First look at St Andrews’ Laidlaw Music Centre

Following a design competition in the summer of 2016, work has begun on Flanagan Lawrence’s design of a new Music Centre for the University of St Andrews

Close to the medieval heart of the ancient Scottish University town, the Laidlaw Music Centre will provide a new home for the current Music Centre in a building which will enable community access, professional performance, tuition and rehearsal, and the study of music as part of the undergraduate degree programme. The new facility will support musical engagement and complement the Byre Theatre, offering a range of soundproofed spaces for practice, individual tuition, academic lectures, and ensemble and orchestral rehearsals. Facilities will also include a music technology suite.

“Flanagan Lawrence has kept the artistic purpose of the building firmly in mind throughout the design process, ensuring that the integrity of the new spaces allows musicians to give the best performances possible. We are thrilled with the elegance and sensitivity of the design that has evolved and are confident that it will result in one of the most successful purpose-built spaces for classical music in Scotland.” Dr Michael Downes, Director of Music, University of St Andrews, Artistic Associate, Byre Theatre.

Each space is designed to be acoustically excellent, but with flexibility and ease of use in mind. The acoustic quality of these new spaces will significantly enhance the calibre of rehearsals and performances for students, teachers, performers and audiences alike. The Laidlaw Music Centre will replace the existing facilities in the Younger Hall on North Street (built in 1828) where all activities are limited by the lack of sound-proofing.

The Centre will be built on a site on Queens Terrace, St Andrews, which currently has temporary buildings and a car park. The new building will restore a historic quad and preserve the features of St Mary’s Quadrangle, while complementing the neighbouring St Regulus Hall student residence and the Bute Building. This is a music centre for the community and the University – and as such its location, with easy access for all from the town centre, and its welcoming and outward looking appearance will create a new cultural venue in St Andrews. It is anticipated that the project will complete in late 2019.

“St Andrews is Scotland’s first university with a long tradition of academic excellence. Our aspiration for the Music Centre is to create a suite of spaces which will each be acoustically excellent for their purpose to create a focal point for the community’s musical activities. The quality of the acoustic in these spaces will allow the musical excellence of rehearsals and performances to flourish for students, teachers, performers and audiences alike.” Jason Flanagan, Design Director at Flanagan Lawrence.

The University’s vibrant and ancient music tradition began with its first choristers 600 years ago, and continues today with hundreds of St Andrews students each year making music part of their degree by taking modules ranging from opera to electronic music. The University also supports a thriving culture of performing groups and events including; St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, St Andrews Voices festival, Byre Opera, and St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra, run in collaboration with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the University’s Orchestra in Residence.