Sevenoaks Performing Arts Centre

Sevenoaks Performing Arts Centre

The new Performing Arts Centre for Sevenoaks School sits on a beautiful sloping site overlooking Knole Park. It contains a concert hall large enough for a symphony orchestra, choir and an audience of 450, a recital room for 100, and a music school with 23 teaching spaces of various sizes, plus a new drama studio, with drama teaching and technical spaces.

The new Performing Arts Centre for Sevenoaks School sits on a beautiful sloping site overlooking Knole Park. It contains a concert hall large enough for a symphony orchestra, choir and an audience of 450, a recital room for 100, and a music school with 23 teaching spaces of various sizes, plus a new drama studio, with drama teaching and technical spaces.

A successful independent co-educational school, Sevenoaks occupies a 40-hectare site, much of it an informal backlands campus of existing properties and land. In 2005, as the school had outgrown some of these facilities, Tim Ronalds Architects was commissioned to devise a development plan, part of which proposed the sequential redevelopment of three 1960-80s buildings around a new landscaped space.

The performing arts centre, set between an existing theatre and sports hall, is the first of these new developments. The building is built of warm, solid, natural materials – grey brick, timber and zinc on the outside, a soft red brick and timber on the inside.

Tim Ronalds Architects decided at the outset that natural timber should be used throughout the building interior, particularly in the performance spaces where it would offer the warmth and acoustic response conducive to music. Douglas Fir was chosen for its colour and vitality; it was used throughout – for the roof structures, windows and doors, joinery, panelling, handrails and fitted furniture – except for the flooring where oak was specified.

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