Rockfon answer acoustic challenges with intelligent solutions

Delivered under the 21st Century Schools and Education Programme and costing £36.5M, the new Caldicot School building in Monmouthshire offer the innovative and flexible learning facilities demanded by a contemporary secondary school.

There are spacious classrooms, a multi-use hall, theatre-style learning areas and studio spaces for students to study informally. The building is designed to be energy efficient and natural light has been optimised throughout. Monmouth Comprehensive costing £47M is a brand-new school equipped with state of the art facilities. Rockfon acoustic products play a pivotal role in both schools by creating stimulating learning environments that are at the heart of the architect’s vision.

Architectural vision
BDP has produced a school building with an education-led design that delivers both cost efficiency and future adaptability. The ground floor provides most of the specialist teaching and support spaces. The upper floor consists of teaching rooms each arranged in two-storey department clusters which sit around an impressive double height hub area. BDP Lead Architect on Caldicot School and Monmouth Comprehensive Tim Humphries chose to work with us on both projects.

“We’ve worked with Rockfon before on several projects and can specify their products with confidence. They’re aesthetically appropriate and there is an assurance of performance too, which is very important to us.”

Thermal mass
Energy conservation was an important consideration when designing Caldicot. Concrete soffits are exposed within the school to reduce the cooling and heating demands, making these spaces more energy efficient. Rockfon Eclipse® islands and Rockfon Contour® baffles let the air flow freely around the school and control the level of reverberation to help improve speech intelligibility.

Installation
Rockfon Eclipse islands in square and rectangular shapes are installed along the school’s corridors. In the open circulation areas, square shaped islands work with ceiling baffles to control sound. Richard Kemble Contracts, a Rockfon Active installer, fitted them using advice from our technical team and sourced through SIG Cardiff. Director Rich Kemble explains,

“The support and help we received from Rockfon was invaluable. Together we found a solution for suspending the ceiling islands so they can withstand the tough wear and tear expected in a school. Each island is carefully secured to an exposed suspended grid system using robust direct fixing brackets on all four sides to hold them in place.”

Versatility
Rockfon Eclipse islands offer versatile suspension solutions and can be suspended from different kinds of structures including wood, steel and concrete, as is the case with the school. The islands absorb sound on both sides, helping to reduce reverberation time and improve ambient sound levels. This excellent acoustic control ensures classes are undisturbed by students passing in adjacent corridors.

The smooth white surface of Rockfon Contour is durable and ensures good light reflection.  Both the baffles and islands offer specifiers the freedom to create innovative ceiling designs with outstanding acoustic performance. At Caldicot School the architect has achieved a contemporary ceiling aesthetic which enhances the building’s interior.

Classroom design
The classrooms have large windows to allow the maximum amount of natural light in. The micro-textured, impact resistant surface of Rockfon® Scholar™ ceiling tiles gives 86 per cent light diffusion, providing optimum lighting conditions for learning and reducing energy bills. Complying with BB93 Acoustics for Schools and having durable reinforced edges, Rockfon Scholar is a tough, fire safe and future-proof ceiling. Its high sound absorption, particularly in large open-plan areas, helps improve speech intelligibility, making a significant contribution to learning outcomes.

Hygiene
Rockfon® Hygienic™ ceiling tiles are developed to meet the most stringent demands on hygiene. Coupled with longevity, durability and Class A sound absorption they were the obvious choice for the school’s kitchen. The tiles’ specially coated surface can withstand pressure washing which further enhances its resistance to the growth of micro-organisms. The ceiling is humidity resistant to 100 per cent RH and is dimensionally-stable even in the steamiest conditions.

Our continued relationship with Main Contractor Interserve means that we could ensure the mix of ceiling products met the demanding specifications for both schools. Project Quantity Surveyor David Porter said,

“Working with Rockfon is a real pleasure. Their help and support both on site and on the phone meant we were able to meet our deadlines and deliver two finished schools that we are all proud of.”

Benefits of stone wool
All our ceiling products are manufactured from stone wool, a structurally stable, non-combustible material which makes them the ideal choice for education buildings where safety is paramount. To find out more about our range of acoustic ceiling and wall panels visit www.rockfon.co.uk or request a copy of our new Education solutions brochure by emailing us at info(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)rockfon.co.uk