jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england

UK architecture firm jonathan tuckey design has completed a theater in the grounds of a school in south east england. the project plays an important role in repairing and enhancing the existing 85-acre campus of ‘horris hill’, a day and boarding preparatory school in rural berkshire. in addition to the new building, the project sees the transformation of a featureless car park into an animated civic square. furthermore, the ‘david brownlow theatre’ — named after its main benefactor — will open up to the wider community outside of teaching hours.

jonathan tuckey david brownlow
image © jim stephenson (also main image)

 

 

designed to host school assemblies, music recitals, and drama productions, the development comprises three spaces that seek to activate the whole campus: a congregating space around the entrance portico; a 160-seat indoor auditorium and performance space; and an outdoor amphitheater facing the woods and school playing fields. throughout the project, jonathan tuckey design employed natural materials to create a passively ventilated theater which sits harmoniously within the wooded setting of the campus. the building has been constructed using cross-laminated timber (CLT), an engineered wood structural system, and is clad with viroc wood fiber paneling.

jonathan tuckey david brownlow
image © nick dearden

 

 

the viroc was machine cut off-site from sheets to reduce waste, and pieced together by hand as one object of joinery. meanwhile, the red hue of the elevations references the brick of the neighboring victorian buildings. prominently positioned outside the theater, a tall portico structure can be used as a billboard to announce theater productions, while also functioning as an assembly space for small groups of pupils.

jonathan tuckey david brownlow
image © nick dearden

 

 

access is provided via an entrance lobby, acoustic threshold, and an entrance corridor, which leads into the auditorium. here, the CLT frame is left exposed and lined with beech battens of varying depths to reference the articulation of the external façade. meanwhile, light grey acoustic panels have been used to absorb sound and prevent echoes.

jonathan tuckey david brownlow
image © nick dearden

 

 

the undulating ceiling, finished in a deep dark blue to represent the night sky, has been acoustically modeled to project sound from the stage into the auditorium. finally, storage and washroom facilities are concealed beneath the raked seating and are accessed from the entrance lobby. see other projects by jonathan tuckey design here, including the transformation of a historical building in switzerland that dates back to the early 1600s.

jonathan tuckey david brownlow
image © jim stephenson

jonathan tuckey david brownlow theatre designboom 1800b

image © jim stephenson

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england
image © nick dearden

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england
image © nick dearden

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england
image © jim stephenson

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england
image © jim stephenson

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england
image © jim stephenson

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england
image © jim stephenson

jonathan tuckey design completes red theater as part of school campus in south east england
image © nick dearden

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: david brownlow theatre
location: horris hill preparatory school, newbury, berkshire
area: 528 sqm (theatre, amphitheatre, colonnade, portico)
theater internal area: 320 sqm
construction value: £1,742,790
cost per sqm: £3,300 per sqm
project schedule: march 2016 – sept 2020
construction: aug 2019 – sept 2020

 

architect: jonathan tuckey design
design team: jonathan tuckey, peter youthed, rob leechmere, james moore, molly wheeler, matthew farrer, belen salgado, rohullah kazemi, waheed kazemi
project architects: james moore and rob leechmere
structural engineers: webb yates engineers
M&E: skelly and couch ltd
theatre consultant: charcoalblue
timber engineers: eurban
QS: marstan BDB LLP
contractor: vale southern construction ltd
joinery: peak carpentry
competition organiser: redbook agency
photography: nick dearden, jim stephenson

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