We recently visited Kent College Canterbury – an independent school dating from 1885. Founded by Wesleyan Methodists with an initial intake of just five pupils, the campus has grown to cover an impressive 70-acre semi-rural site. In 2016 a second school was opened in Dubai and there are future plans for a presence in Hong Kong, currently operating online.
The original Canterbury location has seen additional buildings added as the school has expanded. A few years ago the decision was taken to build a major new hall. This would serve as a venue for assemblies and worship, along with concerts and drama.
The hall was designed by architects HazleMcCormackYoung with structural engineers CTP and mechanical and electrical engineers BSP. Adrian James Acoustics was appointed early on at Stage 2 to carry out acoustic design and theatre consultancy roles for this project.
Key to the hall’s flexibility was the stage engineering design. The stage can transform from an open concert platform to a fully-masked proscenium stage for drama, with a capacity adjustable between 389 and 600 seats.
In April 2018 a ceremony of groundbreaking took place, attended by local dignitaries. Less than 18 months later, the hall was ready for commissioning, and a service of dedication was held – ushering a new chapter in the history of the College. AJA’s Principal Acoustics and Theatre Consultant Ian Rees was there to attend this special event.
The Great Hall became fully operational in October 2019 when it was the venue for two concerts in the Canterbury Festival. This new relationship with the Festival is one of the benefits which the new hall offers to the city as well as to the school itself.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought an extended period of closure, but now the venue is preparing for an exciting future with a series of public concerts. Our recent visit to the Hall confirmed that this substantial building is maturing to its full potential. AJA is delighted to have been part of the team behind this local landmark.