We were chosen to construct the award-winning Library, Archive and Study building within the grounds of Britten and his partner, tenor Peter Pears’ home the Red House in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. A key goal of the project was to liberate space within existing buildings to develop exhibition and education facilities, and provide a welcoming space for members of the public.
The use of red brick complements the site of the Grade II listed former home of Britten, with a design that roots the building firmly in its context and is appropriate to the listed house and garden through the use of traditional materials and techniques. There are two interlinking sections to the new building: a study area with windows facing out across the gardens and larger archive section without windows, which is hermetically sealed and has been designed to ensure a constant temperature and moderate humidity. A pioneering low-energy approach also provides optimum environmental conditions for preservation of the significant collection of music manuscripts, letters, photographs and recordings of the composer Benjamin Britten and tenor Peter Pears. The centre has four-hour fire resistance and has a raised floor to lower the risk of flooding.