Centre for Music

The vision for the Centre for Music is to develop a world-class venue for performance and education across all musical genres.

Harnessing the power of three internationally recognised cultural organisations - the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama - to inspire a new generation with a love of music.

The Centre's concept designs include a world-class concert hall and superb spaces for rehearsal, performance and education. It aims, above all, be a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to experience the joy of making-music first hand.

The Culture Mile network
Centre for Music performance and events space

The building

The concept designs, developed by lead architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, demonstrate the potential to deliver this landmark new building on the current Museum of London site.

The City of London Corporation has agreed in principle to make this site available for the Centre for Music when the Museum of London fulfils its ambition to move to West Smithfield.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s concept designs aim to turn the Barbican’s inwardly focused campus inside out, creating new open, traffic-free civic space that draws the public from all directions and which hosts a mix of outdoor programmes and social spaces. This approach ensures the Centre would be a beehive of activity both day and night - creating a place where people want to spend time, even without a concert ticket.

The light-filled, multi-level foyer presents a porous entry, accessible from street level and via the Barbican’s highwalk network, while 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. Its design is tailored for exceptional symphonic sound, yet agile enough to accommodate creative work across all disciplines. Acoustically controlled pods integrated into the hall seating provide visual porosity for education work.

At the very top of the building sits The Coda, a flexible, intimate contemporary performance and events space with views to St. Paul’s and the London skyline. The Coda acts as a beacon affirming the Centre for Music’s place as a cultural destination for the city.

The site sits on a key cultural axis in the capital, linking north from Tate Modern, the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral and between two major new Elizabeth Line stations.

The realisation of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s concept designs would create an iconic new gateway to the City of London’s emerging Culture Mile, drawing visitors into an area that is set to be transformed over the next decade and beyond through new transport hubs, outdoor programming and major enhancements to streets and wider public realm that link the area’s existing and planned world-class cultural destinations.

The programme

The Centre for Music would be run by the Barbican, enabling the arts centre to significantly expand its international programme across all genres; it would be the home of the London Symphony Orchestra as the principal performing organisation; and the base for the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s new Institute for Social Impact.

The Centre also allows the three partners to build upon and significantly increase their current learning and discovery programmes, with the ambition of delivering high quality music experiences for school children and communities across London.

With digital technology fully integrated into the building’s design and infrastructure, music and education activity delivered in the Centre would be distributed to a global audience.

Concert concept

City of London corporation support

Alongside making a site available in principle for the Centre for Music, the City of London Corporation provided £2.5 million in funding for the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama to complete a detailed business case for the project, which was submitted in December 2018.

This has been followed by a further £2.49 million to deliver the next stage of the project’s development throughout 2019.