The studio Roger Stephenson Architects has completed a radical renovation with an addition to the Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester UK: a new, modern building for the teaching facilities, creating an avant-garde environment for the students.

The new building contains a concert hall with 350 seats, a recital hall with 100 seats, and a school with over 100 specific spaces for teaching and practicing.

The school is composed in part of a medieval fortified manor that is an essential historical feature of the city of Manchester. From the outset, the project has not simply created a new music school connected to a historic library, but has also set the goal of safeguarding an educational institution of prime importance for Great Britain, developing an outstanding work of architecture for the whole nation.

Where the materials are concerned, the outer structure conveys a sense of stability in time, taking form thanks to 500,000 cowhide-color bricks made by hand, in a tribute to the buildings of the Victorian station, forming a backdrop for the administration building and the medieval library in red sandstone.

The large, functional interiors, projected into the future, are clad with about 3000 m2 of porcelain stoneware sheet produced by Piemmegres (Ceramiche Piemme), the division specializing in high-tech materials of Industrie Ceramiche Piemme based in Fiorano Modenese.

The sheets from the “Natural” collection have aesthetic characteristics that convey an extremely natural image. Similar to pale porphyry, Natural offers exceptional mechanical performance in terms of strength and durability, while being in line with the green building concept, thanks to the body composed 15% of recycled materials, and the production with zero-impact technologies.