The Barbican Centre is up for a substantial renovation, and the City of London Corporation revealed the five shortlisted teams for the refurbishment of the Brutalist icon, among which are practices like BIG, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Adjaye Associates or Asif Khan Studio. The cultural venue at the heart of the eponymous post-war housing estate in central London was the subject of an international competition aiming to preserve its heritage while upgrading the ageing structure to contemporary requirements and artistic aspirations.
Designed by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, the Barbican Centre inaugurated in 1982 represents a world-renowned venue for art, music, theatre, dance and film. The Grade-II listed building now requires significant improvements to continue to meet the needs of “21st-century artists, audiences and communities” and adapt to the evolution of the art practice. The competition launched in September last year seeks to enhance the building’s environmental performance, striving for net-zero operations by 2027, improve accessibility, and bring underutilised spaces to life.
The shortlisted teams are as follows:
- Adjaye Associates, Benedetti Architects and PUP Architects alongside Charcoalblue, David Bonnett, DP9, Nigel Dunnett, OneDotZero, Peter Stewart, The Place Bureau, Transsolar, WSP.
- Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan Studio alongside Alan Baxter Ltd, Buro Happold, Charcoalblue, Hood Design Studio, Isaac Julien Studio, les éclaireurs.
- BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Avanti Architects, and POoR Collective alongside Applied, Atelier Ten, Barker Langham, Buro Happold, Charcoalblue, People-Friendly Design, Speirs + Major.
- Diller Scofidio + Renfro, McCloy + Muchemwa, and Purcell alongside Buro Happold, Charcoalblue, David Bonnett, GROSS. MAX., L’Observatoire, Nagata Acoustics, Nigel Dunnett, North Design, Patrick Burnham OBE, The Young Foundation.
- FCBStudios (Feilden Clegg Bradley), Bureau de Change, Schulze+Grassov, and Thinc alongside AKT II, James Hitchmough, JWE, Max Fordham, Momentum, Nigel Dunnett, Ramboll.
The bidding teams will further develop their responses, and a winning proposal will be announced in April this year. The successful design team will be required to establish a range of options for the project that would account for different budget levels, and that could be delivered in phases.