Guildford High School is a high achieving Independent school based in Guildford. The school has a specialism in music but lacked a bespoke rehearsal and performance venue. The main hall is located in the heart of the school but lacked appropriate acoustic separation from teaching spaces. The hall was also shared with assemblies, drama and other curriculum activities. The brief was to provide, not only a 200 seat rehearsal and performance space, but to give the school a key building that could be the focus of attracting new students to the school.
Located on the edge of the campus next to Nightingale Road, the new hall is remote from existing teaching facilities but connected via a two storey atrium to the library. The atrium provides a clear acoustic buffer between the music and study uses. The tired playground at the front of the school was given new life as a formal courtyard. Full height glazed doors to both sides of the atrium give a visual connection to the landscaped garden to the rear. The library with full height glazing overlooking the garden was extended as part of the project providing a cohesive architectural link connecting the existing school to the new music venue.
Internally, the hall is lined with timber and features large glazed screens affording views both to the rear garden and out to the front of the school. The timber lining is acoustically treated and, in combination with drapes, provides acoustic conditions ideal for non-amplified performances. Located at first floor there are a viewing gallery, two soundproof practice rooms and a control room overlooking the hall.
The new facility has proved extremely popular with both the school and parents and has reinvigorated a previously underused part of the school campus.