Diller Scofidio & Renfro’s concert hall has been set up to fail

Ike ijeh serious

Britain is incapable of proactively planning for major projects, says Ike Ijeh

Regardless of what anyone might think of Diller Scofidio & Renfro’s recently unveiled plans for London’s Centre for Music or of the wider issue of whether London needs a new concert hall at all, there is probably one thing on which everyone would agree: if you wanted an ideal location for a new world-class concert hall, then the current site of the Museum of London would not be it.

At present, the Museum of London is helplessly impaled on the site of one of central London’s most disastrous urban experiments. To one side lies London Wall, essentially a glorified service route whose traffic-dominated street-level experience is so depressing that planners and architects have all but abandoned it in favour of an awkward high-level simulation of public realm that varies from manicured to miserable.

To the north of the current Museum of London site lies the Barbican, now rightly celebrated in many quarters as an exemplar of progressive socio-cultural development but whose labyrinthine high-level walkways suffocate street life and still retain a largely inaccessible and frequently inhospitable public realm vindictively severed from the city that surrounds it.

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