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SIAN Architects Share Design Proposal for House of Music London

'Ensemble': Competition Entry for House of Music London by SIAN Architects

A redefinition of the concert hall typology, this proposal combines leisure and recreation to invigorate the modern day performance experience.

Expanding upon the idea of a competition for designing a concert hall: House of Music, next to the richly evocative Barbican complex at the existing site of Museum of London, this 1000 seat venue sits in between a rather large ensemble of musical avenues such as Royal Festival hall, Queen Elizabeth hall and the Barbican concert hall. The proposal brings together leisure and recreation associated with a concert space, wrapped in a lucrative public realm where various social groups can interact and initiate a state of 'festivity'.

Site Plan

Programmatic Disposition:

The concert hall which is the biggest mass sits at the uppermost levels (Second and third) and is conceived as sitting on an ornamented thick plinth, mediated with deep arches and vaults in various axes opening onto the adjacent streets. The plinth holds an array of public programs including a smaller music avenue, restaurants, box office, creche and book shops.

Reinforcing the idea an over-arching mass, concrete materializes the external facade as well as interior spaces. As the building progresses to the intermediate levels, it breaks down into smaller volumes (solids) consisting of programs fundamentally exclusive to a contemporary classical concert hall. However, the spaces within the solids, termed as voids, are conditioned to contain activities to initiate everyday interaction and a constructive dialogue between the users.

Language & Material:

The architectural language of the project is to render a cold monochromatic quality of the space which gets its trace of color through people, furniture and even carpets, reinforcing that the festive nature of the building truly comes from the users and the resultant spatial appropriation. In terms of materialization of the concert hall itself, silver stained wooden interiors were rendered along with buffed wooden panels to functionally resolve the acoustics. Again, in order to balance the effect of the silver walls, bright colored chairs are used for the seating within the spectacle that is the concert space.


Much like it's parent context, the Barbican which has been reduced to a rather dull expression : 'Brutalist', the proposal harnesses a different trajectory of aesthetic. Nikolas De Lacy Brown in his artwork called the Barbican triptych (2014) celebrates the architectural shapes of Barbican but adds to the 'dull' facade, layers of colors, representing the city of London - The color of the tube lines, shades of water and flower beds of Barbican. The proposal stretches this notion even further by retaining the 'brutalist' quality yet adding color through one of the most subliminal of the layers, its users.

Model Photograph
Model Photograph

Project: 'Ensemble': Competition Entry for House of Music London

Design House: SIAN Architects

Category: Unbuilt

Site Area : 10,000 sq.m.

Built Area : 9290 sq.m.

Design Team Surbhi Singhal, Deepanshu Arneja

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