Sevenoaks School Performing Arts Center

Sevenoaks School's new Performing Arts Centre sits overlooking Knole Park. The building contains a concert hall large enough for a symphony orchestra, choir and audience of 450, a recital room and a music school with 23 teaching spaces of various sizes. 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.

Sevenoaks School Performing Arts Center 2

Tim Ronalds Architects decided at the outset that natural timber would be used throughout the building to provide the warmth and acoustic response conducive to music. Douglas fir was chosen for its colour and vitality. This timber was used for every element - roof structures, windows and doors, joinery, panelling and handrails - except flooring, where hard oak was needed.

Acoustic considerations underlie the design of each part of the building. In the hall, a large open timber roof structure provides the volume and detail needed for the acoustics of a high quality concert hall. The high roof with its low eaves gives the space scale but intimacy. The roof structure was engineered by consulting engineers Price & Myers. The 18m-span solid timber trusses were manufactured and erected by Constructional Timber Ltd. The recital room is a space made entirely of timber, with a scale suited to smaller music ensembles.

For acoustic reasons the room has non-orthogonal geometry and an asymmetric pyramid roof, which have been beautifully built by MWM carpentry. The exposed timber roof structures' rhythm of rafters and purlins and the timber batten wall linings naturally reflect and diffuse sound to provide optimal acoustics. All the windows and joinery were made by Durtnell Joinery. The glazing is generally fixed, with solid timber ventilator panels. People love the warmth, the colour, and variety in the grain of the timber. The project was named The Wood Awards 'Commercial Public Access' winner 2010.

Back to overview »

Fact sheet
Client Sevenoaks School
Architects Tim Ronalds Architects
Structural engineers Price & Myers
Main Contractors R Durtnell & Sons Limited
Suppliers of wood solutions Constructional Timer Ltd
Building size 2,733 ㎡
Budget £13 million
Year of completion 2010
Location Sevenoaks, Kent
United Kingdom
Sevenoaks School Performing Arts Center 1
Sevenoaks School Performing Arts Center 3
Sevenoaks School Performing Arts Center 4
Sevenoaks School Performing Arts Center 5

European Wood (in China)
C412, Beijing Lufthansa Center
50 Liangmaqiao Road, Chaoyang District
Beijing, P.R. China 100125
T +86 10 6462 2066, F +86 10 6462 2067
Sino-European Wood Center
Room 202, Engineering Department,
Taoliyuan Hou, Xuhui Campus of Jiaotong University,
No.655 Panyu Road, Xu Hui District, Shanghai