Performing Arts Centre, Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls

Date Complete 2020
Location UK Wales
Client Monmouth School for Girls
Architect Levitt Bernstein

Project summary

The Performing Arts Centre was unveiled as part of the school’s 125th anniversary programme. It provides modern, high performance facilities at the 19th century Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls. The aim was to create an environment for students to develop a passion for music, theatre and dance.

The demolition of a former gymnasium made way for a new recital hall, music technology suite and multi-arts teaching and rehearsal spaces.

The design brief was to provide high acoustic performance spaces to enhance the students’ learning experience.

Sandy Brown was appointed to provide advice for the Performing Arts Centre.


Important considerations were:

  • Design of the building envelope to control of external noise ingress and control of operational noise egress from the teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces.
  • Airborne and impact sound insulation of internal elements such as walls, floors and doors to ensure that an appropriate level of acoustic separation is provided between spaces.
  • The inclusion of acoustic finishes in teaching, rehearsal and performance spaces to control diffusion, reverberation time and reverberant noise build up.

Control of noise and vibration from building services both internally and externally


Detailed design

The site is located on the edge of the school campus and controlling operational noise egress from music and dance activities drove the facade performance requirements.

The music rehearsal spaces are ventilated via a bespoke attenuated natural vent solution integrated within a window bench. Along with high performance external walls and glazing, this allows students to play loudly while minimising music egress to neighbouring buildings and nearby residents.

Enhanced acoustic performance standards for airborne and impact sound insulation were incorporated to provide a professional quality recording studio, music production space and music rehearsal spaces.

The multi-purpose hall was developed so it can be flexibly used for music and drama performances. Acoustically this meant incorporating diffusive wall finishes and moveable sound absorbent finishes to allow variation of reverberation depending on the required use.