Benenden School, Centenary Hall and Music School
By engineering timber to its fullest auditory potential, this world-class concert hall and music school buildings transform the musical and cultural education of Benenden’s pupils and the local community.
The elliptically shaped timber-frame Centenary buildings include a 750-capacity concert hall, able to accommodate the entire school and host visiting musicians, and a 150-capacity recital room with adjacent classrooms and practice rooms, providing a welcoming space for students to rehearse.
Due to its form and materiality, the quality of sound performed in the entirely bespoke timber-lined hall is comparable with concert halls across the world and has attracted world-class performances including the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Textured ‘flutterfree’ wood panels and a variety of plywood and veneer sheets are used throughout the buildings, putting acoustic quality at the forefront of the project. A striking diagrid shaped roof serves as both a structural and acoustic device, allowing sound to bounce around the bays and encouraging the volume to feel larger.
Structural EngineerCampbell Reith
Wood SupplierAcoustic GRG Products
ContractorBuxton Building Contractors
SpeciesMapple ‘flutterfree’ T timber (Canada); Birch Plywood (Latvia/ Finland); Oak (Denmark) – PEFC and FSC certified
JoineryAcoustic GRG Products
Roof StructureConstructional Timber
Timber EngineerTamarind Engineering
PhotographerHufton and Crow