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An artist's impression of the new RCM Courtyard

More Music: one year on

Tuesday 12 June 2018

The Royal College of Music is one year into its More Music: Reimagining the Royal College of Music building development. Representing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the RCM’s facilities and invest in innovation, the courtyard at the heart of the RCM campus has seen significant changes since the first ‘spade in the ground’ on 13 June 2017.  

Renowned architect John Simpson reimagined the RCM with major enhancements to benefit students, staff and visitors. These include two new performance venues, more practice rooms, a new home for the RCM Museum’s internationally significant collection and improved access. The development is funded by a £40 million philanthropic Campaign, which has at its heart a new vision of access and excellence. More Music will touch all aspects of the RCM including an expansion of the scholarships and bursaries programme. To date, £33 million of the target has been raised. 

The RCM is partnering 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 iconic 450-seat Everyman Theatre, which won the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2014. Gilbert-Ash is a finalist in this year’s Contractor of the Year Awards.

Raymond Gilroy, Construction Director at Gilbert-Ash said: ‘We are proud to be working with the RCM and have enjoyed much success during the project so far. Due to the enclosed nature of the site we utilised a large crane and maximised the College’s vacation periods to demolish several old RCM structures, complete the piling and excavation phases and execute several significant concrete pours.’

During excavation, almost 3,000 cubic metres of earth was removed from the courtyard. All heavy equipment, including an excavator and large piling rig, had to be lifted via crane over the RCM’s Grade II listed Blomfield building from the main road. To form the base layer of one of the new performance spaces, a skip of concrete was suspended over the site on the crane, with concrete guided into place by operatives on the ground.


The project now enters the construction phase, with structures being put in place to form floors, walls and ceilings. Professor Colin Lawson CBE, Director of the Royal College of Music said: ‘Some of the most pioneering and influential musicians in British and international music life were students or professors at the RCM and we have a duty to ensure that our facilities continue to allow as many people as possible to connect with us. I am delighted with the progress so far and look forward to seeing the new buildings start to take shape in the coming months.’

The More Music: Reimagining the Royal College of Music building development has been made possible through the generosity of many supporters. In particular, we would like to thank our Founding Patrons the Heritage Lottery Fund, Kingdom Music Education Group, Rena & Sandro Lavery, Ruth West HonRCM & Dr Michael West and the Garfield Weston Foundation for their significant contributions.

To find out more, please visit the More Music section of the RCM website.