Barbican Concert Hall
London, United Kingdom 2000–2001
Client: Corporation of London Grade II listed
The Barbican Concert Hall is part of the Barbican Performing Arts Centre in the City of London, and part of the famous modernist estate designed by the architects Chamberlin Powell and Bonn. Caruso St John were commissioned to improve the performance of the hall and worked on the project together with the acoustic consultants Kirkegaard Associates.
The restructuring of the two-thousand-seat Concert Hall was driven by technical requirements: to renew the air-conditioning system and house lighting, to provide a new system of production lighting, to accommodate events more flexibly, and to improve the acoustics for concerts. Physically, these works were very substantial, and the task was to accommodate them in a way that both lifted the dramatic intensity of the hall and enhanced what was pleasurable about the existing listed interior.
A system of acoustic reflectors is suspended within the deep concrete structure of the hall's ceiling. The reflectors are curved and scaled to allow them to adopt varying angles in different parts of the ceiling best suited for reflection. They overlap one another and form a radial geometry around the focus of the hall, like a chandelier woven into the concrete.
All the elements of the new ceiling are clad in acid-etched stainless steel, whose surface appears to change colour from purple to bronze when seen at different angles from a single viewpoint. Its qualities create an optical phenomenon, sensitive to the lighting effects on the stage, and the movements of the orchestra and the audience.
London, United Kingdom
Corporation of London
Caruso St John Architects
Adam Caruso, Peter St John
Campbell Reith Hill
Carr and Angie