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Written by:
Paul Holland
01 Apr 2021

Avery Court has been transformed by the addition of the WongAvery Music Gallery, a state-of-the-art musical recital and rehearsal space.

Performances will take place in the centre of the Greek cross shape. Bay windows at the ends of each arm provide additional audience seating and over the crossing, a glazed lantern floods the building with natural light. The acoustics have been designed to maximise reverberation times and the building allows for all the windows to open fully, allowing music to spill out into the court for outdoor receptions.

The building is made of four different types of stone, all sourced in the UK. The frame and upper walls are made of Portland Limestone, smooth Jordans Basebed is used for the frame and shelly Grove Whitbed for the infill panels. The plinth details at ground level are Cornish Granite, and the floor internally is Purbeck Limestone. The pale stone contrasts with the existing buff brick and sandstone buildings, bringing a sense of lightness to the relatively shaded court. Internally, the stone provides acoustically reflective surfaces and enhances the quality of natural light entering the building. The windows and door frames are formed from patinated brass, and the storage boxes that line the interior of the building are all faced in brass, which visually offsets the stonework and assists in achieving the required level of acoustic reverberance.

Niall McLaughlin explained his vision for the building as the architect:

“The single room placed in the middle of the court is a composition of cubic forms made entirely from stone. It is both a study of the tectonic and expressive capacity of one material and a finely calibrated instrument to produce the right combination of temperature, humidity, reverberation, openness, privacy and light for the musicians who will use it.”

The WongAvery Music Gallery provides a much-needed space with the latest specifications, for choir rehearsals, classical music recitals, lessons and private practice.  This will enable all students with an interest in music to develop their talents to the highest level. A dedicated space will make a huge difference to the College choir, an accomplished consort of approximately 22 voices who play a key role in the life of the College.

Music at Trinity Hall has thrived since the appointment of Andrew Arthur, Director of Music, and there has been increased demand on the College’s music facilities. Andrew explains how transformative the new building is for music-making:

“This is a hugely significant moment in the musical life of Trinity Hall.  The WongAvery Music Gallery provides a space of architectural beauty and acoustic distinction for musical training at the highest level, and will encourage generations of students to excel in their varied musical endeavours.”

The building also provides a temperature and humidity controlled environment for the College’s piano and harpsicord, and it has a unique storage system for the extensive Chapel Music library.

The garden which will surround the new building in Avery Court has been designed by Kim Wilkie, a landscape architect known for his striking land forms such as Orpheus at Boughton House. The pallet will be shades of blue, white and yellow with an evergreen backdrop of climbing plants and flowering shrubs, including some species we will be growing at Trinity Hall for the first time.

The transformation of the Court has been made possible through a generous donation from the Avery-Tsui Foundation. Dennis Avery was an alumnus (1980), Honorary Fellow and generous donor to Trinity Hall. The Court was named after Dennis in October 2006. Sally Wong-Avery, Chair of the Avery-Tsui Foundation reflected on remembering her husband Dennis in this way:

“Dennis loved music, architecture and Trinity Hall. Seeing the iconic WongAvery Music Gallery rising up in Trinity Hall’s Avery Court would immensely please Dennis.”

Their daughter Natasha Wong, Vice-Chair of the Foundation added:

“Our family is honoured and humbled to be a part of such a beautiful architectural expression. We hope that the WongAvery Music Gallery will continue to inspire future generations as much as Trinity Hall has touched and inspired our family.”

The final work is expected to finish shortly and the trustees of the Foundation will officially open the building later in the year when pandemic restrictions allow.