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Centre for Music

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

A new auditorium for London: Centre for Music by DS+R


"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. A vital public space seamlessly connects to the foyer and extends a welcome to everyone, with or without a performance ticket." said Liz Diller, founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in presenting the new Centre for Music in London.

The building will be home for three strategic cultural organisations of the city, The Barbican (who would run the program), London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama and will be a major landmark of the area, sitting on one of the key cultural axis of the city, linking north from Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral and between two major new Elizabeth Line stations. The project will carry the DS+R signature style, whose design is crucial in enabling the creation of a more open and welcoming public space in the area. This design team also includes Sheppard Robson, Nagata Acoustics, Charcoalblue and BuroHappold, while AECOM are the project’s cost consultant. Here, as the heart of the proposed Centre for Music, the concert hall is designed as an intimate and inclusive space for up to 2,000, in which every seat in the house is a great seat. The audience wraps all sides of the stage in a surround-seating configuration. The hall reconciles a bespoke and loose fit approach: tailored for exceptional symphonic sound, yet agile enough to accommodate creative work across disciplines, in a variety of genres.

Being the Barbican itself a stunning londoner landmark (opened in 1982, it comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, cinemas, teo art galleries, public spaces and other facilities…), the opening of a brand new auditorium with such a distinctive style and such a grandeur should be interpreted as a bold move by the City of London, that shows confidence in its future and its leader position, despite the Brexit process, which should start this very year.

The video realized by Diller Scofidio + Renfro clearly shows this attitude towards the city, which, even if it will be likely effected by the polical changes, would probably mantain its leading role in Europe and most of its cultural capital in terms of organizations and work force.
The Centre for Music, thus, will make up for the absence of a comparable auditorium in the city, meeting a needs of its inhabitants.

By including rendering, interviews with the cultural organisations and with Elizabeth Diller, the video presents today what we will be able to experience only in the future. This typology of video has already appeared in the DS+R communication strategy, demostrating how video as a medium can be a useful tool in the presentation of future spaces, most prominently if they are public ones; those above all need to be communicated to their future users.

(Story by Sara Marzullo, The Architecture Player)

Authors icon Credits

Architect: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Mentioned project: Diller Scofidio + Renfro (2019)
Project location: London, United Kingdom

USA 2019
Duration: 4'09"