As with any educational body, flexible space is important. Dividing rooms into smaller working areas, opening them out for larger activities and creating dining and servery areas at lunchtime all mean that the shape and format of the common areas change daily.
Introduced to the project by Stortford Interiors and working with principal contractors Mace, the contractors architect Bamber & Reddan and the clients architect Zaha Hadid, Style agreed a solution which would maximise flexibility, be simple and quick to use, was acoustically sound and accommodated the school layout.
Manually operated DORMA Variflex was chosen for the common halls, allowing the first hall floor to either divide into smaller areas or open up for larger functions. On the third floor Variflex created a partially open room.
For the servery areas, semi-automatic DORMA Moveo was seen as a more suitable solution allowing maximum speed of movement and access so that at lunchtimes catering equipment, tables and chairs could all be wheeled in and out swiftly.
We were particularly proud of this project, said Julian Sargent, Styles Group Managing Director, because we provided a solution that gave the academy a huge amount of flexibility and an arrangement that could be reconfigured with ease.
We also incorporated perforated acoustic boards on the Variflex panels for sound absorption in addition to acoustic separation. This provided a very pleasant environment for teachers, staff and students.
In addition a dogleg layout was formed on the third floor to overcome a specific challenge to avoid a panel door opening into a corridor, and our team designed a bespoke solution for this. This was a challenge that we encountered during the project, but through liaison with all parties a very effective resolution was designed, agreed and installed on site.
As a further enhancement, the tall Variflex panels on the first floor offer optional stacking positions. This means that Evelyn Grace can choose to open them into a conventional stack or in-line in front of the windows. This assists with further acoustic control and to block some light out dependent on the usage of the room.