The Communications & Music Centre

This RIBA shortlisted statement building provides flexible new music and ICT facilities for pupils at this sought-after college in a west Berkshire AONB. Designs were created to address the need for quiet classrooms, alongside sometimes noisy practice and performance spaces.

  • Location

    Pangbourne College, Berkshire

  • Architect

    Mitchell Taylor Workshop

  • Client

    Pangbourne College

  • Sector

    Education & Community

  • Status


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Modern building makes statement at Berkshire college

The main structural design uses load bearing masonry walls from ground floor to roof. A two-storey steel frame element adjacent to the main entrance accommodates the Recital Hall, specifically designed to maximise acoustic performance. To allow for flexible open-plan space and ground-floor classrooms, the first floor uses a pre-stressed floor, incorporating steel beams. The roof construction comprises steel beams with infill timber floor joists.


The building is supported on continuous mass concrete strip footings. The steel framed hall is supported on reinforced concrete strip and pad foundations. Structural framing is incorporated within the external walls to provide for large span architectural featured openings.

The location of the new building within the school grounds is close to several mature trees. While the removal of several small trees was required, a significant retained beech tree is located to the rear of the building. In this area foundation depths were deepened in accordance with NHBC Chapter 4.2 [Building adjacent to existing trees]. Additional consideration was given to root protection of the tree in accordance with the arboriculturist report.


The build was to a very high standard in terms of acoustics and also energy design. The scheme met the stringent BREEAM Excellent standards through a passive design, super insulation, high thermal mass and careful control of natural light and ventilation.