REVEALED: design teams shortlisted for renewal of Barbican Centre

 A shortlist of five world-class, international design teams bidding to deliver a major renewal of the Barbican Centre is announced today by the City of London Corporation.

 The Barbican Centre, a leading global arts and learning institution, is one of London’s most ambitious architectural achievements and an icon of brutalism.

 The Barbican Renewal project, first announced in February last year, will preserve and respect the complex’s original architectural vision, while adapting it to respond to the creative opportunities and challenges of today.  This will include upgrading venues, bringing underused spaces back to life, and improving the welcome, wayfinding and digital technology at the site, reflecting the energy of London’s many communities and the Barbican Centre’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

 The five shortlisted teams will propose design options for the project, which would be deliverable within a construction cost budget of £50m to £150m. The budget for the project is subject to approval by the City Corporation, and the successful design team will be asked to develop a range of options that would be deliverable at different budget levels.

 The shortlisted teams are:

•         Adjaye Associates, Benedetti Architects and PUP Architects 
            alongside Charcoalblue, David Bonnett, DP9, Nigel Dunnett, OneDotZero, Peter Stewart, The Place Bureau, Transsolar, WSP. 

•         Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan Studio 
             alongside Alan Baxter Ltd, Buro Happold, Charcoalblue, Hood Design Studio, Isaac Julien Studio, les éclaireurs. 

•        BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Avanti Architects, and POoR Collective 
           alongside Applied, Atelier Ten, Barker Langham, Buro Happold, Charcoalblue, People Friendly Design, Speirs + Major. 

•        Diller Scofidio + Renfro, McCloy + Muchemwa, and Purcell 
           alongside Buro Happold, Charcoalblue, David Bonnett, GROSS. MAX., L’Observatoire, Nagata Acoustics, Nigel Dunnett,  North        Design, Patrick Burnham OBE, The Young Foundation, Transsolar

•         FCBStudios (Feilden Clegg Bradley), Bureau de Change, Schulze+Grassov, and Thinc 
            alongside AKT II, James Hitchmough, JWE, Max Fordham, Momentum, Nigel Dunnett, Ramboll. 

The shortlist is drawn from an impressive pool of high calibre submissions from talented UK and international design led teams. Bids that combined emerging and established practices were especially encouraged as part of an open and inclusive selection process.

The Barbican Renewal Project will also tackle a critical need to make major improvements to the building’s environmental performance. Under its Climate Action Strategy, the City Corporation commits to achieving net zero carbon status for its own operations by 2027 and its investment and supply chain by 2040.

 Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh, said:

 “The Barbican is a much-loved global icon. This project will harness the visionary ambition of the City of London Corporation forty years ago, which chose to build the Centre, and make the venue ready for another four decades, continuing and amplifying the brilliant artistic achievements since then.

 “Crucially, this project will strengthen the Barbican’s ability to play a leading role in the recovery of the City and the capital from the pandemic.

“We are delighted at the response we received from design teams, and the five shortlisted consortia combine the creative talents of some really impressive established and emerging architectural practices.

 “We’re looking forward to hearing their plans for how they can work with us to deliver this exciting scheme.”

 An honorarium of £20,000 will be provided to each of the five teams, with the final appointment made in April 2022.

 Each year, over a million people attend Barbican Centre events performed by hundreds of artists from across the globe. Under its Artistic Director, Will Gompertz, the Barbican is rolling out a new Creative Vision which will be the driving force for a more inclusive, diverse, and accessible arts and education centre, where everyone feels welcome. The arts centre is also recruiting a CEO – a brand new position for the organisation.

 The Barbican Centre is a key part of Culture Mile, the City of London’s cultural district, stretching from Farringdon to Moorgate. Led by the City of London Corporation, with the Barbican Centre, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London, the five partners are together creating a vibrant, creative area in the north-west corner of the Square Mile.

 The City of London Corporation, which is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £130m every year.

 Further information about the project and the brief can be found here.

Notes to editors

Imagery and assets are available via this link.

Media enquiries, please contact: Alison Langley, City of London Corporation media team: +44 7599 101463  alison.langley@cityoflondon.org.uk


 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


 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 a 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, public spaces, a library, the 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 BlueCheek 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.

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 About Adjaye Associates

Since establishing Adjaye Associates in 2000, Sir David Adjaye OBE has crafted a global team that is multicultural and stimulated by the broadest possible cultural discourse. The firm has offices in Accra, London, and New York with work spanning the globe. The practice’s most well-known commission to date, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened in 2016 on the National Mall in Washington DC. The firm has received widespread recognition for its contributions to architecture. Adjaye was announced the winner of the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal, considered one of the highest honours in British architecture for significant contributions to the field internationally.

