In 2014 BAP were approached by St Albans High School for Girls to design a new Music Centre for their Prep School at Wheathampstead.
The school has very strong music traditions and the quality of the music department is paramount to the needs of the school. The existing music department did not have sufficient space to allow for the extent of practice and rehearsal required. BAP were asked to formulate options for the new facilities and it was decided that Lodge Cottage and the existing outbuildings presented an opportunity to create new high-quality teaching spaces which included the renovation of the derelict building.
Whilst Lodge Cottage could accommodate the smaller practice and teaching rooms, the school also required a larger space for up to 100 people to enable group practice; teaching and performance. This was achieved by the demolition of the existing garages to create a new wing to house a new performance space.
Planning consent was granted November 2014, and following tenders April 2015, the works commenced July 2015. Practical Completion was June 2016 and completed within budget.
In order to meet the budget, the proposed construction and finishes were simple, with a steel frame, and beam and pot floor on sleeper walls.
The new wing is connected to Lodge Cottage by a glazed link, which creates a separation between the two buildings and provides a focus for the entrance.
The acoustic requirements of the performance and group teaching space was achieved with a combination of acoustic “clouds” and sound absorbing ceiling treatments.
Being located next to a busy road the natural ventilation “windcatcher” system was designed to meet the stringent Building Bulletin 93 target noise standards.
The principle element of the new wing is the curved brick wall and is articulated with projecting and recessed bricks as a modern interpretation of the brick patterns and features on Lodge Cottage.
With level thresholds at the entry points, the ground floor and principle teaching spaces are fully accessible.
Photography by: Gareth Gardner