Canford School, Dorset Building: Canford School Chapel

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Canford School, Dorset, England : Chapel + Music School

Canford School Chapel Development, Dorset, southwest England, UK

28 Sep 2011

Canford School Chapel

Bennetts Associates wins Canford School Chapel project

Award-winning architect Bennetts Associates has won the competition to design a new Chapel and music school in the grounds of Charles Barry’s Grade 1 Listed Canford School in Dorset.

Located in 250 acres of mature parkland, the school has chosen to position the chapel at the edge of an area of formal gardens which provide the setting for the main school buildings. The sculptural form of the Chapel will create a new visual focus for the school, with the structure’s shape derived from the desire to capture views both of the arboretum and of Barry’s gothic centrepiece. Dramatic internal spaces are also created which help to provide the volume required for acoustics.

Canford School Chapel
image © Stale Eriksens

At 800 seats, the chapel will be large enough to accommodate whole-school assemblies as well as regular worship. Excellent acoustics for music mean that the chapel will also be used for recitals and concerts from a platform which is sized for an orchestra of ninety players plus a choir. The project also includes new music teaching classrooms, individual teaching and practice rooms and a smaller recital hall seating up to 150. Finally, new foyers and drama facilities are provided which link the project to the existing Layard Theatre which was completed in 1999.

Bennetts Associates approach places the Chapel and recital hall within wings of accommodation which will fan out from a new formal court into the surrounding parkland. The Victorian arboretum is extended towards the new buildings creating a powerful connection between the chapel, music school and the historic landscape which includes a remarkable 1000 year-old chestnut tree.

Canford School Chapel Canford School Chapel
images © Bennetts Associates

John Lever, Headmaster at Canford commented:

‘’We are very excited by the boldness and originality of a design which will sit beautifully alongside a listed historic building and which promises to mix style and practicality to splendid effect. It promises to be the finest building on this site for 150 years.”

Simon Erridge, Director at Bennetts Associates said:

“This project is an absolute joy, Canford have provided the rare combination of an enlightened client ,fascinating brief and rich, historically important site which create the perfect starting point for any design.”

Canford School Chapel images / information from Bennetts Associates

Bennetts Associates


To see all listed projects on a single map please follow this link.




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Comments / photos for the Canford School Chapel Dorset page welcome

Canford School – page

Website: England