Professor Lord Winston breaks ground on the building work Project team picture by Chris Christodoulou


On Tuesday 13th June 2017, the Royal College of Music (RCM) officially broke ground on the More Music Development in the East Courtyard designed by John Simpson Architects. The new project includes: two new multi-functional performance venues; a new home for the Museum of Music, which boasts one of the most significant collections of historic musical instruments in the world; new communal spaces for audiences with cafe-bar and restaurant facilities and additional practice and teaching rooms for the College.

As the RCM has expanded it has however become constrained by later piecemeal additions from the 1960s and 1970s. The More Music development in the East Courtyard addresses these constraints and is centred on a new external courtyard at ground level, accessed from an enlarged Entrance Hall and a new triple-height space , which forms the heart of the new master plan.

The redevelopment of the RCM estate is designed to integrate the College’s buildings more closely with its surroundings, making the most of its unique location opposite the Royal Albert Hall, which was specifically selected for the College by the Prince Consort himself when he designed the master plan for ‘Albertopolis’ in 1894 when the first building at the College was built.

The design builds on the heritage and traditions of the Royal College of Music, fashioning an environment which is architecturally harmonious and timeless, with a balance between indoor and outdoor spaces. The new architecture will blend seamlessly with the much loved architecture of Blomfield and Smith and make the circulation between the old and new seamless. Step free access across the campus will be provided for the first time since the buildings were originally built so that all visitors and students can find their way around the College with ease.

It provides new teaching and practice spaces and new state-of-the-art performance spaces. These are designed to include recording facilities to enable multi-media broadcasts which will underpin and enhance further the College’s global reach in teaching music and encourage more people to come to the RCM, widening its appeal. New communal facilities provide more space for students as well as a new Museum for musical instruments.

The scheme will enhance the College’s status as one of the premier destinations for world-class music education; strengthen the RCM as a cultural venue of national and international significance; and create a greatly enhanced environment that inspires students, professors, visiting musicians and the tens of thousands of visitors who come and support the RCM each year.

The building works will commence on 19th June 2017 with the demolition of existing buildings in the East Courtyard.

John Simpson says: “We are very excited to be designing this project and taking it forward. Today marks the start of construction which is a very significant step in the project’s journey. One that will bring the RCM campus up to date in every way so that it is able to provide the best possible education for young musicians, widen the appeal of music within the community and respond to the challenges of the 21st Century.”

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Published: 13th June 2017