Category Archives: Building for the future

The new Colyer-Fergusson centre for Music Performance project.

Celebrations mark five years of Colyer-Fergusson

Monday 23 October, 2012: the Music Department bids a fond farewell to its home since the mid-80s in Eliot College, and moves into the newly-built Colyer-Fergusson Building, to begin music-making in a purpose-built, award-winning concert hall and practice facilities.

Fast-forward to Monday 23 October, 2017, and the Department celebrated the five-year anniversary since Colyer-Fergusson opened its doors to both the University and the local community (and beyond) with a reception, open rehearsals, tours of the building, and a special exhibition of photographs from the eighteen-month construction project.

It was a real pleasure to welcome donors, supporters, alumni, friends, and key people involved in the initial project, including Tim Ronalds Architects, project managers, and the former Chairman of the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, the Hon Jonathon Monckton, to share the celebrations. This wonderful building was made possible thanks to a major donation from The Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, a legacy from Sir James Colyer-Fergusson himself, contributions from over 200 other individual donors and support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Matched Funding Scheme; a true coming together of the generosity of Sir James together with many of the donors and supporters of music-making at the University, to establish a landmark building that has afforded new opportunities for rehearsing and performing.

Thanks to their generosity, the Music Department now offers an ever-developing breadth of musical opportunities, both to showcase the extraordinary commitment and talent of the students (and staff) who, each year, participate in extra-curricular performances, as well as to provide the main concert venue for many of the local community groups, schools, youth organisations and visiting summer schools. Alongside other major venues throughout the region, Colyer-Fergusson has now become a key element in the south-east’s flourishing cultural reputation.

Throughout the day, rehearsals in the hall featured student and staff musicians including the Chamber Choir, string ensemble, third-year Music Scholarship flautist Natanya Freedman, members of the Musical Theatre Society, and a special Come and Sing in which everyone present arrayed themselves around the choral risers to sing Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

On behalf of the Music team, our thanks to everyone who attended, who was involved in making the Colyer-Fergusson Building possible, and to the Events team who kept the invited guests fed, watered and on occasion even chased errant balloon-displays which were endeavouring to escape down Giles Lane.

Here’s to the next five years…

Picture-perfect: #walkSwaleMedway exhibition graces new gallery space

It’s with an heraldic fanfare of trumpets that we’re delighted to announce that the new Colyer-Fergusson Gallery space is now open, with its first exhibition being the evocative and scenic #walkSwaleMedway project by Faversham-based artist, Hope Fitzgerald

The upper balcony now hosts an array of jewel-like images in beautiful frames, inspired by Hope’s walking project, and will be on display for two weeks until Friday 1 May. The exhibition is also the first of several ancillary events for the Tokaido Road chamber opera coming to the Gulbenkian next month, which explores similar ideas of travel and landscape. Hope’s exhibition is a response to, and is inspired by, her walking around the Swale area; read more about the project here.

   

   

Admission is free: come and lose yourself in the landscape of the county in Colyer-Fergusson. IdeasTest#walkSwaleMedway is sponsored by Arts Council funding via Ideas Test.

Colyer-Fergusson Gallery launches next month

One of the very great strengths about Colyer-Fergusson is its mulitplicity of purposing – the flexibility of the concert-hall, the practice-rooms functioning as green rooms during events, the social area that also works as a performance space – and we are very excited to be drawing further on the building’s potential next month by launching the Colyer-Fergusson Gallery, which will run the length of the upper balcony.

Balcony_CF_GalleryThe building welcomes plenty of visitors on a daily basis – people using the practice rooms, ensembles using the rehearsal spaces, music teachers working with the Scholarship students, as well as members of the University community and the general public using the social areas or passing through on their way through to the Gulbenkian. At weekends, the building throngs with external events; choral concerts, orchestral performances, visiting performers. The first-floor balcony is a large space that offers scope for visual art to be presented to those moving through the building, and next month sees the first of three planned exhibitions which will adorn its walls.

