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Revealed: London's new concert hall set to cost £278m

Museum of London
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A proposal to build a new concert hall for the London Symphony Orchestra on the Museum of London site will cost £278 million to build, it has been revealed

The figure for the high-profile scheme, which would see the 1976 Powell & Moya-designed museum at the Barbican flattened and replaced by a new Centre for Music complex, has emerged following the publication of a government-backed feasibility study.  

Drawn up by Arup and Arup Associates amongst others, the document says London currently lacks a venue with ‘brilliance, immediacy, depth, richness and warmth’ and risks ‘falling behind other major cities with the proliferation of outstanding new 21st-century halls across the world’.

The report echoes the concerns aired previously by conductor Simon Rattle, who will become musical director of the London Symphony Orchestra from 2017, has previously spoken critically of the quality of London’s performance venues.

The Conservative Party manifesto for May’s General Election included a pledge to support ‘proposals to develop a modern world class concert hall for London’. It has also been revealed today (16 December) that the government has pledged £5.5 million to fund a full business case for the project.

The plans depend on the museum’s move to a new home at West Smithfield market and an agreement between the market’s current long-term tenant, Henderson, to sell its interests to the City of London. It is understood that deal is imminent.

Once concluded, wheels are expected to be set in motion for a major international design competition for the new music complex, a contest that is rumoured to be being organised by Malcolm Reading Consultants.

Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican Centre, said: ‘We’re very pleased that the Treasury and the GLA, who commissioned the feasibility study, are supporting the next phase of the project.

‘The strong commitment of the City of London Corporation, coupled with the funding provided by the government, enables us to move forward. As the study demonstrates, the Centre for Music is not just viable but could be transformative, significantly raising the profile and visibility of music and offering world-class arts and learning opportunities for all.

He added: ‘The elements are all there now to create a unique opportunity: we want to work with all our partners to shape and realise the vision in a way that can be inspirational.’ 


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