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Níall McLaughlin gets go-ahead for music space at Cambridge University

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Níall McLaughlin Architects has won permission to build a small music practice and performance space at one of Cambridge University’s oldest colleges

The 77m² stone-built rehearsal and recital space will sit in the centre of Avery Court at the college’s central campus Trinity Hall.

It will be named the Wong Avery Gallery after the project’s primary funders, the family of the late Dennis Avery, the college fellow after whom the court is named.

The designs are for a simple loadbearing construction made of thin stone columns and beams. It is composed of cubic forms, with a Greek cross plan-form.



Over the crossing, a glazed lantern will bring light into the centre of the building and is lined with acoustic shutters.

The shutters are adjustable, allowing the reverberation time of the space to be tuned according to the number of musicians and audience members for each rehearsal or performance.

Performances will take place in the centre of the hall, with audience seating in bay windows at the ends of each arm, the walls of which will be lined with shelves to store sheet music.

As part of the proposals, the outside court will be designed by landscape architect Kim Wilkie, with a large paved area surrounded by borders filled with green shrubs and climbing plants.

Jeremy Morris, master of Trinity Hall, said: ’Dennis Avery treasured Trinity Hall, and provided generously for its music and cultural life.

‘The new Wong Avery Gallery is an exciting new development for Avery Court, which will commemorate his legacy and provide a state of the art resource for Trinity Hall’s musical endeavours. We are grateful to the Avery-Tsui Foundation for their support.’

The project is due to start on site in the upcoming academic year.

Project data

Client Trinity Hall
Architect Niall McLaughlin Architects
Landscape architect Kim Wilkie
Planning consultant Turnberry
Structural engineer Smith and Wallwork
M&E consultant Max Fordham
Quantity surveyor Gleeds
Acoustic Consultant Paul Gillieron
Completion date 2020
Gross internal floor area 77m2
Form of contract and/or procurement Traditional


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Readers' comments (1)

  • Couldn't the building have been line up with the arches of the building behind? As it is, however elegant the construction it looks stuck randomly and insultingly in front of an elegant historic building. Shifting it left would create a symmetric alignment - or is that too "classical"?

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