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t Hilda’s Performing Arts Centre
(PAC) was designed to provide an arena
suited to high-quality learning, as both
a performance and teaching space.
The brief requested the facility have the
capacity to seat the entire senior school and
staff in a flexible auditorium arrangement.
Offering a 900-seat auditorium, 600-person
capacity foyer, stage, orchestra pit, storage
facilities, kitchen and appropriate amenities,
the PAC has given a new tier of functionality
to the school.
The main foyer is split over three levels, while
a visual link that connects the levels was created
through the warmth of natural timber wrapping
and spiralling through the white, monochromatic
interior. The foyer is passively ventilated, with
automated louvres linked to a BMS system that
purges the space when internal temperatures
reach a certain level. During the winter months,
underfloor heating is used.
The auditorium is an intimate, formal space that
works for both small and large performance and
audience scenarios. It incorporates an impressive
300-person capacity stage in full choir mode,
a 25-person orchestra pit under the stage, a mixing
room, plus a large storage capacity and dressing
rooms in an adjacent building with a direct
connection to the stage.
Timber panelling adds a tactile element of detail
that serves to improve the aesthetic and acoustic
performance of the space. This is complemented by
the tasteful vibrancy of the seating. Both elements
were designed to add warmth to the building’s
interior, acting as both a practical and appealing
design solution to the issue of break-out noise
The building’s exterior was heavily influenced
by the nature of its surroundings, and as
such harmonises with the vernacular of the
neighbouring structures. Three main components
make up the building fabric: the transparent
‘court’ facing facade, the monolithic lower plinth,
and the textured solid wall. Apart from the glazed
eastern facade, which creates a modern, open and
timeless feel, the majority of the remaining three
sides of the building are constructed using pre-
cast concrete panels.
Situated in the heart of well-established
school grounds, the Performing Arts Centre
opens onto the school’s courtyard, providing
has a sense of space and elegance suited to the
St Hilda’s environment.
St Hilda’s Performing Arts Centre | CHRISTOU | EDUCATION INSTITUTIONAL
Photography: Robert Frith, Acorn.
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