The first two exhibitions form part of the Tokaido Road project (a touring chamber opera with a libretto by Nancy Gaffield, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, to music by Nicola LeFanu, which comes to the Gulbenkian Theatre in May):  Walk Swale Medway by Faversham-based artist Hope Fitzgerald, and Saxon Shore Way: a response to Tokaido Road by the local collective, Earthbound Women. Both exhibitions will explore similar themes of journeying and of travel, as part of the project, drawing inspiration from the landscape and the history of Kent. In September, to coincide with the Alumni Weekend, the gallery will host a photographic exhibition by the University’s very own Matt Wilson, whose excellent photographs of music events often feature on these pages.

Image: Hope Fitzgerald
Image: Hope Fitzgerald

There’ll be more about each exhibition nearer the time. Walk Swale Medway will be the first to grace the exhibition space, and will run from Friday 14 April to Friday 1 May. Leaflets about the new gallery can now be found in the foyer.

Reach new heights with the University of Kent: the Kent Wheel opens

Well, ok, it’s not directly about music on this, the music blog, but it’s pretty exciting, so I’m going to write about it anyway!

The Kent Wheel opened this afternoon on the University campus, a talisman to draw the gaze from afar as it will stand tall on the greensward between Eliot and Rutherford Colleges over the next three weeks. The ferris-wheel is here as part of the beginning of a year-long celebration of the University’s fiftieth year, which will celebrate the University’s history, its ever-growing alumni community, the achievements of its staff and students, as well as its place as a part of the local community.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Keith Mander gave a short speech reflecting on the many changes in the political and cultural landscape over the past fifty years, before wielding the scissors to cut the ribbon and declare the Kent Wheel open.

A team of specially-invited guests then took the opportunity for the first ride. The views across the region promise to be quite spectacular.

We’re planning a music team trip on the Kent Whel very soon; pictures will follow…

Reimagining the concert-hall: Yingqi Lin

See the concert-hall differently; Masters student Kiki Lin makes marvellous things happen virtually in the Colyer-Fergusson Building


 

Digital FX whizz: Kiki Lin
Digital FX whizz: Kiki Lin

My name is Yingqi Lin, a Digital Visual Effects MSc student in 2014, and I’ve just finished my year.

This showreel is the best work of mine when studying in Kent this year. I chose the concert-hall and staircase because I love the warm orange lighting in the music building and the wooden texture is perfectly meet what I need for the flower-growing scene.

A long time ago I wished I could do the plant growing, and the staircase was just the right place and when I saw flowers growing, it did give me a vibrant feeling!

I love vfx, and love this university. Thanks for everything and everyone that I met in the UK this year.

Music building wins Wood Award

We’re delighted to announce that the Colyer-Fergusson Building was a winner at yesterday’s Wood Awards.

Wood you believe it...
Wood you believe it…Image: Tim Ronalds Architects

The building won the “Commercial and Public Access” category at the Wood Awards yesterday evening, for its deployment of wood in construction, particularly the use of Douglas Fir. As Tim Ronalds Architects, designers of the building, state:

The walls and ceiling are completely lined in Douglas Fir Plywood, supported on a steel frame, and braced with solid Douglas Fir rails which stiffen the linings to avoid any unwanted resonance at musical frequencies, and provide acoustic diffusion. The acoustics can be modulated to suit music-making of all kinds with curtains that transform the interior into a soft, fabric-lined space, and retract behind the timber wall linings when not in use.

The design provides an unusual degree of flexibility for a hall with world-class acoustics…The retractable seating is finished with Douglas Fir fascias, continuing the material and rhythm of the hall lining panels.

The new Colyer-Fergusson concert hall
The new Colyer-Fergusson concert hall

Read more about the building on the Wood Award website here.

Wood you believe it: another award nomination

We’re delighted to reveal that the Colyer-Fergusson Music Building has been shortlisted for the Wood Awards 2013, which celebrate excellence in design in wood.

cf_hall_webIt is one of thirty UK architecture, furniture and design projects that feature wood to be selected for the awards’ shortlist. The winners, including the main Gold Award, will be announced at a ceremony in London on 19 November hosted by the Worshipful Company of Carpenters.

This follows on from our RIBA National Award for architectural excellence earlier this year, when we were one of only two buildings in the Southeast to win an award and one of forty-three to win nationally.

Designed by Tim Ronalds Architects, the Colyer-Fergusson Music Building is notable for its wide range of innovative design features, which include the extensive use of wood.

Fingers crossed…