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New York Architects Chosen for Major New London Concert Hall


The Center for Music will be built on the current site of the Museum of London, near the Barbican Center.

Rex Features, via Associated Press

LONDON — The high-profile American architectural practice Diller Scofidio & Renfro has been chosen to design the Center for Music, a future home for the London Symphony Orchestra and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It will be the first major project in Britain for the practice, which has been responsible for the High Line in New York, the Broad Museum in Los Angeles and Zaryadye Park in Moscow, among other projects, and is working on the renovation of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the design of The Shed, a new arts center in Lower Manhattan.

The New York-based practice, founded in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, was on a shortlist that also included Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Frank Gehry and the Norwegian studio Snohetta.

In a statement, the architect selection panel for the project said 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.”

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.

. In a statement, Ms. Diller said that the practice aspired “to make a hub where people want to spend their time, with or without a ticket.”

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