The Merritt Centre, Sherborne Girls' School
The Merritt Centre is a new-build Performing Arts building at Sherborne Girls' School consisting of a recital hall, practice rooms, recording studios and classrooms.
The building is located towards the middle of the school grounds, with the existing school buildings to one side and playing fields to the other. The environmental design of the building takes advantage of this setting by using passive measures to connect the internal spaces to the outdoors via large windows and acoustically attenuated natural ventilators. This provides impressive daylighting throughout the building and fresh air without undue noise transfer.
Within the main 500-seat Recital Hall, where more stringent acoustic conditions are required and large audiences are expected during the height of summer, a near-silent mechanical ventilation system is provided to condition the space that the audience and performers will occupy. This system is demand-controlled and incorporates energy recovery to minimise the energy wasted to outside.
Elsewhere energy demand in the building is minimised: good air tightness and thermal insulation reduces the heating and cooling demand; lighting within the building is low energy LED throughout and intelligently controlled; and hot water is generated locally as required to minimise standing losses within the system.
The heating and cooling to the building are provided from a ground source heat pump. This takes advantage of the availability of adjacent playing fields where multiple boreholes have been installed to extract heat from the ground, dramatically reducing the CO2eq impact of the building.