Snape Maltings, 2010

an expanded creative campus for music teaching and performance

Snape Maltings has become an internationally important centre for contemporary classical music, combining performance, teaching and artist development.

Built on the wide marshlands of Suffolk’s east coast, the former industrial buildings, much altered and adapted over time, have an elegiac quality that has attracted artists and audiences since the original Arup Associates’ wonderful concert hall was completed here in 1969 for Benjamin Britten’s Aldeburgh Festival.

The three, phased projects that we have completed here build on that legacy, seeking to protect the crucial, delicate ecology of creative activity, architecture and landscape while further expanding the artistic and communal capacity of the music campus. The centrepiece of our work is a new orchestral rehearsal studio, adaptable for a seated recital audience of 350.

A second rehearsal and performance studio has been converted from a derelict kiln building, retaining the smoked timber roof structure.

We have made further practice rooms, support facilities, an artists’ cafe and a central green room and foyer by carefully curating existing and new elements within formerly derelict granary buildings. New roof forms are based on vernacular precedents, modulated to achieve optimum acoustic conditions within.

Each element of the new campus has been designed to connect and interact in an informal, organic way, inviting exploration and discovery and encouraging visitors, audiences, staff, performers and students to mix naturally.

A further element of the project has been to convert a number of derelict maltings to residential use, allowing a more permanent inhabitation of the site. Elsewhere, existing independent retail and catering spaces have been upgraded and expanded. The small Dovecote Studio is illustrated in a separate project page.

Tap to cycle the gallery

A material palette of reclaimed Suffolk brick, agricultural corrugated roofing, Welsh slate, reclaimed timber, weathered steel and concrete, have been deployed to align the language of new work with the existing spaces, extrapolating the organic process of accretion and gradual change that has been going on for over 150 years.

“The 350-seater Britten Studio, will surely come to rank as one of the most attractive spaces for chamber music in Britain.” Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph


snape maltings

Main contractor

haymills, ellison steady & hawes

structural engineer

price & myers

services engineer

ernest griffiths

quantity surveyor

davis langdon

theatre consultant


acoustic consultant

arup acoustics

picture credits

philip vile, andy chopping, jeremy young

Behind the scenes
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