Killester College Performing Arts Centre, Alan Cubbon of Crosier Scott’s Architects’ winning design in the Public buildings / structures category of The 2020 BDAA National Design Awards, and National Design Memorial Award, is a study in bright and colourful modern design. A beautiful natural exterior beckons inward to a collection of ebullient spaces dedicated to any and all facets of the performing arts.

Crosier Scott’s latest addition to the Killester College Campus, reads a related design brief, is a new Performing Arts Centre purpose built to support the school’s nourishing arts curriculum through the provision of a dynamic learning and performance environment.

The new building and surrounding landscape works complement the existing campus and provide a practical and pragmatic addition to the school that accommodates a flexible range of activities.

The design incorporates bespoke music and drama facilities, internal and external performance and gathering zones, flexible and adaptable learning and activity spaces, offices and administration areas, as well as functional storage, garage and accessible toilet/change-room facilities alongside landscaped recreational spaces that provide an opportunity for further congregation and summertime performances.

The Centre encourages students to engage with drama and music, while at the same time providing a useful and utilized asset to the whole school community.

“It is vibrant, warm, welcoming and engaging, encouraging students to access and express themselves,” read a related design brief, “a place where the performing arts can be highlighted, celebrated and taught in purpose-built spaces that all students can enjoy.”

The design incorporates playful references to musicality through the use of material and colour, while the design fully exploits its location and orientation, weaving the new facility into the fabric of the existing campus and “providing a vibrant, healthy and sustainable environment that responds flexibly to the current and future performing arts requirement of the school.”

“The design provides a striking, appropriate and fit-for-purpose facility of bespoke music and drama departments,” read the design entry, “as well as flexible spaces and amenities that benefit the entire school community.”

The bright two-storey building is made up of a range of technologically rich and acoustically attenuated spaces, rooms and internal volumes.

“A plaza and covered arbor lead to a generous double height Agora,” read the design entry. “This fully glazed space supports active and passive use, acting as a dramatically engaging entry and working with the rejuvenated landscaping around the building to links the wider campus and incorporate an improved parking, pick-up and drop-off experience.”

Internally, function and access were both considered. Drama is located at ground level, allowing ease of movement for sets and props, adjacency to change and workshop facilities and access to performance and practice spaces.

Music is on the upper level as it requires a smaller overall footprint and benefits from a variety of acoustic and spatial interventions. Flexible rooms throughout utilise operable walls to create varying volumes.

“The building offers a purposefully bold addition to the existing campus, yet incorporates echoes of existing red and cream brickwork via abstract patterns derived from musical notes reflected throughout the interior in raw and painted ply, furniture and carpeting, and externally in colourful features and brickwork,” read the design entry.

“The overall design exploits location and orientation, weaving the new facility into the fabric of the campus to provide a vibrant, healthy and sustainable environment that responds to the school’s current and future requirements,” the brief concluded.

Crosier Scott Architects is a third-generation practice, with an extensive archive of dynamic work built for clients across a range of sectors. Their approach is client-centred, with design evolving through a robust process of listening, observing, challenging and investigating. They understand that great design is more than just good aesthetics. They develop solutions which promote function over form and advocate design that connects people to place.