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Krier reveals Classical rival for new London concert hall

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Léon Krier, the masterplanner behind Prince Charles’ Poundbury development, has proposed housing the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in a new classical-inspired building on the edge of Regent’s Park

In November, a government-commissioned report recommended that a new concert hall for the LSO should be housed on the site of the soon-to-depart Museum of London in the Barbican.

But this week the famous Neoclassicist and urban planner unveiled his own proposals for a world-class arena in a newly-created public square in Park Crescent at the northern tip of John Nash’s north-south route that takes in Regents Street.

Writing on the Future Symphony Institute website, Krier said: ’John Nash’s laconic and elegant crescent buildings make a quiet urban backdrop for a grand architectural “cymbal stroke” to resonate around London and the musical world.’

He said that the new concert hall would match the Vienna Musikverein and Amsterdam Concertgebouw halls in size and proportions.

‘The architecture of the new forum’s buildings and paving should speak the elemental classical language with which John Nash so brilliantly set the stage in character and colour. Any required 21st century technology can be elegantly embedded in the design,’ he said.

The main entrance and foyer, he proposed, would sit on a piano nobile, and would be accessed by wide ramps and stairways through a monumental freestanding portico.

One potential obstacle to implementing the plans could be the proposal to pave across the existing Marylebone/Euston Road, a major artery through London.

But Krier insisted that the proposal would animate Park Crescent with new cafes and restaurants, and would be far preferable to the Barbican or the Southbank.

He said: ‘While the machinery of mega-project planning is already underway to impose on Londoners yet another soul-crushing, inhumane super-structure, it would be prudent to take a step back and consider just what were the mistakes of the halls we now need to replace, what should be done differently this time, and what are the priorities that follow from a broader, long-range goal of making a truly accessible and enduring home for the LSO.’

In December, it emerged that building a new concert hall on the site of the Museum of London will cost £278 million.

London Music Forum conceived and drawn by L Krier copyright 2016 plan

London Music Forum conceived and drawn by L Krier copyright 2016 plan

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • Ben Derbyshire

    Of course, one is always somehow charmed by these interventions from Leon Krier and no doubt the debate about the appropriate location and style for London's new symphony hall, or indeed the question of whether one is needed at all, will be enlivened by this contribution.

    The Future Symphony Institute incidentally provides an opportunity for scrutiny of the philosophical approach of its founder members, some of whom are active in other areas, notably Roger Scruton, who sits on Brandon Lewis's 'Design Advisory Group'.

    Here is how the Institute describes itself on Twitter:

    'A think tank, assembled from the best among us, orchestrating a renaissance for classical music. Philosophy, architecture, the sacred, Meta-Luxury & cup holders.'

    The best amongst us, indeed! The website includes essay excerpts with titles such as 'The revenge of the terroirists' by Mike Deseth and 'The myth of progress in the arts' by John Borstlap. Reading all this, I thought the world should know what it might mean for the design of housing and the regeneration of council estates, matters of moment for the Design Advisory Group. So I Tweeted the question to Brandon Lewis and Roger Scruton and I await a reply!

    Perhaps these would make interesting topics for discussion and debate in the pages of The Architects' Journal? Brandon Lewis is Minister for Architecture, after all!

    Ben Derbyshire.
    Chair, The Housing Forum
    Managing Partner, HTA Design LLP

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  • Is this some kind of joke? Ha ha!

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    Actually, I don't remember Leon K. having a sense of humour when he visited our Arch. School.
    Nevertheless (apart from where does Euston Rd go in this scheme?) it actually is a brilliant site for some public group of buildings. You could probably open up Regents Park tube station to open air as well.
    Does the Culture Media & SPort Secretary do anything these days -maybe he/she should get onto this.

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