There are many parallels between music and architecture. Each art explores ideas of rhythm and structure, order and space. They are intimately connected to human experience and sequence as acts of orchestration and assembly. Architecture has long been designed to support the experience of concerts and musical events, from the acoustics of gothic churches to modern installations at Burning Man. These spaces include both quieter studios for individual musical reflection and study, and designs that consider broader connections between audience and performance. Here, architecture dramatically shapes experience.
Exploring this idea, we’ve rounded up the following collection of music halls and venues across the United Kingdom. Designed across a wide range of scales, they combine multiple programs with stages to listen and play. Representing diverse approaches to public and private space, they approach sound as an integral element to design. From professional schools and academies to an outdoor shipping container park, they examine how music can be amplified through design. As hollow structures filled with life and volume, they echo contemporary culture by building resonance:
Created as part of the Void Building at the Royal Academy of Music, these practice rooms are part of a larger project to connect the new project with an existing building. Surrounded by listed buildings in a Conservation Area, the Void’s structure is largely independent and can be extended or demounted as required.
Designed as a polychromatic extension, this project features learning spaces and an organizational hub that connects to a Victorian Board School. The freestanding addition plugs into the existing structure with space for education and play.
Combining a 500-pupil secondary school and 200-pupil sixth form, Hackney New School is a new mixed-ability Free School. Focusing on music, the project includes space for drama, art, design and technology.
Chetham’s School of Music is the largest world class Music School in the U.K. Designed to create a dialogue between existing buildings, the new school and its wider context, the project cantilevers near the River Irk that cuts across the site.
The refurbishment and new buildings at Colston’s Girls’ School centered on large, flexible teaching spaces for drama, music and art. The music area was created with its own stand-alone pavilion comprising two large, multi-functional spaces and three practice rooms.
BDP’s Music Boxes were created as a musical playground designed for children. Surrounded by 78 steel shipping container units, the project explored the natural geometry and symmetry of sound through serrated planes of spaces that receive and reflect music.
The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff was created as a 450‐seat chamber recital hall and a 180‐seat theater overlooking Bute Park. Designed with rehearsal studios and an exhibition gallery, the project focused on internal performance spaces and responding to the building’s urban context.
York Theatre Royal has developed incrementally over 270 years. Two new lobbied entrances were designed to provide areas for gathering and orientation, while the project’s Victorian colonnade was glazed to give an animated face to the streetscape. Interior renovations were completed to support spaces on all levels for informal performances.