A music school and performance space display rich materiality on a highly sensitive site.
Maidwell Hall school is set within the beautiful Northamptonshire countryside, its main building consisting of a large Grade II-listed hall, rebuilt in the early twentieth century after a devastating fire. Surrounded by protected woodland, the school has been extended several times, most recently to the framework of a masterplan developed by Orms. Central to the masterplan is the idea that any new building should respect the historic building that gives the school its name, allowing it to retain its prominence in the landscaped setting.
Orms’ scheme for a new music school and performance hall has been guided by this principle and, after comparing the merits of several possible sites within the school grounds, proposes a building which will sit to the side of the main hall, acting as a full-stop to its much-extended mass. The scheme is composed of three elements – a performance hall, music school and glazed pergola. The dramatic sculptural form of the performance hall is lined in timber to create a warm, intimate space, with daylighting provided from high level clerestory windows and rooflights. It is constructed with Northamptonshire ironstone walls, capped with a bronze-clad roof, and creates a rich textural counterpoint to the more orthogonal, pragmatic music school block of glazed and engineering brickwork. The glazed pergola replaces an existing brick structure and is intentionally visually recessive to reinforce the architectural dialogue between the new and existing buildings.