Project information.

  • Sector Education, Community
  • ClientUniversity of Kent
  • LocationCanterbury
  • Value£4.5m

The project.

The Colyer-Fergusson Hall forms part of the University of Kent’s entertainment offerings, featuring a concert hall large enough for a full orchestra and an audience of 350, along with practice rooms, offices and foyer. The building connects into the Gulbenkian, the on site theatre and cinema, via a shared foyer.

Timber is used throughout the Colyer-Fergusson building to provide acoustic qualities conducive to music and the main hall has been designed to accommodate performances of various sizes. The acoustics are able to be adjusted dependant on the performance being given via wrap round sound absorbing drapes which neatly stow away when not in use.

The building’s practice rooms are floating ‘box-in-box’ spaces which provides significant sound insulation for both the performer and passers-by. The main hall features retractable seating on both sides which provides excellent flexibility and can hold an 80 piece orchestra or 200 strong chorus.

The University demanded a building that delivered cost-effective carbon reductions without negative impact on the performance qualities of the venue. To aid in this ambition the Services Engineers, Max Fordham, created heating, lighting and ventilation systems that were effective, simple to use and easy to maintain.  To ensure maximum flexibility of use, the mechanical and electrical systems were sympathetically integrated with the architecture.

Extensive glazing provided abundant natural light throughout the building, including in most corridors. As a result, electric lighting does not have to be used during daytime rehearsals or classes. To provide the full range of light levels in the performance hall, energy-efficient LEDs for general usage complement a grid of tungsten lights that provide warm, even illumination during performances.

The building has gained a number accolades including:-

  • RIBA Regional Award for Architecture
  • RIBA National Award for Architecture
  • The Wood Awards: Winner, Commercial & Public Access
  • Stirling Prize mid-list


Services Used

"I just want to tell you what a stunning, world class hall it is! I haven't enjoyed playing anywhere as much for a long time. The feeling on stage is close to perfect, with that beautiful warm wood all around and the dimensions are just right: spacious but still intimate. The acoustics are just fantastic: one can hear a pin drop and comfortably explore the extremes of dynamics. The University of Kent should be very proud of this hall, and I for one can't wait to be back!"

Daniel Rowland: Leader of the Brodsky Quartet