Gresham’s School, founded in 1555, has an enviable reputation for excellence across the board; academic, sporting, the performing arts.
Fostering this excellence are the school’s facilities; and we are delighted to have been involved in delivering the most recent addition to their portfolio – a new Sixth Form & Music Centre – The Britten Building.
Designed by award winning Architects LSI and project managed by the Daniel Connal Partnership from its inception to occupation, The Britten Building (named for former pupil Sir Benjamin Britten) at Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk, is now complete.
The brief for this new learning and teaching space was to design and construct an inspirational building to fulfil the school’s aspirations to deliver a first class modern music and Sixth Form academic curriculum. Sound insulation, acoustic performance and acoustic comfort were all essential parts of the brief and brought some interesting challenges in the combining of a music school with an academic building.
Using Western red cedar and brickwork for the external elevations, the impressive 1,318m2building has been designed to sit comfortably amongst and enhance the wide range of architectural styles found within the school including the Grade II listed School Chapel.
The inside of the building is no less striking. Situated over approximately 14,000ft2 spread across two floors, the building houses six classrooms, 10 music teaching rooms, a recording studio, an auditorium, a foyer/café, offices and meeting rooms. White walls and ceilings use accent colours and natural oak features to create dramatic internal spaces. The scheme incorporates high levels of natural daylight, excellent ventilation and oak joinery to create a fresh, uplifting atmosphere conducive to learning.
But perhaps more remarkable is the acoustic excellence that has been incorporated into this dual role building by acoustic designers Adrian James Acoustics.
As well as accommodating the school’s Sixth Form, the Britten Building is home to the school’s thriving music department and auditorium. Optimum acoustic performance throughout the entire building was therefore essential.
Sound insulation was considered from the outset, with the floor layout providing natural barriers between noisy and other spaces. Noise spill was avoided using mechanical rather than natural ventilation in appropriate areas. Reverberation in corridors and staircases has been minimised and doors carefully positioned to avoid disturbance in teaching spaces, all of which have been designed to achieve the best conditions for speech and listening.
The music rooms have been designed to allow students to appreciate music fully without the intrusion of outside noise. The acoustics of the recording studio match the professional standard of the equipment. Acoustic oak panelling is used within the auditorium to deliver a space with excellent sound performance making it perfect for any event hosted by the school.
Managing both project programme and budget, DCP co-ordinated the design team, main contractor and specialist suppliers and contractors, and are proud to have delivered this exciting building on time and within budget.
“The Britten Building will enhance facilities for music and socialising for the school and the wider North Norfolk community. The performance space and recording facilities are of the highest quality available and we hope that as many people as possible are inspired to use them,” commented Douglas Robb, Headmaster of Gresham’s School.