25 July 2018
New world-class recital hall for Wells Cathedral School
Cedars Hall, a world-class performing arts venue, is the most recent development in the history of Wells Cathedral School. The design enhances acoustic performance while minimising the impact on the surrounding landscape.
Music has been at the heart of Wells Cathedral School since it was founded in 909. From Gregorian chant to contemporary repertoire, the school encourages students to push musical boundaries through innovation and creativity.
Opened in autumn 2016 and designed by leading London architect, Eric Parry, Cedars Hall, a world-class performing arts venue, is the most recent development in the school’s history.
The facilities lie at the historically significant axis of Wells Cathedral Chapter House, and both function as gathering spaces for the local community.
Acoustic requirements dictated the proportions of the recital hall. The design sought to minimise the impact on the historic, listed landscape, while maintaining views to the cathedral by using the sectional device of partially burying the performance space and employing set-back clerestory windows at roof level.
The articulated, curved ceiling serves to modulate the acoustic interior of the main hall, which can accommodate 400 people. On the upper floor, there are dedicated spaces for woodwind and percussion, each with glazed observation rooms for the specifics of teaching music. The generous top-lit foyer built against the curve of the historic liberty wall doubles up as a brass section rehearsal space.
This new building complements the school’s former regular venue, Wells Cathedral, providing much-needed flexibility regarding performance, teaching and rehearsal spaces. The cathedral was purposely built for worship, choir, organ and instrumental music, while the school’s new building extends these possibilities to include other forms of music.