Search begins for Barbican Centre renewal design team

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barbican centre renewal
© Maciek Lulko

The City of London Corporation has launched its search for a design team to develop and deliver plans for a major renewal of the Barbican Centre

The Barbican Renewal project puts culture front-and-centre of the city’s recovery from the pandemic.

The Barbican is a global icon of brutalist architecture, renowned for its scale of ambition and consistency of design.

The Barbican is approaching its 40th birthday, and there is the opportunity to mark this milestone with a vision that enables the building to meet the needs of 21st century artists, audiences and communities.

Applications are invited from multi-disciplinary design teams who have the skills, experience and ambition to deliver a complex and detailed project whilst respecting its Grade-II listing status.

The City Corporation is seeking submissions from practices working together – architects, engineers, sustainability and heritage consultants and others, who can embed equality, diversity and inclusion into their creative vision.

The initial brief allows for the Barbican Centre to be considered in its entirety – from renewing venues and transforming underused areas into new flexible spaces, to improving the welcome, navigating and wayfinding.

Embedding digital technology across the building to enable the Barbican to connect with a global audience is also a major focus.

‘Bringing together imaginative and ambitious teams’

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh, said: “Since its opening almost four decades ago, the Barbican has become a much-loved, internationally acclaimed multi-disciplinary venue for world-class arts, creative learning and community work.

“We have welcomed millions of visitors and thousands of artists, all of whom have come together to share extraordinary experiences in a unique environment.

“The Barbican project has been a huge success, but there have been dramatic changes in arts practice over the last forty years, as well as the way in which civic buildings cater to their visitors and make themselves sustainable for the future.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the world’s best architects and designers to bring together imaginative and ambitious teams to renew this iconic arts centre, adapting it to respond to the creative opportunities and urgent challenges of today’s world and ensuring that the Barbican plays a leading role in the recovery of the City, the capital and the nation from the pandemic.”

The Renewal Project will also tackle a critical need to make major improvements to the building’s environmental performance.

The budget for the project is subject to approval by the City Corporation, and the successful design team will be asked to develop a range of options for the project that would be deliverable at different budget levels.

For the purpose of the design team selection process, interested bidders are being asked to propose a number of design options that would be deliverable within a construction cost budget of £50m to £150m.

The full brief and more details can be downloaded here.

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