Diller Scofidio + Renfro reveals design for Centre for Music in London

A new concert venue in the heart of the capital has been heralded as a Tate Modern for the music world.

The Centre for Music will house performance and learning spaces for the nearby Barbican cultural centre, the London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama. 

Visuals show wood-lined concert halls placed within a gently tapering, faceted tower, which slightly twists towards its summit where a large window faces St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The project will be the first in the UK by US architecture practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which is perhaps best known for its hugely popular High Line park in its home city of New York.

The studio's plans to create a major concert venue in London will include shutting traffic off what is currently a busy roundabout adjacent to the financial hub of the City.

Newly pedtrianised areas around the base of the Centre for Music will link with the aerial walkways of the Barbican Estate. 

“We want to unlock the urban potential of the Centre for Music's site at the southern tip of the Barbican by reclaiming the roundabout for the public realm, where the car’s isolating effects are keenly felt today," says Elizabeth Diller. 

"A vital public space seamlessly connects to the foyer and extends a welcome to everyone, with or without a performance ticket," she continues. 

The bare-bones cost of the center is estimated at £288 million. 

Directors of the three cultural institues that will occupy the centre hope it will become a key component of an emerging Culture Mile – stretching from the Tate modern and its Herzog & de Mueron-designed extension on the South Bank of the River Thames, across Norman Foster's Millenium Bridge, and past St Paul's Cathdetral and two new stations on the Elizabeth Line. 

"We believe the project would have the equivalent impact on music in the capital as the opening of Tate Modern had on contemporary art almost two decades ago," they say.  

The concert hall will replace the Powell & Moya-designed Museum of London that occupies the centre of the roundabout. The museum is set for relocation to a purpose-designed venue by Stanton Williams and Asif Khan inside a group of Victorian buildings at Smithfield Market.

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