Design race starts for £150m Barbican Centre revamp

Grant Prior 2 weeks ago
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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 will be worth between £50m and £150m.

The Barbican was opened in 1982 as a global icon of brutalist architecture and will now be revamped to “enable the building to meet the needs of 21st century artists, audiences and communities.”

Applications are invited from multi-disciplinary 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 – the founder and principal funder of the Barbican – 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 upgrading 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.

The Renewal Project will also tackle a critical need to make major improvements to the building’s environmental performance. Under its Climate Action Strategy, the City Corporation commits to achieving net zero carbon status for its own operations by 2027 and its investment and supply chain by 2040.

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.

Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh, said: “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.”

Each year, over a million people attend Barbican events performed by hundreds of artists from across the globe.

Interested teams should submit an initial selection questionnaire by 21 October 2021. Collaborative bids from design consortiums, particularly those that include emerging practices and widen representation within the project team, are actively encouraged.

In addition, previous experience sections of the selection criteria are open to bidders who can demonstrate transferable skills that show their ability to meet the requirements of the brief.

The full brief and more details can be downloaded here.

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