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Listing immunity for Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s London concert hall site

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Ministers have boosted Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s much-anticipated plans for a new concert hall in London by ensuring its proposed site near the Barbican won’t be given heritage protection

Culture secretary Nicky Morgan granted the Museum of London and Bastion House – both designed by post-war British practice Powell & Moya – certificates of immunity from listing.

This means New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro has five years to gain permission to demolish the buildings and replace them with its proposed £288 million Centre for Music before any attempt can be made to list the existing structures.

Historic England assessed the Musuem of London and Bastion House and recommended that the immunity be granted as the buildings didn’t meet the bar for listing on any specific criteria. 

’Overall, the museum building falls short of the required architectural interest and is too altered to meet the criteria for listing,’ said the heritage body. 

It added: ’Bastion House appears mundane and perhaps old-fashioned in its treatment. Overall it lacks the architectural quality and innovation so clearly expressed by listed examples and should not be added to the list.’

The City of London site will be vacated when the Museum of London moves to a new Stanton Williams and Asif Khan-designed home in West Smithfield.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro landed the concert hall scheme in autumn 2017 when it was selected ahead of rival bids from practices including Amanda Levete, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Snøhetta and Renzo Piano.

The Centre for Music project is backed by the Barbican, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. 

It is understood the new scheme will feature a series of commercial spaces that will support the construction and running costs of the building, enabling it to operate without ongoing public subsidy.

Judges contest praised Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s approach as having ‘most clearly met the vision and ambition of this project’.

The jury said the firm’s proposal would ‘deliver a world-class concert hall in an outstanding new building’.

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