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Project: Post 16 Education Centre, Coleg Cambria

Country/city: UK / Deeside

Architect: Sarah Davies, Ainsley Gommon Architects

Main contractor: Wynne Construction

Ceiling contractor: Ombler Williams

Acoustic consultant: Waterman Group, Manchester

Photographer: Faraday Fotographic Ltd

Production year: 2016

Project size: 3000 

Post 16 Education Centre Coleg Cambria ExteriorColeg Cambria is a brand new state-of-the-art sixth form hub on Deeside and opened its doors to over 700 students in September 2016. It has an airy reception area, vast lecture hall and performance space and music terrace. Other facilities include a learning resource centre, informal study areas, classrooms, gallery exhibition space, mac suite, and art and science departments.There was a strong aesthetic design from the outset. As the £14.6m college is primarily a teaching and learning environment, the quality of acoustics was a major priority when it was being designed and built.

Large open atriums, combined with breakout and flexible teaching spaces, present reverberation challenges that must be addressed early on in the planning stage. The college was a new build and Ecophon was brought in at the design stage to propose acoustic solutions for this three-storey development.

Designed to meet BB93 acoustics for schools standards

Ecophon’s Martin Keogh described the acoustic-aesthetic challenge: "We proposed acoustic ceiling and wall specifications in line with Waterman’s acoustic strategy and BB93 acoustics for schools standards. Understanding the acoustic requirements, along with the squeezed budgets we see on education projects, can make it a challenge to specify the right products on a project. This is intensified when the client has as strong visual design in mind."

Ainsley Gommon Architects worked closely with the college’s commissioning team to define the accommodation requirements and client’s aspirations. Maurice Garnett, architectural technician at Ainsley Gommon Architects, described the project in detail: "As it was for a new build sixth form centre, the brief asked for a mix of traditional teaching classrooms, combined with open plan social and study spaces designed to promote a feeling of independence and maturity for the students. The design evolved into a three-storey building with two wings of classrooms located around a tapering central core, allowing natural light deep into the centre of the building and providing open plan study spaces and circulation."

Effective open-plan areas

"There could be as many as 700 students moving around these spaces on different levels, so it was important that the acoustic strategy was designed to allow the open plan areas to remain effective, whether the occupancy was low or high. There were two key open plan areas to consider, which were separated at opposite ends of the building. The three-storey entrance atrium is designed to be a vibrant and social space, containing the reception, cafe and spill-out area for the dining and lecture facilities. The idea was that this space was to be lively and animated but the close proximity to learning resource centre and key teaching rooms meant that it was important that the noise levels were adequately controlled in the area."

Controlled acoustics in self-study areas

"The second atrium space, deep into the building, contains self-study areas and primary circulation routes, so it was important that the acoustics in this space were more carefully controlled to a lower level. In both spaces, we specified areas of Gedina A suspended ceiling grids used in key noise generating areas, combined with Akusto wall panels, mounted to bulkheads and walls to helped to manage the sound levels.

As well as the open-plan areas, there are a number of other acoustically challenging rooms within the building. The main hall is used for both speech and music performances and Akusto wall panels were specified here to successfully help control the noise levels within the room, allowing speech intelligibility with or without amplification. Other key noise generating rooms such as the Dining Room and Learning Resource Centre used Solo Rectangle hanging acoustic panels to help absorb the generated noise. Within the standard classrooms Gedina E ceiling tiles were used to control reverberation to ensure speech legibility."

"We chose to specify Ecophon because of their high quality products and varied product range. Ecophon provided excellent support throughout the specification period, advising us on product suitability and helping with the NBS specification writing."

Maurice Garnett, Ainsley Gommon Architects

Understanding of acoustics key to success

Martin Keogh: "Ecophon had the right products to meet all of the demands for the Coleg Cambria build. As they were coupled with British Gypsum materials, we were able to make a more complete Saint-Gobain offering towards meeting the BB93 requirements. By working closely with all stakeholders, we were able to assist in making this a standout project for the client to Wynne construction’s usual high standards.

It was also great to work with a knowledgeable acoustician early on, and a team that understands the importance of acoustics. This was the key to success on this building. Ecophon products can help towards achieving BREEAM credits for sustainability and this project is set to achieve BREEAM excellent."

Contact us

Saint-Gobain Ecophon UK and Ireland
Old Brick Kiln,
Monk Sherborne,
Tadley,
RG26 5PP
 
General enquiries:
Tel: 01256 850977
Fax: 01256 851550
 
Sales Office, for orders and stock information:
Tel: 01256 855220
Fax: 01256 850600
 
Technical and product advice:
Tel: 01256 855250 
Fax: 01256 851550
 
 
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Contact us

Saint-Gobain Ecophon UK and Ireland
Old Brick Kiln,
Monk Sherborne,
Tadley,
RG26 5PP
 
General enquiries:
Tel: 01256 850977
Fax: 01256 851550
 
Sales Office, for orders and stock information:
Tel: 01256 855220
Fax: 01256 850600
 
Technical and product advice:
Tel: 01256 855250 
Fax: 01256 851550
 
 
Social: LinkedIn  |  Twitter  |  You Tube