Land/stad: Tyskland, Wuppertal
Arkitekt: Rocho Architekten
Installatör: Fladung Akustik GmbH
Fotograf: Hans Georg Esch
Model project: Innovative, DIN 18041 compliant sound insulation for nurseries and schools
“Thanks to the fabulous acoustics, ‘Die Edefanten’ offers a very pleasant work environment,” says Miriam Knop, educational adviser at Kita Concept, the company that operates the day nursery. “Despite the high ceiling, you really don’t notice that there are up to 15 children playing in a group space or a side room.”
Nurseries and schools are some of the loudest places other than those affected by industrial or traffic noise, so planning and building a new day nursery brings special challenges. It has been shown on numerous occasions that children, early childhood educators and teachers benefit considerably from good spatial acoustics. Greater ease of communication enables them to play, learn and work with less stress. German standard DIN 18041, “Acoustic quality in small to medium-sized rooms”, sets out specific planning requirements and guidelines. A revised version of this standard, expanded to cover inclusionary aspects, has been in effect since January 2015.
The workplace nursery of Wuppertal-based E/D/E, a purchasing group in the hardware trade, is exemplary in its compliance with the DIN standard. This model facility is the result of an ambitious project, conceived and executed in partnership with selected specialist businesses and suppliers.
As far as acoustic quality is concerned, the nursery easily meets the new requirements on reverberation times, thanks to the use of Ecophon sound insulation systems. The ceiling and wall panels reduce sound intensity to provide a level of speaking and listening comfort exceeding that required by the standard. The overall effect is to create active spatial acoustics resembling those of the outdoors.
Inside the generously proportioned, 850-square-metre nursery, the two-storey foyer with indoor slide, elevator and stairs presented the greatest acoustic challenge. The central play area, the group rooms, and the multipurpose room on the upper floor, which mainly have solid-wood parquet flooring, were fitted with highly effective Master Rigid ceiling tiles. Thanks to their superb acoustic properties, these tiles go beyond mere compliance with the standard to create a congenial play and work environment. What’s more, their attractive, fresh-looking surface blends in well with the interior design to help create a pleasant ambience. The tiles also have the stability needed to withstand the occasional indoor ball game. On the walls, Akusto Wall C/Texona panels were used, which likewise are known for their robustness and blend in well aesthetically.
“From an educational perspective, the superb acoustics bring many benefits,” says Miriam Knop. “On the one hand, early childhood educators have a quieter environment in which to focus on play situations. The children, too, can go about their activities with greater concentration and perseverance – something that definitely supports their development. And from a health and safety perspective, it’s very important to us to provide our early childhood educators with a pleasant environment that supports them in their work.”
Ecophon’s decades of research into mature, environmentally friendly conceptual solutions provided the scientific basis for this project, which was constantly updated to reflect the latest insights. As a result, the project easily met or exceeded all the accessibility and inclusion requirements of DIN 18041, as well as the current standards on green building materials and modern learning environments.
The “Edefanten” nursery boasts optimum spatial acoustics and offers the children and staff the best possible environment in which to play and learn.