Interior view of one of the two new performance spaces The Royal College of Music viewed across Prince Consort Road from the Royal Albert Hall Axonmometric model of the designs centering on an outdoor quad View of the new Quad


Planning permission has been granted for John Simpson Architects’ transformation of the historic estate of the Royal College of Music (RCM) in South Kensington. Once completed the development will provide the RCM with two new technologically advanced performance spaces; 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, as well as new digital recording studio facilities and additional practice and teaching rooms.

The proposals centre on an underused internal courtyard space that sits at the heart of the RCM’s Prince Consort Road campus opposite the Royal Albert Hall. The existing entrance hall from Prince Consort Road will be enlarged to provide the College with a large public foyer to serve the world-class Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall. A new triple-height atrium will be built to give access from the entrance foyer to a new cafe-bar arranged around an outdoor quad at ground floor level. The lower levels will provide access to the new performance spaces and repositioned Museum of Music, as well as linking to the existing Italianate Britten Theatre.

John Simpson Architects’ designs will provide new facilities to serve the College for years to come, and enable one of the world leaders in music education to deliver its vision for the highest-quality learning environment and an enhancement of its public accessibility. Some of the most pioneering and influential musicians in British and International music life were students or professors at the RCM, including Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett, Joan Sutherland, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah Walker, Thomas Allen, James Galway, John Lill, John Wilson and Alfie Boe. The designs by John Simpson Architects will not only enhance the learning environment for students but also transform the College’s public engagement programme, allowing more people than ever before to connect with the RCM in a variety of ways.

The Royal College of Music will now begin a process looking to identify the optimum time to begin the project but aim to complete the construction in 2018.

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Published: 15th October 2015