Concrete Elegance: Meeting Places and Music Spaces

Music and Performing Arts Centre, Sevenoaks School: Tim Ronalds Architects

“We resolved at Sevenoaks to make a building entirely of solid natural materials, rather than plaster and paint. Many of the elements were made of Douglas Fir, combined with a pink brick and cool concrete on the inside, and with grey brick and zinc on the outside. A feeling of warmth and solidity throughout was our aim. I share the view of the great theatre director Peter Brook that warmth is the first requisite for a performance space. Despite this limited palette, we strove to make each element harmonise.”

Environmental considerations and services design play a larger part in the design than might be apparent. The concert hall is naturally ventilated as well as highly soundproof and is cooled by groundwater. The building is comprehensively daylit. Integrating services in a complex and irregular building which has few suspended ceilings was itself a challenge.

An Gaelaras, Derry, Northern Ireland: O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects

An Gaeláras is designed for public life and community involvement. Its inwardness is not an anti-social reaction or a defensive strategy. The intention is to enhance the appropriation of collective space by locating the focus of the architectural project within the organism of the building, to find home territory embodied inside the experience of the structure rather than expressed through exterior representation. The landlocked site is contained on three sides with one narrow end facing the street.

The central court is thought of as an outside room locked within the form. A board marked concrete trapezoidal courtyard is carved through the four floors of the building with stairs, bridges and platforms crossing and overlook the skylit volume. Each floor level is associated with one of the functions of the Irish language institute; culture, enterprise, teaching, and administration.

Tim Ronalds, Tim Ronalds Architects
Willie Carey, O'Donnell + Tuomey Architects

Chaired by David Bennett.

The talk is free to attend but booking is essential.

Sponsored by The Concrete Centre and Pieri Grace Products Ltd.