Major building development for Royal College of Music

An ambitious major building development has today been announced by London’s Royal College of Music (RCM), to the tune of some £25m (€34.8m).

The open courtyard space at the centre of the world-famous academy is the focus of the new development works, which will improve facilities and access for both students and the general public.

Planned features include a new foyer and meeting spaces for visitors; a new café/restaurant area; two new performance spaces (of 150+ and 90+ seats respectively); additional practice rooms; additional enhanced recording and broadcasting capabilities; a theatre bar; and a new home for the RCM’s Museum of Music.

Artist's impression of new Quad viewed from the cafe in the foyer
Artist’s impression of new Quad viewed from the cafe in the foyer

Renowned architect John Simpson has been appointed to reimagine the RCM site, and the institution is now seeking planning permission for a two-year programme of works to commence in 2016.

RCM director professor Colin Lawson said: ‘This is a vital development for the RCM. We have always been a home for creative pioneers and our physical spaces must keep pace with our artistic ambitions.

‘John Simpson Architects provide an exceptional understanding of manipulation of space, light and material, and have designed a new building that will stand alongside and acknowledge the historic importance and quality of our original buildings. The development of our courtyard space will radically enhance our facilities [and] transform both the student and visitor experience.’

Impression of new foyer
Impression of new foyer

Professor Lord Winston, RCM chairman, added: ‘John Simpson’s vision makes best use of the RCM’s space and was unanimously selected by the RCM Council.

‘In extending the language of the existing building his design showcases a sensitive response to the RCM’s Victorian heritage. The proposed works will unlock the RCM’s potential and secure its long term future as a world-leading music conservatoire.’

The new and extended facilities will be built on a site of around 2,300 square metres on RCM’s current main plot, directly opposite the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington.

HRH The Prince of Wales has agreed to be patron of the RCM’s More Music campaign to fund the development work.

Images © Chris Christodoulou (top) / John Simpson Architect