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21 Jan 2019

Diller Scofidio + Renfro unveil designs for "once in a generation" Centre for Music

New York-based architecture practice Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) have released the first concept designs for the long-anticipated London Centre for Music.

Set to become the newest addition to London's Culture Mile – an array of institutes and landmarks situated around St. Paul's Cathedral – the Centre for Music will feature a 2000-person capacity, surround-seating concert hall designed by Nagata Acoustics; a multi-tiered foyer with extensive public galleries and event spaces; and the Coda, an intimate, top-floor performance venue offering views of St. Paul's and the City of London skyline.

The property will also include an outdoor amphitheatre and entryway, commercial units, and a restaurant.

As the focal point for the Culture Mile, the building is expected to refresh and 'open-up' the southern tip of the Barbican complex, a space DS+R's founding partner, Elizabeth Diller admitted was a "casualty of mid-century planning".

According to the architects, the design for the structure is inspired by the many-hued layers of natural geological formations.

Once complete, the Centre for Music will be managed by the Barbican and will serve both as the home of the London Symphony Orchestra and as the base for the Guildhall School of Music & Drama's Institute for Social Impact.

Funding for the £288m (US$370.5, €326.1m) project is still being sourced; The City of London Corporation (CLC), however, has recently provided £2.49m to back the first design phase.

Remarking on the significance of the Centre for Music, Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the CLC, said it was a "real statement of confidence in London".

In a video description of the scheme, Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director at the Barbican, called it a "one in a generation opportunity to really transform access to and engagement in great music".

The next stage of work on the development is estimated to conclude by the end of the year.

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