Orchestra picks DJD for Ancoats move

Drivers Jonas Deloitte has been appointed by Manchester's Hallé Orchestra & Choir to project manage the renovation of St Peter's church in Ancoats into a rehearsal space.

Work will begin on the grade II-listed building in August to transform the former church into the Hallé's first permanent rehearsal space since it began in 1858.

St PetersThe church was built in 1859 but fell into disrepair in after it was closed in the 1960s. It restored by the North West Development Agency and the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Ancoats urban village programme.

In October 2011, an award of £702,000 was made to the Hallé for the St Peters move from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, which redistributes landfill taxes to community projects. The orchestra performs in the Bridgewater Hall as its home venue but rehearsed in a variety of buildings around the city before now including the BBC's old base, New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road, Royal Northern College of Music, Wythenshawe Forum and Media City UK. The orchestra also received £150,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation towards the new rehearsal space.

Matt Cawley assistant director at Drivers Jonas Deloitte, said: "We have worked with acoustic design specialists to adapt the open space, ensuring that it will be perfect for sound production. With the combination of sound sails hung from the ceiling and acoustic panels fitted to the exposed brickwork, we will make sure that the sounds of the instruments and voices don't get lost or reverberated in the 5,000 sq ft hall.

"To control the noise and heat levels kept inside and escaping from the building, we will carefully glaze the windows internally. This will preserve the look and feel of the original stained glass window, but add extra layers of heat and sound insulation."

John Summers, chief executive of the Hallé, commented: "We are very much looking forward to seeing St Peter's transform into our new permanent rehearsal home. Not only is this a landmark for the orchestra, choir and youth ensembles, but the restoration of the former church building will provide an indispensible space for our education programme and its focus in the community."

Completion of the St Peter's project is due in early 2013. MBLA is the architect. The contractor has not yet been confirmed.

The Hallé is funded by Arts Council England, Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, Manchester City Council, along with charitable donations and business sponsorship.

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