The Design Philosophy:
Architects have long sought to understand what makes one shape more pleasing than another. The square, double square and golden rectangle have stubbornly re-surfaced in treatises of aesthetics since the time of Plato. Leonardo de Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (1490) is perhaps the most recognisable visualisation, followed much later by Le Corbusier’s Modulor (1946).
In 1992 Bryan Avery first published his study of the golden rectangle, ‘Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder’, in the Architectural Review. In 2007 he developed the Leonardo and Corbusian diagrams to an existentialist view, measuring not from the top of the head but from the eyes, the very focus of our experience. In Avery’s diagram, man (the architect) has an eye level of 1650mm, forming a 3300mm square around him and a double square between his outstretched palms.
The new foyer is set at an angle to reflect the sightlines and picturesque irregularity of the historic campus. This angle translates into a 1650mm triangular planning grid which, with the 3300mm ceiling height, defines the double square glass panels. Thus, the floor, ceiling and walls are coordinated by a unifying geometry relating directly to the context and human scale, giving the foyer an elegant serenity.
Fitted with a rooflight and mirrors, the white glass prism glows ethereally in an ever-changing pattern of shadows, bringing nature in all its capriciousness into dialogue with the geometry. The prism becomes a welcoming beacon, symbolising the essence of the school’s traditional but forward-looking aspirations.
The innovative and flexible new theatre has been carefully inserted into the existing hall. It shares the foyer’s proportional rules and follows the ancient geometry of the Vesica Piscis to intersect the realms of the actor and audience and bring a great intensity to the experience.Location: Derbyshire, UK
Architect: Avery Associates Architects
Title: 400 Hall Repton School Theatre Completion Date: April 2011 Photographers: Tim Soar and Tim Stallion
Contract Administrator: Tony Simms
Structural Engineer: SDA Burton
Quantity Surveyor: Armsons
Theatre Consultant: Charcoal Blue
Services Engineer: Fulcrum First
2013 RIBA Building of the Year / East Midlands
2012 RICS Winner / Design and Innovation / East Midlands
2012 CIAT Winner / Technical Excellence in Architectural Technology