Cumnor House School – Theatre
A new theatre in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Sussex completed in August 2008 won a Sussex Heritage Award in 2010.
The theatre seats 365 children and includes foyer, backstage facilities and music rehearsal rooms.
The theatre uses the natural slope of the land to achieve the raked auditorium. Its form responds to the historic crinkle-crankle garden wall nearby and to an ancient Yew tree adjacent to the building. Green credentials include locally sourced bricks – dug up form the earth within a mile of the site, untreated larch boarding and high levels of insulation and thermal mass, as well as a bio-diverse green roofs across the whole building.
There is a presumption against development in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so the success of this project depended on a reasoned assessment of the value of the theatre and school within the landscape, taking account of the value of the school and the new facility in the community as a whole.
The school describe the new space as ‘fantastic’, as the low ceilinged foyer, set sensitively within the existing landscape, gives way to the large auditorium.
- Danehill, Sussex, UK
- Cumnor House School
- Project Architect
- Marcus Beale
- Job Architect
- Kate Sanders, Amit Sarma