Pangbourne College’s Harding Communications Centre Takes Top RIBA Prize for Best Building in the South

Pangbourne College’s new £2 million Harding Communications Centre near Reading has beaten 21 other nominations in the South of England to win this year’s Royal Institute of British Architects RIBA South Regional Award 2014 for design and construction excellence. Built and fitted out by regional construction company Beard, and designed by architects Mitchell Taylor Workshop, the new communications centre was the only building in Berkshire to be shortlisted for the prestigious awards which champion and celebrate the best of British architecture.

The 800 sq m complex which brings music and information technology under one roof, provides an 80-seat, state-of-the-art recital hall with adjustable acoustics, practice rooms, recording facilities, classrooms and an ICT suite.

“Achieving the Centre’s extremely high-specification acoustic properties was critical to the success of the project and one of the most challenging aspects of the build as it required exactly the right levels of sound insulation to accommodate students practising, recording, studying and performing,” explains John Youle, Beard construction director. “We’re extremely proud to be part of the project team and to have worked with the College and architects Mitchell Taylor Workshop to create this fantastic RIBA award-winning building.”


The BREEAM Excellent-rated building uses aluminium and larch cladding and employs passive ventilation techniques, solar shading, high levels of insulation and natural lighting to achieve design and sustainability targets.


Kris Eley, Mitchell Taylor Workshop explains: “The building is an example of what can be achieved with an excellent team of designers and contractors working closely with a passionate and engaged client.”


The Harding Communications Centre is named after Old Pangbournian, David Harding, who provided funds for the project.


“We are delighted to find out that the Harding Communications building has won an award.  The building was very carefully designed by Mitchell Taylor Architects.  What we ended up with is exactly what we wanted.  It’s highly effective, costs nothing to heat and acoustically is a very high standard.  It has interested a large proportion of the school and we have more young people learning music as a consequence.”

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