Photo credit: Jim Stephenson
Photo credit: Jim Stephenson
Photo credit: Jim Stephenson

Eurban were approached by Johnathan Tuckey Design in 2016 for some early specialist input on the mass timber superstructure for this project. The architects had won a competition to design the new school auditorium for Horris Hill Preparatory School on their rural campus south of Newbury, Berkshire. Three years later Eurban were appointed as specialist timber engineers and subcontractors to carry out the design, supply & assembly of the CLT and glulam superstructure of the new theatre building.

From the outset, the project was intended to be a building central to the campus and community, and one which represented a sustainable future and healthy environment for the school. This led Jonathan Tuckey Design to specify natural materials, such as timber, for the structure of the building.

The main drivers for the inclusion of timber in this project came down to the following key considerations: sustainability, cost effectiveness, speed of construction, quality and, respect to the wood setting surrounding the theatre.

A wonderful assembly of timber products has been brought together to create this intimate performance space: from the main spruce CLT and glulam structure; to the beech battens fixed to the exposed CLT walls that create a pattern of vertical lines on the internal walls; from the stage, stepped seating and benches through to the treated pine glulam portico structure framing the building’s primary entrance to the north.

The PEFC certified CLT was fabricated by one of the largest CLT manufacturers in Europe, Stora Enso and the glulam was from Pabst, both located in Austria. The portico was fabricated in France by Piveteau Bois. The structure is predominantly left exposed, but rather than specifying the more expensive, highest visual grade, the architects specified industrial visual grade for all the internal CLT elements. This was not only to save cost but also because the walls are partially lined with vertical timber battens and acoustic panels, so a lower grade wall finish was acceptable and worked well.

The theatre seats up to 160 people and the timber lined interior provides an appropriate backdrop to the drama that will be enjoyed by both the school and wider community.

Project Team:

Client: Horris Hill Prep School

Architects: Jonathan Tuckey Design

Timber Engineers and Specialist Installers: Eurban

Engineers: Webb Yates

Main Contractors: Vale Southern Construction

Suppliers (CLT): Stora Enso

Suppliers (External Portico): Piveteau Bois

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