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Parry gets over Bath disappointment with Wells school win

Eric Parry Architects (EPA) has won the competition to design a new music school for Wells Cathedral School in the centre of Wells, Somerset.

The practice saw off the likes of Richard Murphy Architects (scheme pictured bottom) to land the £3.5 million project, which will house a recital hall and flexible spaces for teaching, rehearsing, performing and recording.

Known as Cedars Hall, the building will sit in the heart of the Georgian school on the 'historically significant axis' with Wells Cathedral's Chapter House, preserving views from a famous cedar tree to the cathedral.

Unlike EPA's recently rejected Holburne Museum extension in Bath which was clad in uncompromisingly Modern materials (Eric Parry's rejection in Bath could mean curtains for Holburne Museum), the Wells design will incorporate local stone used on the nearby listed garden wall. The scheme will also boast a green roof, low-reflective glazing and matte, warm finished steel on the exterior facades.

Internally, the 400-seat recital hall will be finished in timber with exposed structural beams in the roof to 'enhance the acoustic performance of the space.'

Commenting on the appointment, Elizabeth Cairncross, head of Wells Cathedral School, said: 'Cedars Hall is a significant project not just for the school but for the whole community of Wells.

'From a group of outstandingly talented architects and design teams it's been a privilege to appoint Eric Parry Architects, whose vision and sensitive design places music at the heart of what we do.'

by Richard Waite

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