Ford Gilpin Riley Architects
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Music Department, Tiverton

Client: Blundell’s School
Area: 300 m²
Stage: Completed in August 2007
Building costs: £400k
Description: Extension

The new Music School is a split level building sited next to the main School Hall. It contains 2 music practice and teaching spaces, rehearsal room, an informal performance space and an electronic recording studio. It also works very effectively as a series of preparation, gathering and practice spaces during major musical events.

The layout of the rooms and spaces are efficiently planned and functional, however the topography of the site offered the opportunity for a dynamic, double height, split level space which unifies the complex and brings natural light into its interior. The general form, character and materials used for the new building make reference to the Assembly and Dining Hall buildings that it adjoins, erected in the 1960′s. The treatment of the new building is a modern re- interpretation of its older neighbours.

Overall cohesion was promoted by using the same roof pitch and slate finish as the existing buildings. The use of split faced textured blockwork picks up the texture and solidity of the adjacent stone buildings, whilst the crisp metal windows and roof glazing lend the overall composition a more contemporary feel. The building is generally arranged in a conventional 2 storey form, however a feature of its design is the use of the levels to create a mezzanine floor, containing an informal performance space which opens onto a courtyard.

A major challenge of the site was its location, adjacent to the main school car park and bus drop-off point. This required a careful strategy for traffic and pedestrian circulation, means of access, delivery routes and the safe segregation of the siteworks from potentially vulnerable pupils and staff travelling to and from the parking areas and drop-off points.

© Ford Gilpin Riley Ltd, Ford House, Broadclyst, Exeter, Devon, England EX5 3HU
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