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Colourful spaces for creative minds: Bunbury Cathedral Grammar’s music pods 2 years on

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar (BCG) came to Harwyn with a vision.

The Western Australian school wanted a fleet of vibrant new spaces to breathe new life into its music program. And we happily delivered three unicoloured music pods: one green, one red, one blue.

That was in 2020. This month, we sat down with BCG’s Head of Music, Lynette Fahie, to hear how students and teachers have taken to the new spaces.

Two years later – and ahead of the delivery of their fourth pod – Lynette says their novelty has still not worn off.

An eye-catching assortment

BCG’s three music pods sit atop a hill overlooking the school’s oval. At the bottom of the oval is a highway which parents and passers-by use every day.

“A lot of people have asked me, ‘What are those buildings on top of the hill? I drive past and look up at them all the time,’” says Lynette. “And I get to tell them, ‘They’re our music pods!’”

While the pods are a terrific conversation starter, they’re also a modern accompaniment to the school’s original music building: a red brick structure built in the 1990s.

“Nestled between that and a patch of trees, they’re juxtaposed against quite a plain-looking building,” Lynette adds. The new pods add some personality to the area – and, evidently, spark a little competition.

“If students have a lesson back in the old building, we hear a lot of ‘Aw, why don’t I get to use the pod? Why do they get to use the pod?’” she laughs.

“There’s so much excitement around them.”

The Efficiency of Prefabricated Construction

The efficiency in setting up these pods lies in the wonders of prefabricated construction. This method ensures the pods are fully constructed offsite, enabling a swift installation that takes merely a day, without any disturbance to the school’s daily activities.

A fit-for-purpose recording studio

Wherever music is made, quality acoustic control is critical. And Lynette commends the pods for their noise-containing prowess.

“If I stand outside one of the pods during a lesson, I can just hear the music,” she says. “There’s probably two metres between each pod – and I’ve never had anyone complain about noise.”

The noise control works wonders for improving students’ focus and eliminating disruptions. It’s also allowed for exciting new opportunities.

“We’re in our 50th year at the moment,” Lynette explains. “We wanted to create an oral history of the school, so we’ve been using the pods to record interviews with people who’ve been involved over the years.

“Last week, we decided to involve our school’s composer. We’re creating an interactive feature for our website, and we wanted to use a hymn he wrote 50 years ago as part of it.

“He got to record the hymn in one of our pods.

“With the space being what it is, we knew we were going to get a quality recording out of it. We were so excited – and so proud – to show him inside.”

Colour-coded for clarity

The striking pods are wonderful for the school’s atmosphere and appearance. But the colours aren’t purely ornamental. They’re also practical – denoting the type of lesson that takes place inside.

“Each pod’s colour correlates with its use,” Lynette explains.

“The green pod is for singing lessons. One of our senior tutors is in there three days a week. She’s got a Clavinova piano, a microphone, a speaker… It’s set up as ‘her pod’.

“The red pod is a kind of multi-use woodwind pod,” Lynette goes on. “It also has a beautiful Roland keyboard.

“And the blue pod is where our guitar teacher teaches.”

Coming soon: The complete collection

The consensus on the pods is overwhelmingly positive. Students relish their time in them; teachers are grateful for their quiet, self-contained nature.

So strong has the reaction been to these specialist spaces that the school is expanding its collection.

“We’re very much looking forward to having the fourth pod come along to complete the set,” says Lynette excitedly. “The moment it’s in, I’ll be scheduling more lessons in it.

“The groundwork is done. The concrete for the front of the pod has been laid. Now we just need the pod!”

As Lynette looks forward to the school’s fourth Harwyn, what does she have to say to other schools thinking of installing a pod?

“Oh, they’re wonderful. I love the glass on the front; I love that the windows open so you can get a cross breeze.

“The lighting is lovely. The wooden ceilings are beautiful. There’s nothing I dislike about them.”

Is your school looking for sleek, sound-controlled spaces? For schools with a dedicated music program, a Harwyn pod is the ultimate solution.

To learn more, call 1300 HARWYN (1300 427 996) or enquire today.