Symmetrys are the structural and civil engineers for this new performing arts centre for Alfriston School in Beaconsfield, a school for special needs children. The new two storey building will house a double height performance space, classrooms, editing suites and rehearsals rooms for daily education, school performances and assemblies.
The new building is formed of two duo pitch shapes, with gables angled to follow the surrounding buildings. The external surface of all walls and roofs will be fair-faced concrete, in a pink hue, with a mixture of finishes including fluting, plain and exposed aggregate. Symmetrys have used their extensive experience of architectural concrete to establish how this can be achieved in a cost-effective manner. Key to this has been the structural approach where the flat planes of the roofs and walls all support each other in the manner of a Victorian roof, thereby eliminating any dedicated structural framing for the building envelope. Internally, where structure will be concealed, the upper floors are concrete slabs supported on a mixture of steelwork and concrete walls. Below ground, Symmetrys have adopted soakaways in the adjacent playing fields to minimise storm water leaving the site.