Lord Winston, Chairman of the RCM Council, and Professor Colin Lawson CBE, Director of the Royal College of Music (RCM), marked the start of an ambitious redevelopment of the RCM’s Kensington campus on Tuesday 13 June 2017.
After a performance by three RCM trumpeters, Lord Winston planted the first spade in the ground in the courtyard which sits at the heart of the conservatoire.
Renowned architect, John Simpson, has reimagined the RCM site with major enhancements to benefit students, staff and visitors. The redevelopment will be funded by a £40 million philanthropic campaign which has already raised 60% of its overall target.
More Music: Reimagining the Royal College of Music has at its heart a 21st century vision of access and excellence to safeguard and enhance the future of music. HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron of the campaign which will ensure a further strengthening of the College’s facilities, including investment in innovation, new performance and practice spaces, a new Royal College of Music Museum and an expansion of the College’s scholarship and bursary programmes.
The Royal College of Music has partnered with UK construction contractor, Gilbert-Ash, whose award-winning projects include refurbishment works to the Grade II-listed Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, the extension of the Institute of Engineering & Technology in London and the new 450-seat Everyman Theatre, which won the RIBA Stirling Prize 2014.
Building works will begin on 19 June 2017, commencing with the demolition of some of the College’s existing buildings to make room for the new spaces. This investment in the RCM’s South Kensington campus follows initiatives which have seen the conservatoire invest heavily in its infrastructure facilities. In 2016, the College opened a new student hall of residence in West London, complete with on-site practice and rehearsal rooms and acoustically treated bedrooms. The College also constructed a state-of-the-art Percussion facility and practice suite, new student community spaces and a student facing one-stop-shop. The redevelopment will also provide Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) access throughout most of the RCM’s main campus and this was kickstarted with the installation of a new, accessible lift at the main entrance.
Lord Winston said:
‘The More Music scheme will unlock the RCM’s potential and secure its long-term future as a world-leading music conservatoire; I am excited to see the architect’s vision come to life.’
Professor Colin Lawson CBE said:
‘I am delighted to mark this historic moment. The development of our campus will enhance our facilities and ensure the RCM continues to be a world leader in music education.’
Header photo: Students herald the start of major site development at RCM © Chris Christodoulou