World-class design team 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 internationally acclaimed design studio 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:

(see notes to editors for further information on these companies)

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.

For more information contact:

Nick Adams, Senior 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.

The panel appointed to assess the tender responses from the shortlisted architects was:

• 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

About Diller Scofidio + Renfro

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. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. Based in New York, with a small office in London, the studio is comprised of over 100 architects, designers, artists and researchers, led by four partners—Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro and Benjamin Gilmartin. Ricardo Scofidio and Elizabeth Diller were recognized as two of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” by Time Magazine and are International Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Elizabeth Diller, who will be leading the design of the Centre for Music, is a professor at Princeton University, a visiting professor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and will lead the Grand Jury for the 2018 RIBA International Prize.About Sheppard RobsonSheppard Robson is one of the UK’s most established architectural practices, with a reputation for thoughtful and responsible designs.

The practice has considerable experience of designing in, and also for, London. The practice’s recent work in the capital, such as Fitzroy Place in the heart of Fitzrovia, carefully weaves together a number of uses whilst respecting the rich character of the site. This understanding of context is paired with a boldness and conviction in our thinking, with the drama and sensitivity of the recently opened Sammy Ofer Centre for the London Business School exemplifying this approach.

Our process is underpinned by a spirit of collaboration, whether this be internal or through constructive dialogues with clients, end-users and project teams. Forming and cultivating creative partnerships is integral to what we do.About Nagata AcousticsNagata Acoustics is one of the leading acoustical consulting firms, and among only a small number of companies in this field whose activities are known and respected worldwide. Founded in 1971 by Dr. Minoru Nagata, the company has continuously provided the most suitable and technologically advanced acoustical design services for a wide range of clients and programs. A team of experts in room acoustics, sound isolation, and other areas collaborate to give proper emphasis to every aspect of each project, from concert halls to gymnasiums, museums to recording studios.Nagata Acoustics provides comprehensive consulting to achieve the proper balance among architectural, acoustical, visual, stage, and other space requirements to satisfy our clients' goals. The firm's extensive experience and close working relationships with colleagues around the world are an invaluable advantage when solving the acoustical challenges of tomorrow's world of sound.In 2001 Yasuhisa Toyota spearheaded launching an office in Los Angeles, and in 2008 Nagata Acoustics America, Inc. was formed. Since 2001, the firm has completed a multitude of internationally acclaimed projects. With over 40 years of experience in designing some of the world’s finest performance venues, Toyota is an established international authority in the field of concert hall design.

About Charcoalblue

Charcoalblue is a world-leading performance space, acoustic and digital design consultancy. Founded in 2004, they have grown to a team of more than sixty working across five international studios in London, Bristol, Glasgow, New York and Melbourne.

As the consultants of choice for many of the world’s best-known architects, theatrical companies, orchestras and arts venues, Charcoalblue’s UK portfolio includes several theatres for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, the refurbishment of Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and new music spaces for Birmingham Conservatoire, Snape Maltings, ENO, Glyndebourne and the Royal Opera House. Their international projects include the Queen Elisabeth Concert Hall in Antwerp which is home to the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, the Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center in NY and new auditoria in Chicago for Steppenwolf Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Charcoalblue’s unique collaborative approach and relentless attention to detail has won them awards, ecstatic reviews from the music, theatrical and architectural press and, most importantly, praise from performers, technicians and audiences. They remain grounded in practice and performance, and are driven by a passion for all types of performing arts projects, big or small, new-build or refurbishment.

About BuroHappold Engineering

BuroHappold Engineering is an independent, international engineering practice that over the last 40 years has become synonymous with the delivery of creative, value led building and city solutions for an ever changing world. Having worked on every continent, its clients include more than 90% of the world's leading architectural practices and we have collaborated with global organisations such as the United Nations, The World Bank and UNESCO. Through its global community of driven, world leading engineering professionals it delivers elegant solutions for buildings and cities that seek to address the major problems facing societies today. Find out more at


AECOM is built to deliver a better world. It designs, builds, finances and operates infrastructure assets for governments, businesses and organisations in more than 150 countries. As a fully integrated firm, it connects knowledge and experience across its global network of experts to help clients solve their most complex challenges. From high-performance buildings and infrastructure, to resilient communities and environments, to stable and secure nations, its work is transformative, differentiated and vital. A Fortune 500 firm, AECOM had revenue of approximately $17.4 billion during fiscal year 2016.

AECOM have helped deliver some the world’s most iconic cultural developments and believe that creating buildings and places is all about understanding people. Recent London projects include the Tate Modern Switch House, the new Victoria and Albert Museum Courtyard and refurbishment of the National Theatre.

About Culture MileCulture Mile is a corner of London’s working capital, where creativity is fast becoming the most valuable currency. The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, are leading the animation of the whole neighbourhood with imaginative collaborations and events. Culture Mile brings commerce and culture together in a wealth of creativity. Known meets unknown. Ancient and modern collide as the streets are activated by exhibitions, gigs, pop-ups and events. So whether you’re with family, friends or flying solo, there’s something for everyone. And thanks to Crossrail’s new Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, the area is more connected than ever. Join us today where two thousand years of history collide with the world’s best culture.

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 80% of all funding self-generated.

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.