Music Project – Springfield Convent School
Springfield Convent School New Music Annex
Client: Springfield School
Contractor: Habitat Decorators
QS: Watermarque Consulting
Landscape Architect: TK-LA
Structural Engineer: Meny-Gibert and Associates
Civil Engineer: Meny-Gibert and Associates
Fire Engineer: Integrate Consulting Engineers
and Acoustic Engineer: Mackenzie Hoy Consulting Engineers
The new Annex showcases and celebrates the talents of its ever-growing Music Department. Musical programme spills out into the new stepped courts, where once there was just a path to somewhere else.
The School needed a series of additional facilities, such as acoustically appropriate practice venues for band, marimba and ensemble, as well as small practice rooms, offices and a large theory classroom.
The project became just as much about the inside as the outside, almost like a series of fractals – from the main courtyard surrounded by historic facades, breaking up into smaller courts, to large internal practice venues, to tiny practice rooms tucked in the roof.
As is usual for our practice, we worked closely with the Landscape Architects (TKLA), with one hand not quite knowing where the other begins or ends. As the courtyard fragments to create a series of places within the singular nature of the broader space, so the building attempts to tuck itself back and into the landscape, to allow for a strong reading of the existing fabric.
Both the plan and the section are informed by the desire to be a secondary reading within the fold of these significant buildings – with the Chapel as the primary focus.
One enters the courtyard at the higher level, with the Chapel to the left. The geometry of the new shifts to give pause and threshold to Chapel. The stepped walls of the new also serve to invite one into the main court.
The first floor sets back and sits lower in scale than the existing buildings. Sightlines across to the main Music building from Chapel entrance and vice versa were important, resulting in a first floor stage. An unexpected delight is the rich acoustic quality of song bouncing off the surrounding walls.
Music has played an important role at Springfield since its foundation in 1871. In 1922 a new Music block was built with teaching and practice rooms on the ground floor, and a hall upstairs. As the school grew, it became clear that expansion was necessary.
As is always the norm with our wonderful architects CCNIA, the surrounding landscape and the Convent Chapel received the same meticulous planning and consideration as the new building. This has resulted in a most attractive and useful courtyard, enjoyed daily by children, staff and sisters alike. Music concerts take place regularly and are greatly enjoyed by families and friends.There is a parish mass in the chapel every Sunday. Once a month refreshments are served from the large ground floor of the new building with people overflowing into the courtyard. There is great appreciation from the sisters and parishioners for this new facility
Sister Rosemary Commins, Dominican Sister
The new Music annex and surrounds has been a wonderful addition to the Senior School environment. Upstairs, the building has provided fresh, bright rooms for the teaching and practise of different music genres. A versatile classroom and outdoor performance area provide plenty of options for all. Downstairs the two performance spaces can be opened up to provide a larger performance area for the use of bands and choirs. This has also become a space that is used for conferences and school functions such as parent teacher meetings and social gatherings.
The landscaped surrounds have created a peaceful heart for the senior school and helped rejuvenate an area that was largely unused. It is used informally during break times and for semi-formal meeting of grade or house groups. It has also helped to reconnect the chapel area to the Senior School. This has been made possible through this integrated building and landscaping project.
Geoffrey Quinn, Deputy Head of School