The Allies and Morrison and Asif Khan Studio team – which also includes heritage experts from Alan Baxter Ltd, engineers and sustainability consultants Buro Happold, digital consultants Charcoalblue, landscape architects Hood Design Studio, lighting designers les éclaireurs, and artistic advisors Isaac Julien and Nadia Fall – will deliver a £50-£150 million refurbishment of the Barbican Centre.
Their winning proposal was selected from a shortlist of five teams, with the four contending teams led by Adjaye Associates, BIG, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios. Each team was awarded £20,000 to develop its proposal between the shortlisting and final decision stage.
The renovation will focus on retrofitting the centre’s various art, music, theatre and cinema, improving the Grade II-listed building’s environmental performance, wayfinding and accessibility, and finding new purpose for underused areas.
“We are interested in the notion of ‘revealing’, of finding places of untapped potential within and around the walls of the Barbican,” says Allies and Morrison partner Simon Fraser, of the team’s plans for the Barbican Centre. “Not only will this approach offer substantial savings in embodied carbon, and respects the Centre’s significant heritage value, but it opens a myriad of opportunities for creative, inclusive reinvention. For all of us, this will be the project of a lifetime.”
The team has a wealth of experience in delivering cultural projects in the capital. Allies and Morrison has previously developed a new entrance and landscape for the Tate Britain, while Asif Khan Studio is currently designing a new Museum of London alongside Stanton Williams.
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“My dad first brought me to the Barbican just after it opened to the public in 1982. From those early visits as a two-year-old we would spend countless Sundays enjoying the free programme and public spaces. For him, the lake was a reminder of the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore. For me it has always felt like home and has been a constant presence in my life. Who would imagine that exactly forty years later there would be an opportunity to contribute towards its future? Amazing things happen like that in this city,” said Asif Khan on the team’s appointment.
The team was selected by a panel made up of representatives from the Barbican Centre, its board and the City Corporation. Also inputting into the decision were a panel of external experts including architect and Paradigm Network co-founder Yẹmí Aládérun, South London Gallery director Margot Heller, the head of the London School of Architecture Dr Neal Shasore, architect and environmental design expert Dr Judit Kimpian and National Theatre chief executive Lisa Burger.