September 18 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Saffron Walden’s world-class performance venue has made it through to the national finals of a prestigious awards scheme.
Saffron Hall picked up the Design through Innovation category at the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) East of England Awards 2014, and also went on to win the overall Project of the Year award.
John Hartley, headteacher at the County High School, and Mark Hayes, chairman of Saffron Academy Trust, were guests at the awards ceremony, held at Sopwell House Hotel, St Albans last Thursday (May 8).
A record number of guests attended the glittering awards evening, which attracted pioneering entries from all over the region.
Mr Hartley said: “We are absolutely delighted that Saffron Hall has been recognised by RICS as a highly innovative and ground-breaking project.
“These awards endorse the close partnership that exists between the school and the Yellow Car Charitable Trust which has brought this project to fruition.
“Over the next few years Saffron Hall will bring immense benefits in terms of the quality of the school’s educational provision in the arts whilst, at the same time, hosting orchestras and musicians of national and indeed international renown.”
The £10m, 730-seat concert hall, which officially opened in November, was designed by architects the Tooley & Foster Partnership.
For the Design through Innovation award, judges looked for evidence that “the creative use of innovative design and technical innovation has enhanced a project across a wide range of criteria”. They commented that “Saffron Hall provides a first class concert hall in a conventional high school. It is used for assemblies, examinations and school productions as well as being a state-of-the-art auditorium which offers world class facilities unrivalled in the state education system and, most likely, in the private sector too”.
For the Project of the Year award, Saffron Hall was judged overall as “an outstanding example of best practice by professionals working in both the built and natural environments”.
RICS concluded that Saffron Hall’s programme, which combines school and amateur events with performances by professional artists and ensembles of national and international stature, “maximises the educational and outreach opportunities” provided by its location.
Saffron Hall now goes through to the RICS national final awards ceremony in October at the Savoy Hotel in London.