Benenden School, Centenary Hall and Music School


Benenden School, Centenary Hall and Music School

Project Info

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.

LocationCranbrook, Kent

ArchitectHollaway Studios

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

ClientBenenden School

JoineryAcoustic GRG Products

Roof StructureConstructional Timber

Timber EngineerTamarind Engineering

PhotographerHufton and Crow