NY-Based Diller Architects to Design New London Concert Hall
The London Symphony Orchestra and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama has selected the New York architectural firm Diller Scofidio & Renfro to design their future home, the Center for Music. This will be Diller's first big project in Britain.
The architectural firm designed several high-profile projects, including Zaryadye Park in Moscow, the High Line in New York and the Broad Museum in Los Angeles. Diller is currently working on two New York projects: The Museum of Modern Art's renovation as well as collaborating with Rockwell Group on the design of a new arts center called The Shed to be located on Manhattan's west side.
In 1981, Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio founded the New York-based firm. Also, on the list of architects to be considered for the London project were Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, he Norwegian studio Snohetta and Renzo Piano.
The panel charged with choosing an architect for the project said in a statement that “of the six excellent submissions, Diller Scofidio & Renfro's visionary ideas offered the exciting potential to create a Center for Music fit for the future that offers access and engagement for all.”
According to The New York Times, “The Center for Music, which will include a concert hall with up to 2,000 seats, facilities for education and training, and commercial spaces, is planned for the site of the Museum of London, close to the Barbican Center, the current home of the London Symphony Orchestra. Simon Rattle, the orchestra's new music director, has championed the project, earlier this year describing the Barbican as unsuitable for about 20 percent of the repertoire he would like to cover. The Museum of London is moving to another nearby site, a set of vacant Victorian market buildings. There has been extensive debate in the British news media about the viability of a major new London concert hall, exacerbated last November when the British government drew back from a commitment to contribute 5 million pounds (about $6.5 million) to pay for a business plan. The City of London Corporation came to the rescue with £2.5 million (about $3.3 million) that allowed project to go ahead. The final cost is estimated as $2.6 to $3.3 million, to be raised through private and philanthropic donations.”
Ms. Diller released a statement saying that her firm tried “to make a hub where people want to spend their time, with or without a ticket.”
The new Center for Music will be constructed on the Museum of London’s current site. (Photo via MuseumofLondon.org)