International shortlist revealed for architects to design landmark Centre for Music in London

The Centre for Music project has today announced the architects shortlisted to compete to develop a concept design for a new Centre for Music in the City of London.

In May, 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, launched an open selection process to shortlist companies for this role, seeking applications from internationally-recognised experts to develop plans for a state-of-the-art building of acoustic and visual excellence.

The project received applications from companies from across the globe and, following assessment of applications against the published criteria, the architects receiving an Invitation to Tender (ITT) for the contract will be:

Further information about the shortlisted companies is available in the Notes to Editors.

View/download images from the shortlisted companies here.

The Centre for Music is planned to contain a world-class concert hall, education, training and digital spaces, excellent facilities for audiences and performers, and significant supporting commercial areas. 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 arts venues and its emerging cultural hub, 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.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:

“It is hugely encouraging that so many leading architects from around the world have responded enthusiastically to the challenge to develop a concept design for the Centre for Music. For them, it represents an exceptional opportunity to help realise the plans for this truly remarkable concert hall – outstanding in design and open to all - in the heart of the Square Mile. For the key partners behind this project and the City of London Corporation, this important announcement brings everyone a step closer towards one of the most widely anticipated and significant developments in the Square Mile’s vibrant cultural hub.”

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director, Barbican; Kathryn McDowell CBE, Managing Director, London Symphony Orchestra and Lynne Williams, Principal, Guildhall School of Music & Drama said:

“We are delighted with the calibre and expertise of the companies who responded to this opportunity to design a world class new Centre for Music in London and the strength of this international shortlist really demonstrates the excitement around this potentially transformative cultural project. We look forward to the next stage of the appointment process as we look to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a landmark new building that inspires current and future generations through the power and excitement of live music.”

The ITT that the shortlisted architects receive will request a detailed response to the design brief, the company’s approach to delivering the project, details of the team that would work on the project and a fee proposal.

Shortlisted bids will then be assessed and scored based on their tender submission and, following a detailed interview process with the assessment panel, an appointment decision will be made.

In addition to the architect shortlist, the partners are also pleased to announce the shortlisted firms for both the Civil and Structural Engineer contract and the Building Services Engineer contract, these are:

Civil and Structural Engineer

  • Aecom
  • AKT
  • Arup
  • BuroHappold
  • Ramboll

Building Services Engineer

  • Aecom
  • Arup
  • BuroHappold
  • Hoare Lea
  • Max Fordham

Further information about the engineering companies shortlisted for the project is available on request.

For the Acoustician and Theatre Consultant roles, there is no Selection Questionnaire process and an Invitation To Tender was made available to any Acousticians and Theatre Consultants interested in bidding for the contract. These are in the process of being assessed and the appointed companies will be announced over the coming months.

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 the shortlisted architects:

AL_A (UK) and Diamond Schmitt Architects (Canada)

AL_A and Diamond Schmitt Architects have established global reputations for works of design significance. They have also established reputations for effective collaboration with allied professionals, believing that all of us together are better than each of us alone.

AL_A is an award-winning architecture and design studio, with work including the V&A Exhibition Road Quarter in London, MAAT in Lisbon, and Central Embassy in Bangkok.

BD journal in the UK and BD+C Journal in the USA have ranked Diamond Schmitt among the ten best practices globally in the cultural sector. Among the firm’s notable projects are the Foreign Ministry, Jerusalem; the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg; and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro (USA) and Sheppard Robson (UK)

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is an interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts. The studio was founded in 1981 with independent installations and performances, and grew to include urban, cultural, and civic commissions, such as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the High Line. Today, the studio’s work includes The Broad Museum, Los Angeles; The Juilliard School Tianjin; the Museum of Image & Sound, Rio de Janeiro; The Shed and the MoMA expansion, both in New York; as well as art installations for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Palais de Tokyo.

Foster + Partners (UK)

Foster + Partners is a global studio for architecture, urbanism and design, rooted in sustainability and founded in 1967 by Norman Foster. Since then the practice has established an international reputation for thoughtful and pioneering design, working as a single studio that is both ethnically and culturally diverse. The studio integrates the skills of architecture with engineering, urbanism, interior and industrial design, and many more. These diverse skills make the studio capable of tackling a wide range of projects, particularly those of considerable complexity and scale. Design remains at the core of everything the company does.

Gehry Partners, LLP (USA) and Arup Associates (UK)

Gehry Partners, LLP is a full-service architectural firm with extensive international experience in the design and construction of academic, cultural, commercial, and master-planning projects. Every project undertaken by GP is designed personally by Frank Gehry and supported by the broad resources of the firm’s senior partners and the 130 person staff. The firm focuses on the functional and aspirational needs of its clients, resulting in on-time and on-budget projects that fulfil the client’s goals.

Arup Associates was set up in 1963 to develop Ove Arup’s vision of ‘Total Architecture’ – a holistic vision where authorship is shared across disciplines.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop (France)

Renzo Piano Building Workshop is an international architectural practice with offices in Paris, Genoa and New York. It is led by 11 partners, including Renzo Piano, and permanently employs nearly 140 people. Since its formation in 1981, RPBW has successfully undertaken and completed about 130 projects all over the world, including The Shard in London. The RPBW method is a collective way of thinking and working consolidated over 35 years. The quality of RPBW’s work has been recognized by over 70 design awards, including major awards from the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Snøhetta (Norway)

Founded in 1989, Snøhetta’s first commission was the reimagining of the great Alexandria Library in Egypt. It was followed by the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, another international competition whose completion also received numerous prestigious international awards. Since 1989, Snøhetta has established itself as a world famous practice of urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture and brand design.

Snøhetta began as a collaborative architectural and landscape work­shop, and has remained true to its trans-disciplinary way of thinking since its inception. Snøhetta has received numerous awards for its work, such as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Mies van der Rohe Award, The World Architecture Award and the European Prize for Urban Public Space.

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 will be:

· 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 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 75% of all funding self-generated. Sir Simon Rattle becomes the LSO’s Music Director in September 2017. An ambitious artistic vision, with access to great music for everyone at its heart, was announced in January 2017.

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.

About the Cultural Hub

The City of London Corporation has a long history as a leading investor in the arts including the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and Museum of London in the Square Mile. Together they are working to transform the area from Farringdon to Moorgate and the evolving Cultural Hub to create an unparalleled destination that is an internationally renowned, distinctive, vibrant and welcoming centre for the arts, heritage, learning and entertainment. A potential new Museum of London and a new Centre for Music are key parts of the vision for the Cultural Hub and will help to redefine this area of the City well in to the future and reinforce the City’s central role in the cultural life of the country.