Sevenoaks Preparatory School was founded in 1919 and to mark its 100th birthday, the Centenary Centre was recently completed. This impressive space is a new central hub for the school.
Having worked very successfully with HMY Architects previously at Kent College Canterbury, we were invited to join the design team in January 2018. Our appointment was to provide full acoustic design services including BB93 assessment, input during construction and acoustic commissioning on completion.
The Centenary Centre includes Language and General Teaching classrooms, an Art room, Science laboratory and IT classroom – all centred around an open-plan Library with sunken stepped teaching area. The building plan forms a broad fan shape, with deep roof valleys echoing the adjacent Fawke Cottage. This resulted in teaching rooms with high pitched ceilings and non-parallel walls. It was therefore necessary to build CATT-Acoustic models for most of the teaching spaces. Control of reverberation was achieved through a combination of wood wool and perforated plasterboard ceilings, along with acoustically absorbent wall panels.
Unusually for a school, corridor walls incorporated large areas of full-height glazed partitioning systems with glass doors. We collaborated with the architect and partition supplier to ensure that the proposed partitions achieved the required sound insulation. This was particularly important for classrooms surrounding the open-plan Library. The building uses a hybrid ventilation strategy with intakes through facade louvres and exhaust through high-level vents along the roof ridges. Careful detailing was required to control crosstalk between adjacent ducts in shared bulkheads.
The Centre is now complete. Muddy Stilettos – the urban guide to the countryside – described the building as “a light and large space – bold and imaginative – [it] has a very grown up campus feel about it. Walking around you can feel the energy and buzz created by this new space”.
Client: Sevenoaks Preparatory School
Architect: Hazle McCormack Young
Contractors: Baxall Construction
Contract value: £2m
Image credits: AJA / HMY