 About Benedetti Architects

Benedetti Architects was formed by Renato Benedetti in 2016 to refresh and continue the previous 20 years of award-winning success as McDowell+Benedetti Architects. Benedetti Architects have broad expertise of innovation in the adaptive re-use of Listed cultural buildings as architects & interior designers, such as their recently completed £33m expansion & re-design of BAFTA’s Listed headquarters on Piccadilly.  The project is a highly successful mixture of heritage sensitivity within a boldly innovative approach.  It enhances BAFTA’s international identity as an inclusive centre of excellence for motion picture arts and games; integrating state-of-the-art technology in theatre/cinema design and flexible multi-use event spaces, with doubled capacity and cost-in-use efficiency; while sensitively balancing members’ needs with public access and revenue generation, ensuring the charity’s long-term social, environmental and financial sustainability.

 About PUP Architects

Pup is an award-winning architecture and design studio specialising in public facing projects that are unique, materially driven and environmentally conscious.  Our practice’s work has recently won the NLA Mayor’s Prize 2020, awarded for an outstanding approach to the circular economy; the Architects’ Journal’s Retrofit Award for Cultural Projects 2021 and qualified as a Civic Trust Award Finalist in 2020. Pup was selected for the recent Architects’ Journal’s 40 Under 40, a prestigious list of the UK’s most promising architecture practices.

About Allies and Morrison

Allies and Morrison is a practice of architects and urbanists based in London and Cambridge. We design beautiful buildings that have long life and can adapt over the generations. We also shape enduring places whether new pieces of city or settlements at any scale. All our projects are concerned with the crafting of every detail and the appreciation for the uniqueness of each context.

 About Asif Khan

Asif Khan Studio, established in 2007, design buildings and experiences which offer new ways of thinking about the world and one another. We take innovative approaches with technology, matter, nature, and human sensibility to reimagine the way we can all experience and shape our environment. Working internationally, projects range from cultural buildings and landscapes to exhibitions and installations. 

About BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group

BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group is a Copenhagen, New York, London, Barcelona, and Shenzhen-based group of architects, designers, urbanists, landscape professionals, interior and product designers, researchers and inventors. Led by Bjarke Ingels, the studio is currently involved in projects throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. BIG’s architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes. BIG believes that by hitting the fertile overlap between pragmatic and utopia, architects can find the freedom to change the surface of our planet, to better fit contemporary life forms.

 About Avanti Architects

Avanti Architects is an award-winning practice with an open and progressive design approach committed to creating socially sustainable and joyful buildings, places and spaces. Formed in 1981 and owned by 6 directors, the practice has an extensive public and private sector portfolio with work in the education, culture, heritage, health, residential & mixed use sectors. Winner of over 70 design awards, the practice was shortlisted in 2018 for Building Design Education Architect of the Year and in 2017 for the AJ100 Sustainable practice of the Year. The practice has also been the recipient of the Crown Conservation Award for the work on the Grade I listed Isokon apartment and gallery building. Over the past 40 years, the practice has established a strong reputation for bringing flair and rigour to projects that blend new buildings and interventions into existing historic fabric on constrained and complex sites. To date, the practice has worked on over 150 listed buildings delivering a combination of design and heritage services.

 About POoR Collective

POoR (Power Out of Restriction) collective is a social enterprise that focuses on the development of communities through the elevation of young people. POoR sees the power of the younger generation and seeks to get young voices heard. 

About Diller Scofido + Renfro

Founded in 1981, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is an interdisciplinary design studio based in New York. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. DS+R completed two of the largest architecture and planning initiatives in New York City’s recent history: the High Line and the transformation of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The studio also completed the 35-acre Zaryadye Park, adjacent to the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral and Red Square in Moscow and is currently working on major public space projects in Madrid and Milan. DS+R’s work with global cultural institutions expands access to the arts with projects like the Broad contemporary art museum in Los Angeles, and the V&A Storehouse, under construction in London. DS+R also completed two projects that have reshaped New York’s cultural landscape: the surgical renovation and expansion of MoMA and The Shed, a start-up multi-arts institution originally conceived by DS+R.

