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Mon May 17 2021

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Design team sought for London's new concert hall

15 May 17 The City of London Corporation has begun procurement of a design team to develop plans for a new £278m concert hall.

Sir Simon Rattle will help to assess architects' submissions
Sir Simon Rattle will help to assess architects' submissions

The Centre for Music is planned to be a state-of-the-art world-class concert hall, incorporating education and training facilities.

The Barbican Centre, London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD), are working in partnership to develop plans, funded by the City of London Corporation.

The partners are looking to appoint a design team to work with them towards a concept design. The concept design will form part of the detailed business case to be submitted to the City of London Corporation in December 2018.

The architect/lead designer, civil and structural engineer, building services engineer, acoustic consultant and theatre consultant are all being procured independently. The initial appointment will be for concept design to support the business case for the Centre for Music with provision to instruct further RIBA design stages.

Tenders or requests to participate must be submitted via:

The proposal to create a Centre for Music was the subject of a government-funded feasibility study in 2015. This was followed by funding for business case work. George Osborne, when chancellor of the exchequer, was a firm backer of the project. However, in November 2016, with George Osborne and his prime minister Cameron replaced by Philip Hammond and Theresa May respectively, the new regime axed government funding for the project.

In January 2017 the City of London Corporation Court of Common Council voted to provide the necessary £2.5m to complete the business case.

The preferred site for the Centre for Music, which the City of London Corporation has agreed in principle to make available, is currently occupied by the Museum of London, and will become available when the Museum of London fulfils its ambition to move to a new site at West Smithfield. The current Museum of London building would be demolished with the site redeveloped for the Centre for Music.

Andrew Parmley, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “We support the ambitious plans for a Centre for Music at the heart of the City of London, one of the finest cultural hubs in the world. This vibrant area has supported creativity and innovation to flourish across every sector and helped secure London’s position as the pre-eminent financial centre. Visually striking, acoustically perfect and open to all, a new Centre for Music – facing St. Paul’s Cathedral, Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern – would be an important investment in the strength of the Square Mile and our neighbouring communities.”

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The procurement process

The first stage of the procurement process is for the recruitment of architects. Interested companies are asked to submit their response to a selection questionnaire (SQ) outlining their relevant experience and approach to project delivery. The questionnaire and project brief are available on the City of London Corporation procurement portal. The closing date as advertised in the OJEU notice for SQ submission is 9th June 2017.

A panel will assess and score the SQ submissions before inviting six shortlisted companies to tender. All architect bids invited to tender will receive an honorarium of £10,000 for satisfactory completion of a response to brief to contribute to costs associated with the development of this tender response.

Shortlisted bids will then be assessed and scored based on their tender submission and, following a detailed interview process with the assessment panel, an appointment decision will be made.

The OJEU notices and the publication of the SQ for the building service engineer and the civil & structural engineer will be available within the next week.

For the acoustician and theatre consultant roles, there will be no SQ process. An invitation to tender (ITT) will be available to any firm interested in bidding for the contract.

The panel appointed to assess tender responses from architects are:

  • Alex Beard CBE, chief executive, Royal Opera House
  • Ricky Burdett, professor of Urban Studies and director, LSE Cities
  • Eva Jiricna, founder, Eva Jiricna Architects
  • Sir Nicholas Kenyon, managing director, Barbican (panel chair)
  • Kathryn McDowell, managing director, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Alastair Moss, member, City of London Corporation
  • Lucy Musgrave, director, Publica
  • Sir Simon Rattle, music director designate, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Lynne Williams, principal, Guildhall School of Music & Drama

The tender responses for the other design roles will be judged by tender assessment panels made up of experts in the relevant fields and key members of the Centre for Music Project team. The appointed panel chairs are:

  • Karin Gartzke, arts management consultant (theatre consultant panel)
  • Rob Manning, former president of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (building services engineer panel)
  • Kathryn McDowell, managing director, London Symphony Orchestra (acoustician panel)
  • Graham Watts, CEO, Construction Industry Council (civil & structural engineer panel)

Further details are on the City of London Corporation procurement portal.

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