How does £288 million sound? Why it's so difficult to build an acoustically perfect concert hall

The planned Centre for Music, at the Barbican in London
The planned Centre for Music, at the Barbican in London

The proposed Centre for Music at the Barbican in London, backed by Sir Simon Rattle, chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra – one of the three partners in the project - has taken a significant step forward. It now has a unified design concept, courtesy of the world-leading New York architectural practice of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. 

The aim is to “turn the Barbican’s inwardly focused campus inside out, providing ample, light-filled public space, a world-class concert hall, and much needed learning and outreach spaces.” The concert hall is the heart of the scheme, and an awful lot hangs on it. It has to be a knock-out in terms of design to bear comparison with what will be its chief...

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