The brief was to create a building that would provide a space for teaching music and drama and to celebrate and inspire students’ performance. This was a complex planning procedure as the site sits within the Green Belt and teaching was to be maintained during the demolition of the old block and new construction.
The main concept was to combine flexible teaching spaces with an outside performance space. The large performance room opens onto an outside stage forming a natural amphitheatre and doubling the stage size.
By utilising the surrounding levels with soft landscaping, inclusive design was crucial for accessibility and flexibility. The surrounding path becomes sheltered by the spectator area canopy and creates a place to view performances. The canopy also provides multi‐purpose seating area for the children during break‐times.
The use of polycarbonate cladding emphasises the rhythm of the vertical windows with coloured vinyl applied to the rear face of the polycarbonate sheet that alludes to a sense of movement with a translucent, shimmering effect. In contrast, the internal timber cladding hugs the internal shell of the building whist achieving high acoustic
performance. Simultaneously, the design adopted a box in box construction between the teaching spaces to acoustically isolate the rooms. Externally the green sedum roofing system gives a coherent outlook from the surrounding buildings.
The school was awarded a grant for a proportion of the budget so the contract value was tightly controlled and opened on time and budget, for the start of 2017 academic year.
The building has enabled the continual expansion of the school whilst delivering a high‐ quality design and specification of facilities and equipment. The building is also subservient within the tight site context but the continuity of materiality both internally and externally has provided an interesting and nurturing place to encourage creativity