World’s best architects and designers asked to renew Barbican Centre
The City of London Corporation has today launched its search for a design team to develop and deliver plans for a major renewal of the Barbican Centre.
The Barbican Renewal project, first announced in February, puts culture front-and-centre of the City’s recovery from the pandemic.
The Barbican is one of London’s most ambitious and unique architectural achievements; it is a global icon of brutalist architecture, renowned for its scale of ambition and consistency of design.
Opened by HM The Queen in 1982, the Barbican is approaching its 40th birthday, and there is the opportunity to mark this milestone with a vision that enables the building to meet the needs of 21st century artists, audiences and communities.
Applications are invited from multi-disciplinary teams who have the skills, experience and ambition to deliver a complex and detailed project whilst respecting its Grade-II listing status.
The City Corporation - the founder and principal funder of the Barbican – is seeking submissions from practices working together: architects, engineers, sustainability and heritage consultants and others, who can embed equality, diversity and inclusion into their creative vision.
The initial brief allows for the Barbican Centre to be considered in its entirety – from upgrading venues and transforming underused areas into new flexible spaces, to improving the welcome, navigating and wayfinding. Embedding digital technology across the building to enable the Barbican to connect with a global audience is also a major focus.
The 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.
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 for the project that would be deliverable at different budget levels.
For the purpose of the design team selection process, interested bidders are being asked to propose a number of design options that would be deliverable within a construction cost budget of £50m to £150m.
Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh, said:
“Since its opening almost four decades ago, the Barbican has become a much-loved, internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary venue for world-class arts, creative learning and community work.
“We have welcomed millions of visitors and thousands of artists, all of whom have come together to share extraordinary experiences in a unique environment.
“The Barbican project has been a huge success, but there have been dramatic changes in arts practice over the last forty years, as well as the way in which civic buildings cater to their visitors and make themselves sustainable for the future.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the world’s best architects and designers to bring together imaginative and ambitious teams to renew this iconic arts centre, adapting it to respond to the creative opportunities and urgent challenges of today’s world and ensuring that the Barbican plays a leading role in the recovery of the City, the capital and the nation from the pandemic.”
Each year, over a million people attend Barbican events performed by hundreds of artists from across the globe.
The Barbican 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, 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.
Interested teams should submit an initial selection questionnaire by 21 October 2021. Collaborative bids from design consortiums, particularly those that include emerging practices and widen representation within the project team, are actively encouraged. In addition, previous experience sections of the selection criteria are open to bidders who can demonstrate transferable skills that show their ability to meet the requirements of the brief.
The full brief and more details can be downloaded here.
Notes to editors
ABOUT THE CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION
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
MORE INFORMATION ON THE COMPETITION
An open two-stage selection process is being run by the City Corporation - with up to five teams being shortlisted and invited to submit more details of their approach before an appointment is made.
The winning team will work with the City Corporation, the Barbican Centre and its stakeholders on the scheme.
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 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 Blue, Cheek 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.
THE BARBICAN IN STATS
The arts centre building comprises:
• the Barbican Hall (1,943 seat concert hall)
• the Barbican Theatre (1,156 seat theatre)
• The Pit (164 seat studio theatre)
• Cinemas 1 (280 seat), 2 (153 seat) and 3 (153 seat)
• Barbican Art Gallery, and a second gallery The Curve
• public spaces
• a library
• the Lakeside Terrace
• a tropical glasshouse conservatory
• event and conference facilities, including the Barbican Exhibition Halls on Beech Street
• three restaurants
• car parks