercial sectors. Most recently, Williams was the CEO of Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), where she led transformative change including a reinvigorated teaching and learning environment, self-accrediting authority for the institution and international creative industry and education partnerships. The construction of the NIDA Graduate School, recently opened by the Australian Prime Minister, and the launch of a new suite of Master of Fine Arts Courses, were the realisation of her vision for an international centre to drive future-focussed performance practice, training and research.Prior to NIDA, Lynne held many arts and cultural leadership positions in the UK. She led the development of the Culture, Ceremonies and Education Programme for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), following her contribution to London 2012’s successful Olympic Bid as a Cultural Advisor/Creative Producer. Lynne was also Artistic Director of Cardiff 2008, the company bidding for Cardiff to be 2008 European Capital of Culture. She was responsible for developing a new cultural strategy and leading a team in a bid on behalf of Wales.Her experience in performing arts began in Australia where she studied and performed as a professional singer specialising in contemporary music and music theatre. She has a deep commitment to arts education and increased public access and has developed and promoted work across the full spectrum of the arts. She served on the Arts Council England Touring Panel and advised on a number of national audience development initiatives. She was also an Arts Council England advisor for contemporary music, opera, theatre and dance. She has served as a chair, a board and committee member of a variety of arts companies in both the UK and Australia including Arts and Kids, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and Performing Lines (Australia).

Graham Watts, OBE, CEO of the Construction Industry Council (Chair, Civil & Structural Engineer Panel)

Graham Watts has been CEO of the Construction Industry Council, since 1991; and is a director of several not-for-profit construction organisations such as the Considerate Constructors Scheme and Constructionarium. He is an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA, CIBSE, CICES, CABE, ICWCI, BIID and an Honorary Member of the RICS and CIAT.He is also a leading dance critic, writing for magazines, websites, theatres and festivals across Europe, and in Japan, Australia and the USA. He is chairman of the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle and of the National Dance Awards. Graham is a Commonwealth fencing medallist; was captain of the GB sabre team at the Barcelona Olympics; and fencing team leader at the Olympic Games of Athens and Beijing. He was appointed OBE, in 2008.