Winner for competition launched last September

A team featuring Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan has been picked to mastermind the modernisation of the Barbican Centre.

The City of London Corporation yesterday announced the full design team for the planned £50m-£150m revamp of the Grade II-listed arts centre in east London.

As well as Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan, the winning design team includes engineer Buro Happold, heritage expert Alan Baxter and theatre, acoustic and digital consultancy, Charcoalblue.


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Construction on the centre began in the 1960s and was completed by 1982

Hood Design Studio will be involved as landscape architects, Isaac Julien and Nadia Fall as artistic advisers, while les éclaireurs will serve as the project’s lighting design agency.

The winning team saw off competition from four other collaborations: Adjaye Associates, with Benedetti Architects and PUP Architects; BIG with Avanti Architects and POoR Collective; US firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro with McCloy + Muchemwa and Purcell; and Feilden Clegg Bradlly Studios with Bureau de Change, Shulze+Grassov and Thinc.

The arts centre, part of a landmark post-war housing development designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, is home to three cinemas, two art galleries, a concert hall and several theatres.

The Brutalist icon was completed by John Laing in the early 1980s. It was among a string of high-profile schemes the contractor carried out in its heyday including repairing the bomb-damaged Coventry Cathedral, building the M1 and completing the Severn Crossing.

The City Corporation launched a competition last September, with the design brief outlining the need for design solutions that would “preserve and respect the complex’s original architectural vision and heritage, while adapting it to respond to the creative opportunities and urgent challenges of today’s world”.

The move to redevelop the site came after a £288m plan to build a concert hall in the City – the so-called Centre for Music – was abandoned due to pandemic-related funding problems. That scheme would have been designed by Diller Scofidio & Renfro.