A tall twisting tower is set to rise on the site of the Museum of London, as the new home for a large concert hall.
The Museum of London is in the process of moving down the road to Farringdon, leaving its old site vacant, and although part of the argument for the move was the poor current site for a cultural venue, it was quickly snapped up for a concert hall.
The first indications of what will rise on the site have now been released by the architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who have a vision of a timber and glass twisting pyramidic tower. The tower will house a 2,000 seat concert hall, with smaller spaces as the site rises, and the ever-necessary “bar with a view” at the very top.
The aim should see the current roundabout pedestrianised, making access more visible, and will tie in with the highwalk to the Barbican.
The ground foyer would then lead up to the series of spaces above through open plan floors.
The choice of wood as the primary material also marks the building out in striking contrast to the Barbican and the SouthBank with their use of brutalist concrete.
The various organisations supporting the bid will spend the rest of the year on their plans. They’re in no hurry as nothing can be done until the Museum of London vacates the site, which is not expected until the mid 2020s.
If built, then the Centre for Music would be run by the Barbican, and would be the home of the London Symphony Orchestra and the base for the Guildhall School of Music & Drama’s new Institute for Social Impact.
Alongside making a site available in principle for the Centre for Music, the City of London Corporation provided £2.5 million in funding for the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama to complete a detailed business case for the project, which was submitted in December 2018.
This has been followed by a further £2.49 million to deliver the next stage of the project’s development throughout 2019.
The final bill for the new concert hall is expected to come in at around £288 million.
The site is also giving over a large portion of the building to commercial occupiers, as the long-term aim is for the building to run without ongoing public subsidy.
Even accepting that it’s only a render, it’s impossible to believe that the concert hall space would end up as shown — simply because they’re encouraging people to sit on the very edge of steep drops with no protection.
A few glasses of wine followed by a standing ovation could decimate London’s cultural elite.