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Music Village Touches Down at Camberwell Grammar School

Music Village Touches Down at Camberwell Grammar School

Camberwell Grammar School (CGS) has a rich history of music. Over 500 pre-prep to Year 12 students are involved in the flourishing and still-growing music program. In 2022, it became evident that the School had to create more music spaces – quickly.  

As is the case with many inner-city schools, CGS is landlocked and needed to identify a timely solution that was fiscally sound, clever and atheistically appropriate. 

A very small parcel of land on the inner boundary of the campus, between the Senior School Science block and Junior School, with a very busy walkway in between, was the only option available. The reality, however, was that any construction work in this area would have been too disruptive to daily life and would not have met budgetary constraints.

Being aware of the Harwyn solution, CGS management called in Jason Fremder, Harwyn CEO, for a chat. The Harwyn “pod” product provided the perfect solution. With architectural assistance, the space is now home to six small private music tuition rooms and a larger recital room (for ensembles, choirs and class groups).

At the outset, the design process included extensive consultation with the School about the size, layout, fittings, finishes and placement of the pods. The CGS team was impressed with Harwyn’s design flexibility, and the capacity for the pods to be tailored to fit the School’s requirements. Special consideration was given to the space between individual pods (for optimal acoustic separation), external finishes to complement existing buildings and internal fittings to meet specific needs, such as deep storage cupboards for large instruments in the recital room. Of course, internal acoustic quality had to be of the highest standard.

On-site preparation was minimal – with the largely concrete-free footing system being completed in one day. The pods were constructed off-site, to a finished state, and then trucked and craned into position on weekends, and with only very light work remaining on-site and no interruptions to classes. The larger recital room came in two prefabricated sections which were joined together on-site and finished off within 2 days of arrival. As most of the work was inside, there was no dust and virtually no noise.

Pleasingly, staff and students at the School are also finding other uses for the pods, including meetings, parent-teacher interviews and spaces for private or small group tuition sessions. 

The adaptability of the pods is also a major benefit for CGS, as they can be moved and repurposed as the needs of the school change over time. 

Other benefits include durability, minimal maintenance and sustainability. CGS’s pods are made from high-quality and robust materials which are engineered to last. They are easy to clean and built to withstand the demands of heavy use by students. They are also made from recyclable materials and designed for energy efficiency, with full insulation and double glazing.

With landscaping providing the finishing touch, the project has successfully transformed what was previously underutilised land into a vibrant centre of activity. The colourful pods, surrounded by gardens, walkways, decking and seating areas, have quickly become a major attraction where the students love to spend time.  “We’ve really created something very special here,” said Ms Jess Stryker, CGS Facilities & Operations Manager, adding that “aesthetically the pods have a similar cladding to the adjacent building, and they look like they were really built for that space. The finishes and quality are great. Our teachers and students are very happy with them.”

The pods are specifically designed for music. With a combination of acoustic treatments in the walls, internal cladding and carpeted floors, they exceed a high RW50 acoustic rating. They are also oriented for privacy and flooded with natural light, resulting in inspiring spaces to make more music. 

Are you inspired by the transformation of Camberwell Grammar? Do you believe your school or community could benefit from our innovative, sustainable prefabricated music pods? If you’re ready to enhance your learning environments, don’t wait. Reach out to our dedicated Harwyn team today.