Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University needed to remodel an existing Student Union into a new music facility. Working to a limited timescale and a budget of £1m, Clague Architects’ Higher Education team transformed the structure into the Maxwell Davis music building. The work had to be completed during summer recess and, working closely with contractor Coombs, Clague chose materials for its designs based on their quality, cost and lead time, ensuring there were no delays to the project. Clague designed acoustically isolated practice rooms around the edge of the building, IT suites and performance spaces. The team also took the brief beyond its original scope to infill the atrium and increase teaching space. The project was delivered on time and under budget.

The redevelopment of Canterbury Christ Church’s student union building is one of our Higher Education projects.

A key challenge was the need to complete the work at the end of the academic year, before the commencement of the new one.

The refurbishment was undertaken over the summer holidays – we identified and implemented strict processes before building began to avoid any delays.

Working closely with contractor Coombs, we chose materials for the project on the basis of quality, cost and lead-in time, with a design sympathetic to the existing and surrounding buildings. Some of the final ventilation components were fabricated off-site, to allow for quick installation.

As the building was to be used as a new music facility, our team had to thoroughly understand the existing structure of the building and, by doing so, were able to design acoustically isolated practice rooms around the outer edge of the building.

Named after Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, the English composer, conductor and Master of the Queen’s Music (2004-2014), the site now includes 16 practice rooms, new IT suites, performance spaces and new audio visual and lighting equipment.

During the design phase, the original bar area was identified as an opportunity to increase floor space. By in-filling the central atrium that provided the building’s original ventilation, the team created more teaching space. Our brief was pushed beyond its original scope, delivered on time and within budget.