Full planning approval granted to Stephenson Bell for Chetham's School of Music design
Stephenson Bell have received full planning approval for their new £24.5m school design and masterplan for Chetham’s School of Music in the heart of the City of Manchester, England. Chetham's is the largest school of its kind in the UK and forms a major part of the cultural scene in a city which has produced bands such as Oasis, the Bee Gees, The Smiths and Take That.
The 10,600 sq m school will comprise a new music teaching school, an academic school and a full orchestral auditorium over 8 habitable floors. Within the building will be a 400 seat concert hall, a 100 seat recital hall, 57 music reaching rooms and 65 practise rooms as well as 21 academic classrooms and a 200 sq m recording suite. The teaching and practice rooms require a high level of sound insulation and are in the majority box-in-box rooms.
The new building responds to a complex brief on a tight island site made sensitive by its adjacency to existing medieval buildings which house some parts of the school and the oldest public library in the world. The external envelope expresses the solidity of the construction and the building is conceived as a carved solid. The building form reflects the island nature of the site and expressive features such as the large cantilever to the upper floors reflect the line of the river irk which is culverted below this corner of the site. The new building will link to the existing buildings via a new bridge which will act as the main entrance for the pupils and staff, whilst the main public entrance is located to the other side of the foyer, adjacent to Victoria train station.
An Outreach Centre and Music Tech, department provide other publicly accessible spaces on the lower perimeter of the building, actively engaging with the local community.
Enabling works will start on site in September and the project is due for completion in mid 2011.