Renowned British conductor Simon Rattle on Monday unveiled ambitious designs for a new £288 million ($370 million, 326 million euros) concert hall in the heart of London.
The London Symphony Orchestra music director said it was “wonderful” to finally present the plans for a new hall.
“The idea that there can be a new cultural centre in London… is very exciting,” he said.
“A sign of London as a dynamic cultural city, at a time when we are going to need this more and more.”
The plans will see the current site of the Museum of London, which is relocating nearby, transformed into an ultra-modern concert space encased in glass, reflecting the orchestra’s mantra of “transparency and access”.
The 2,000 seat, in-the-round hall will echo a geological formation, with the lines of steps and seating mimicking rock strata.
Huge transparent pods at the top will allow visiting children to watch rehearsals, at the request of Rattle.
Elizabeth Diller, founding partner of the Diller Scofidio + Renfro design studio tasked with the plans, said the space would be “informal by day and very glamorous by night”.
The building will also house commercial space, workshops, public areas and eating places.
The pinnacle of the wedge-shaped building will be another performance space to host jazz, with St Pauls providing a spectacular backdrop through a huge window.
There will be “no hierarchy” in seating, according to Diller, with all seats meant to offer clear views.
The project has the enthusiastic backing of the City of London Corporation, the local governing body, and the Barbican Centre, which will run the venue.
The main stumbling block now remains “putting a business plan together and a private fundraising contribution,” Barbican manging director Nicholas Kenyon told AFP.
“This is a big ask, it’s an ambitious project, we think it’s absolutely great with a visionary design, but we are not saying at this moment that all the resources are there. We’ve got another year to plan that.”
The concert hall would take four years to build, once the occupants of the current site have moved out, he added.
Rattle has complained that the Barbican Centre concert hall where the LSO is currently based only allowed him to put on 80 percent of the works he would like to play.
The project for a new concert hall has suffered a series of setbacks, including the withdrawal of government funding.