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Barbican and Guildhall team up for culture hub in Square Mile

Could the Barbican once again become home to the RSC? Photo: Morley von Sternberg The Barbican. Photo: Morley von Sternberg
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Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Barbican Centre are among five London organisations that have partnered to transform London’s Square Mile into a cultural destination.

They will work alongside the London Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of London and the City of London Corporation to programme outdoor work and visual art installations in “the gaps between the buildings” from Farringdon to Moorgate.

Nicholas Kenyon, managing director of the Barbican, said that the scheme would be “transformative”. The director of the Museum of London, Sharon Ament, described the proposals as being “about creative exchange and cultural collaboration”, promising that “learning will be deeply at its heart”.

The Culture Mile scheme will take place over the next 10 to 15 years and has been set up to coincide with the opening of Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line. When it opens in December 2018, with connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, it is expected to bring an additional 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London.

Three major building projects will form part of Culture Mile: as well as the new Museum of London building in Farringdon, aiming to open in 2022-23, the London Symphony Orchestra is hoping to find a site for its proposed Centre for Music.

The project, estimated to cost £200-250 million, will involve building a concert hall from scratch, focusing especially on acoustics, in order to accommodate the LSO when conductor Simon Rattle takes up his role as its music director.

Beech Street, a road tunnel that leads from Barbican tube station to the Barbican centre, will be redeveloped as part of Culture Mile, improving pedestrian and cyclist experiences.

Events programmed in the area so far include a temporary art installation by Morag Myerscough and a community garden on Moor Lane. There will also be a one-to-one musical performance called Folk in a Box.

Several organisations, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, are attached to the project as part of a Culture Mile network.

In March 2018, those network organisations will programme a weekend of free activities across the area.