Colyer-Fergusson Building

Colyer-Fergusson Building

The latest addition to the University of Kent campus is the Colyer-Fergusson Building, containing a first class concert hall in which timber is used to provide the ideal warmth and acoustic qualities for music performance.

Colyer Fergusson by Tim Ronalds
Colyer Fergusson by Tim Ronalds

The latest addition to the University of Kent campus is the Colyer-Fergusson Building, containing a first class concert hall in which timber is used to provide the ideal warmth and acoustic qualities for music performance.

Designed by Tim Ronalds Architects, the concert hall will support the University of Kent’s thriving extra-curricular music programme, which involves students, staff and members of the community in music-making of all kinds. There is no comparable music venue in Canterbury itself, so the new building should be particularly appreciated by local townspeople.

The concert hall is a flexible and adaptable space, large enough to accommodate a full 80-piece orchestra, a 200 strong choir and an audience of 350, yet equally suitable for a piano or solo recital. The building also includes a generous foyer, practice rooms and offices, as well as storage spaces for instruments, music and equipment, together with technical spaces.

The University of Kent campus was established at Canterbury in the 1960s and is a landscaped campus with views of the city and cathedral. The new two-storey music building has been skillfully positioned into the existing matrix of campus buildings and routes, with its entrance facing a busy pedestrian route to the east and a car park at its western side. The south side of the building adjoins the adjacent Gulbenkian Theatre and Cinema, allowing the creation of a shared foyer and sharing of facilities.

The building structure is a steel frame, useful to achieve a watertight envelope early in the contract. The external walls of the concert hall are clad with purpose-made flint-faced concrete blocks with a ground of black granite chippings; the architect’s original choice was brick, but this was overridden by the planners’ preference for blockwork as corresponding with the local vernacular. The bronze powdercoated windows are framed with matching precast concrete sills and reveals and the blocks are pointed with recessed joints in a lighter coloured mortar.

More case studies

Holly Barn, a new house near Reedham at the edge of the Norfolk Broads, was built on the site of a derelict timber barn. The timberclad exterior relates to the local vernacular of windmills and boat-houses.

This tiny two-bedroom house, only 75 square metres on plan, sits unobtrusively within the confines of an old brick wall in Deptford, London.