Located in 250 acres of mature parkland, the school has chosen to position the chapel at the edge of an area of formal gardens which provide the setting for the main school buildings.
The sculptural form of the Chapel will create a new visual focus for the school, with the structure’s shape derived from the desire to capture views both of the arboretum and of Barry’s gothic centrepiece. Dramatic internal spaces help to provide the volume required for acoustics.
With 800 seats, the chapel will be large enough to accommodate whole-school assemblies as well as regular worship. Excellent acoustics for music mean that the chapel will also be used for recitals and concerts from a platform which is sized for an orchestra of ninety players plus a choir. The project also includes new music teaching classrooms, individual teaching and practice rooms and a smaller recital hall seating up to 150. Finally, new foyers and drama facilities are provided which link the project to the existing Layard Theatre which was completed in 1999.
The approach places the Chapel and recital hall within wings of accommodation which will fan out from a new formal court into the surrounding parkland. The Victorian arboretum is extended towards the new buildings creating a powerful connection between the chapel, music school and the historic landscape which includes a remarkable 1000 year-old chestnut tree.