Our new sixth form and music school building at Gresham’s, since named the Britten Building after composer and former Gresham’s student Benjamin Britten, has been officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne.
The new school building replaces the existing music teaching areas and provide new facilities for the practice, teaching and performance of music. As well as providing a series of additional teaching, performance, practice and public spaces for students the Britten Building reinforces links between the existing school and the Auden Theatre building. It will also provide much needed academic and recreational spaces for the sixth form to integrate with the rest of the school, by combining it with the music building.
Douglas Robb, Headmaster of Gresham’s School commented “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.”
Partner Rupert Kitchen attended the opening, and commented “Music plays a significant role in the life of many pupils at the School, so it is important that the school provides students with the best facilities possible for the study of music. The building will go a long way towards achieving this goal. The building provides a focal point within the school, not only for the sixth form but the school as a whole.”
The new building improves the visual connections through to the nearby Auden theatre, whilst offering a new courtyard and processional route to the buildings from the south, via a brick colonnade. The massing and scale of the new building offers the school significant facilities whilst maintaining a close relationship to the form of the Auden theatre and remaining subordinate in scale to the Memorial Chapel. This sensitivity to the surrounding context roots the building within the site, allowing the demolition of the former music building to provide breathing space around the Chapel, reaffirming its status within this area of the site.
The main materials for the buildings external cladding are mixed-red brick and timber, creating a contemporary feel that is also in keeping with the surroundings.
The project was highly commended at the 2017 Architectural Acoustics Awards with Acousticians on the project Adrian James Acoustics commenting that the sound insulation results for the practice rooms and recording studio are among the best that they have ever measured.
All internal spaces are arranged to provide good levels of natural light, pleasant views as well as serving a constant reminder of the buildings purpose and essence. As part of the continued sustainable development agenda within the Gresham’s campus the scheme has been developed to meet long term goals including high energy efficiency, air tightness and low maintenance, provided through the design of the envelope and cladding systems. The scheme was also strategically built on an existing brown field site, and takes maximum advantage of sunlight, using PV panels and maximising natural daylight.”