Leys Music School

Leys School Campus, Cambridge


This recent Music School sits next to Edwardian buildings forming the historic core of the Leys campus. It is set behind mature trees, and on the open ground beside the playing fields.  It is an extremely rare addition to Trumpington Street, a prominent route into Cambridge city centre.  The form and materials of the design have been carefully considered to achieve a contemporary, well-mannered reinterpretation of the older school architecture.

The building plan is based upon a simple rectangular form, with projecting bays on each of the four elevations. The main north staircase echoes the projecting bay window on the adjacent Stamp Building. Like its counterpart, the bay is shown with a flat copper roof.  Together with carefully detailed brickwork, the gable ends are finished in stone, taking their lead from the Edwardian buildings around the school.  The gables are cut away at each corner, supported on brick columns, providing the entrance porch and glazing for the reception area.  

The elevations to Trumpington Road and the playing fields continue the theme of the columned base, with inset brick panels, structuring the fenestration.  Centrally, the building projects out as a curved bay with a copper clad fin, or baffle, projecting noise away from the practice rooms within. 

The practice rooms, offices, classrooms and library are arranged around central corridors in a compact, cost effective plan.  The 160 seat recital room is located on the first floor and opens into the roof space to provide the spatial volume required for excellent acoustics.  The bay window provides views of the trees and playing fields, whilst faceted internal walls and integrated acoustic drapes allow the space to be fine-tuned for different performance requirements.

Opened by Julian Lloyd Webber and commended in RIBA East Awards.

Architect: Cowper Griffith

Client: The Trustees