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Music School

Part 1 Project 2003
Will Lee
Qibao Kenneth Koh
University of Westminster, UK
My design for a Music and Photography School in Marylebone was initiated with a study of the urban context, identifying the ‘mews’ as the prevalent typology. By looking at the cult of the individual and exploring the concept that music is created in distinct parts which combine harmoniously, I separated the functions of the brief and accommodated each in it’s own unique form. Just as in music the elements combine harmoniously, so do the elements of the music school to create the whole. The elements are arranged using a reinterpretation of the mews.
Will Lee
Qibao Kenneth Koh

The project, set in the second semester in Studio 4, focussed upon designing a facility for music, dance and/or film. Will chose to concentrate on music, a place for itinerant musicians, to reside and perform.

The site given was in Blandford Street in London and afforded students the opportunity to deal with the issues of scale and streetscape within a particular urban setting.

The studio field trip took the students to Paris where we were welcomed at the Conservatoire of Music, close to Parc de la Valette, and also at the Cite de la Musique both by Christian de Portzamparc. The urban parks at Bercy and Andre Citroen were also studied. Back in London a visit to the Royal Academy of Music, and, self directed visits to a variety of other clubs and music venues were undertaken.

His interest in the music of Bob Dylan and the architecture of the late James Stirling were also influential in Will’s scheme and eventually an analysis of Dylan’s music and Stirling’s love of geometric volumes informed the design strategy and brought about the distillation of functions into separate forms.

The sealing of the urban streetscape with an administration block and the residential accommodation allowed the performance and public spaces to be arranged within the drum, which rises through a glazed roof to dominate the site. The cafeteria sits within the concourse and has access to the courtyard.

The main concourse, within which the drum sits, gives access to the other two blocks. To the east are photographic studios and to the north the recording suites.

Although certain design issues were not fully resolved we felt that Will had produced a proposal that was robust, albeit slightly stylised, which addressed the issues of its urban context quite well. His range of drawings and studies showed a clear understanding of the value of simple and immediate visual communication.


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