A music school combining highly specialist recital and recording space in an airy, outward-facing building.
Sherborne is one of the UK’s leading independent schools, its buildings clustered in and around the centre of a small market town in Dorset. With the architecture of the school so integral to that of the town, any new development has to be a good neighbour, respecting the sensitive townscape as well successfully connecting into the school’s extended campus. Orms proposed, therefore, that this new music school be located in a more prominent site than that originally suggested, encouraging the community in for public performances but also creating intimate external spaces in the immediate context.
The school consists of an assortment of room sizes and types, many with specialist acoustic requirements. To simplify the diagram, the building is designed around a central, two-storey foyer off which all the rooms are accessed. This central space, dynamic and daylight filled, connects two simple volumes: to the south a two-storey block contains cell-like practice rooms with ensemble space and a library above, while to the north a triple-height recital room – the school’s primary performance space – is sandwiched by two-storey sound studios over classrooms. Traditional rubble stone walls to the ground floor contrast with zinc-detailed timber cladding above, the subdued palette sitting well in this semi-rural setting.