The dream of building a new City of London concert hall and home for Sir Simon Rattle’s London Symphony Orchestra has taken an important step forward with the appointment of New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
The practice, founded by Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio in 1979, has an impressive list of major cultural projects to its name including the High Line park in New York, the vast 10-year project to redesign the city’s Lincoln Center and the Broad museum of contemporary art in Los Angeles.
A centre for music built from scratch in the heart of the Square Mile would be the firm’s first building in the UK.
DS+R was chosen from a shortlist of six architectural practices, all with track records in major arts buildings. They included Frank Gehry, the designer of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA and the Bilbao Guggenheim; Renzo Piano, the designer of the Pompidou Centre; and Amanda Levete, who was responsible for the recently opened V&A courtyard.
The panel choosing the architect said DS+R had “visionary ideas” and would create a building “fit for the future that offers access and engagement for all.”
Diller said: “My studio is very honoured to be chosen from this stellar group of architects and thrilled to have the chance to create an important cultural building for London, our first in the UK.
“The new building will meet the needs of artists and audiences today with a keen eye toward the future … We aspire to make a hub where people want to spend their time, with or without a ticket.”
Backers of the building, including the Barbican, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the City of London Corporation, remain hugely optimistic of getting a new concert hall despite a number of setbacks.
Many thought it was dead in the water when the government withdrew its support last November with the Treasury declaring it “not affordable”.