A ‘Musical Instrument in its own right’, Benenden’s new Concert Hall and Music School by Hollaway Studio is a building made to give life to music and to the cultural education of both Benenden’s pupils and the local community beyond.

As much a teaching and practice space as it is dedicated to performance, the elliptically shaped, timber framed Centenary Hall buildings include a 750-seat Concert Hall, over 20 light filled practice rooms, and a 150 Seat Recital Hall, which opens out onto the courtyard using glazing, digital media suites with state-of-the-art recording and extensive landscaping, allowing for external performances.


The world-class standard School Hall and Music School takes Benenden into their Centenary year, whilst respecting the heritage of the scheduled grounds (Grade II Registered Park & Garden) & Grade II Listed Buildings status of the existing school building (listed as Hemsted House),  all within an area of outstanding natural beauty.


The diagrid roof is both a structural and acoustic device, allowing sound to bounce around the bays, encouraging the volume to feel larger, devoid of echoes.  While crucial to the structure is the Centenary Buildings’ giant doors that function not just as an entrance, but also as a sonic seal.  Opened, they let the sound of the natural world in, adjacent to the restored rose garden. When closed, they stand guard over the acoustics so that nothing can detract from it.

Each room is designed to respond to its anticipated use, while also being versatile. Able to adapt and change with teaching practices and educational needs, meeting long-term user needs for a generation of students.


Not purely for school use, the outstanding quality of the performance space allows for opportunity for concerts with varied performers, including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, bringing culture to the doorstep of the local community.