London's proposed Centre for Music moved a step closer to reality today as the shortlist of architects who have been selected to tender full proposals was revealed.
The Centre for Music project was conceived to fulfil the need for a world-class concert hall in the City of London. The Centre will provide a new home for the London Symphony Orchestra who are currently based in the Barbican. As such, the panel who will adjudicate on the proposals tendered by the architects features Sir Simon Rattle (Music Director Designate of the LSO), Kathryn McDowell (Managing Director of the LSO) and Sir Nicholas Kenyon (Managing Director of the Barbican).
The preferred site for the Centre for Music is that currently occupied by the Museum of London, which itself will relocate to a larger site at West Smithfield.
The full shortlist of architects is: AL_A (UK) and Diamond Schmitt Architects (Canada); Diller Scofidio and Renfro (USA) and Sheppard Robson (UK); Foster and Partners (UK); Gehry Partners, LLP (USA) and Arup Associates (UK); Renzo Piano Building Workshop (France) and Snøhetta (Norway).
Perhaps the two most eye-catching names are Gehry Partners and Foster and Partners. Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles quickly became one of the most iconic concert halls in the world when it was opened in 2003. And Lord Foster's buildings, including 30 St Mary Axe (the 'Gherkin'), City Hall and the Millennium Bridge, have made a huge impact on London's skyline. As indeed have Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the architects behind The Shard.
In a joint statement Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Kathryn McDowell and Lynne Williams (Principal, Guildhall School of Music & Drama) said: 'We are delighted with the calibre and expertise of the companies who responded to this opportunity to design a world class new Centre for Music in London and the strength of this international shortlist really demonstrates the excitement around this potentially transformative cultural project. We look forward to the next stage of the appointment process as we look to seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a landmark new building that inspires current and future generations through the power and excitement of live music.'