New creativity

Wednesday 16 Jan 2013

Planning consent for Eric Parry Architects’ Music & Drama schools for Brighton College

Planning consent has been granted by Brighton and Hove City Council for two new buildings to be built at Brighton College. The new spaces, created by Eric Parry Architects, will become the homes for the new Schools of Music and Drama and provide extended facilities to the students.

Established in 1845, Brighton College is an award-winning co-educational private school located in the east of the city. The college campus is also within the College Conservation Area, one of the protected spaces within Brighton since 1988. The architects have created two unique buildings which respond directly to the existing school buildings, in particular the Grade II listed building designed by George Gilbert Scott.

The new Music School will be located just beside the College's Performing Arts Centre (PAC). Built in 2000, the Arts Centre has already introduced a more modern aesthetic into the older campus. The contrast between the flint with stone dressings and the brick with terracotta dressings, with the recently constructed structures highlights the newer buildings. The design has created spaces for a new hall for concerts and orchestral rehearsals, practice rooms, music classrooms and music storage facilities.

A particular feature of the school is the recital hall which faces north towards the sports field. Also known at Brighton College as the Home Ground, the architects have created a design which responds to the gable ends of the dining hall and the main school building. Particular attention was placed on this elevation in order to compliments the existing aesthetic.

The architects have created a ‘floating' pitched roof with a curved apex over the recital hall. This space has been opened up into the ground through a fully glazed façade, drawing light into the space and allowing a transparency between the fields and the performer.  A composite steel and timber structure forms the roof which has cantilevered ends and is finished in glazed ceramic tiles. The glazing is formed from a steel curtain walling system with high performance low iron double glazing which enhances the acoustics within the hall. The side walls, created using self-supporting limestone, frame the space.

The current Science Building, built in the 1960s, will become the new home for the Drama School. New facilities will provide the staff and students with a new theatre, as well as back-of-house facilities and teaching rooms.

The architects have commented that: "The project aims to enhance the dignity of Gilbert Scott's building and to rationalise a currently congested group of buildings." In addition to the existing dance space in the PAC building, the Music and Drama Schools will form a new ‘hub' for the performing arts. The creation of a new centre at the heart of the college will contribute into Brighton College's aim to clarify and enhancing the whole of the school campus.

Jessica Tang

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