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The hills are alive: MawsonKerr builds £2m Cumbrian music therapy centre

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Emerging Newcastle-based practice MawsonKerr Architects has created this £2 million music therapy centre in the Lake District for local charity, the Sunbeams Music Trust

The 600m² building on ‘a sensitive site’ overlooking Ullswater is clad in cedar shingles, insulated with sheep’s wool insulation and features a green roof.

According to the architects, the scheme incorporates ’Steiner principles of holistic design’ and the practice’s ’own contextually driven form and materiality agenda’.

The centre houses four music therapy rooms, recording studios and the main Glassical Hall -  a performance space named after American composer and charity patron Philip Glass.



Source: Simon Kennedy

The practice said: ’The building is designed as a home and advert for the amazing work Sunbeams do working with disadvantaged members of society. Bringing music into the building was on of the key drivers alongside harmonising the building with the natural surroundings and wider environment.

‘The building exemplifies what we believe good design to embody; passive environmental principles, contextual connection through materials and techniques and innovation in form and layout. The design incorporates ground source heat pumps, photovoltaics and locally sourced materials such as sheep’s wool insulation.’

Sunbeams pencil render

Sunbeams pencil render

Project data

Location Penrith, Cumbria
Type of project Music Therapy Centre
Client Sunbeams Music Trust
Architect MawsonKerr Architects
Structural engineer JS Engineering
M&E consultant JH Partners
Quantity surveyor  Johnstons
Acoustic Consultant DACS
Main contractor Thomas Armstrong Construction
Funding Private - various
Tender date December 2014
Start on site date February 2015
Completion date September 2016
Contract duration 19 months
Gross internal floor area 600m²
Form of contract and/or procurement JCT Standard Form of Contract
Total cost £2 million

Sunbeams sections

Sunbeams sections 


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