 About McCloy + Muchemwa

Steve McCloy and Bongani Muchemwa co-founded their design studio in 2017, while simultaneously working on public and heritage buildings at major architectural practices. The practice has since gone on to win several design competitions for public realm installations, and has received early recognition in the Architects’ Journal ‘40 Under 40’

 McCloy + Muchemwa describes its approach as founded on a love of the artistic process, with a commitment to making affordable, understandable and evocative work. Believing that spatial and ergonomic conditions can be transformed by deceptively simple interventions, it uses a critical approach, bold form and colour to create playful, experimental public space.  The practice draws on lessons from its installations and small projects for larger work re-imagining buildings, institutions and public spaces. The practice also tests ideas drawn from Muchemwa’s teaching at the University of Westminster and Bartlett School of Architecture and McCloy’s work as a research author.

 About Purcell

Purcell are an award-winning international practice of Architects, Masterplanners & Heritage Consultants, ranked in the Top 20 in Architects Journal Top 100 list of largest UK registered practices. We recently entered the World Architecture 100 list at an impressive 83. Founded in 1947, we are the largest UK practice working in the field of historic buildings, with a strong track record in delivering sensitive, award-winning creative design, conservation and refurbishment projects to historic places, listed buildings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Purcell provides a full architectural service, as Architect, Executive Architect and Lead Consultant. We undertake project work from inception through development of the brief, concept design, detailed design, preparation of production information, contract administration and inspection of work on site. Whether we’re breathing new life into a historic place or building for the future, creative vision, technical expertise, and embedded sustainability are hallmarks of our approach.

About FCBStudios

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios [FCBStudios] have experience in designing for education, housing, masterplanning and urban design as well as places for art and the creative reuse of historic buildings.

The practice started small 40 years ago and has grown to over 200 staff. Committed to social and humanistic values in their work, FCBStudios are proud to have won the RIBA Stirling Prize for Accordia, a scheme which is widely regarded as setting a new benchmark for housing in the UK and to have recently collected RIBA National Awards for the restoration and renovation of Southbank Centre’s brutalist buildings and Alexandra Palace’s East Wing and Victorian Theatre. We believe excellence in design can facilitate change, improvement and transformation in society.

 With a strong track record the practice are well placed to face the challenges of the future: growing & fractured cities; climate change; massive shifts in the delivery of education; increased localism; embracing the pace of technological change. The face of architecture is changing and FCBStudios continue to pioneer imaginative, sustainable and inclusive ways to create exceptional buildings.

 About Bureau de Change

Bureau de Change is an award winning architecture practice founded by architects Katerina Dionysopoulou and Billy Mavropoulos. Its work is a direct product of the founders' upbringing, passions and experiences - combining the pragmatism and formality of their architectural training with a desire to bring a sense of theatre, playfulness and innovation to the design of spaces, products and environments. The result is a studio where rigorous thinking and analysis are brought to life through prototyping, testing and making.

 About Schulze+Grassov

Schulze+Grassov is a multi-skilled urban design studio based in Copenhagen and operating worldwide. We specialise in urban design projects that strengthen communities and enhance the experience of public space. Led by architects Oliver Schulze and Louise Grassov, our practice was founded with the aim of facilitating a new blueprint for urban life. Our team is a diverse mix of designers, architects, researchers, and landscape architects—united by a shared desire to shape the cities of the future.

 About Thinc

Thinc is an exhibition and experience design firm serving clients across Europe, North America and around the globe in Asia, Africa, the Middle East. Founded in 1992 by Tom Hennes, as an extension of his theatrical design practice, today we are a multicultural team of 30 talented individuals who are expert in a broad range of fields: from 3D and graphic design to interpretive planning and storytelling; from architecture and project management, to media production and technology. 


Whether imagining experiences and spaces for a cultural centre, a government building or a world-famous museum, we start each project by getting to know the people, the place and the purpose. We specialise in meaning making with users, through storytelling and placemaking. Wayfinding is key to our work, not only through imaginative signage, but more powerfully through reinforcing a sense of a place through story.


The art of storytelling is the heart of all Thinc’s work as experience designers. How the stories are crafted and told, the voice of the tellers, and the cultural forms of the story vary enormously from project to project. Whether working with under-represented communities, farmers tackling climate change, survivors of a terrorist attack, or minority artists, we focus on helping people connect through story. We believe that story, in its many forms, is the medium that helps people envision positive change in their own lives and the lives of their communities.


By creating imaginative, inspiring and immersive spaces that tell compelling stories, we enable meaningful relationships between spaces and the people who use them. We are particularly interested in sparking transformative experiences—ones that fundamentally alter the way people think about the world, about themselves, and about each other.