London Centre for Music Shortlist

Sponsors: Barbican, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Process: RfQ, shortlist


The need for a new state-of-the-art venue was the result of a study, drawn up by Arup and Arup Associates among others, which said London lacked a venue with ‘brilliance, immediacy, depth, richness and warmth’ and risked ‘falling behind other major cities with the proliferation of outstanding new 21st-century halls across the world’.


The report echoed the concerns aired previously by conductor Simon Rattle, who will become musical director of the London Symphony Orchestra later this year, and has previously spoken critically of the quality of London’s performance venues. Rattle is somewhat of a musical icon in the U.K., having brought the Birmingham Symphony to international prominence during his early career. He will be coming to London after a long stay with the Berlin Philharmonic.


According to the tender notice, the winner of the commission will draw up conceptual plans for a new ‘state-of-the-art building of acoustic and visual excellence’ on the site currently occupied by Powell & Moya’s 1976 Museum of London.


The corporation resurrected the Centre for Music project in January, two months after the government dropped its support for the £278 million venue, claiming it no longer represented ‘value for money.’


The scheme aims to deliver an ‘inspiring and innovative’ venue on the 140–150 London Wall plot, which will be cleared after the present Museum of London moves to its new home in West Smithfield designed by Stanton Williams and Asif Kahn (2016 COMPETITIONS Annual, pp 168-177).


The recently released shortlist is as follows:

• AL_A / Diamond Schmitt (London/Toronto)
• Diller Scofidio + Renfro / Sheppard Robson (New York/London)
• Foster + Partners (London)
• Gehry Partners with Arap (Los Angeles / London)
• Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Paris)
• Snøhetta (Oslo/New York)