Gresham’s School’s Music School and Sixth Form Centre
Gresham’s School in north Norfolk has recently undergone a large project to create an inspirational learning and teaching space in the form of a new Music School and Sixth Form Centre – the Britten Building. The new building has been designed with pupils in mind and will be suitable to support the delivery of a modern music and Sixth Form academic curriculum.
The Britten Building enhances the school’s environment, whilst respecting the other buildings on the campus, sitting comfortably amongst the wide range of architectural styles found within the school including the Grade II listed School Chapel. Western red cedar and brickwork have been used externally in order to blend the 1,318m² building with the rest of the school in order to keep the classic Gresham’s feel.
Sitting 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. Internally, the building uses high levels of natural daylight, excellent ventilation and oak joinery to produce an atmosphere that is fresh and uplifting, allowing students to feel motivated. White walls and ceilings use accent colours as well as natural oak features to create dramatic internal spaces with an interior design that is in keeping with the high standards at Gresham’s School.
As well as the Sixth Form, the new building will mainly be used by the music department meaning it is acoustically designed for optimal performance with sound insulation to ensure neighbouring rooms are not disturbed. The music rooms have been designed in such a way that allows students to appreciate the music fully without being distracted by outside noise. Acoustic oak panelling is used within the auditorium to produce a place with excellent sound performance making it perfect for any of the many events hosted by the school.
In terms of accessibility to the Britten Building, Gresham’s have worked hard with the main contractors to ensure that entrance is available for everyone. It is fully accessible to meet the needs of both students and staff with mobility issues and other disabilities.
As a constrained building site in the heart of the school campus, there were challenges that the project faced such as keeping disruption to a minimum. Other challenges included the combining of a music school with an academic building in a way that would satisfy a diverse user group. These challenges have been successfully met, and the school looks forward to the opening of the Britten Building in time for the 2017 summer term.
“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 will hope that as many people as possible are inspired to use them,” commented Douglas Robb, Headmaster of Gresham’s School.