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Walworth Academy, London

Walworth Academy, London

Client: Walworth Academy
Main contractor: Balfour Beatty
Interior fit-out contractor: Central Essex Interiors
Type of works: supply and installation of Rockfon's suspended ceiling islands.

Walworth Academy in London has been making the headlines recently after being chosen by David Cameron to launch his draft manifesto for schools. A major building project was undertaken to expand the school and bring pupils together on one site for the first time, therefore a key issue was the choice of materials and products to meet the stringent regulations for school buildings. Rockfon was instrumental in achieving this aim, supplying its Alaska and Rockfon framed ceiling islands for the classrooms and dining hall, and Polar black ceiling islands for the drama studio.

Balfour Beatty was the main contractor, with Central Essex Interiors the interior fit-out contractor, and the specification was led by the design of schools for future generations, which takes into consideration energy efficiency and thermal mass as well as acoustic control. A solution was required for the ceiling specification which combined cost efficiency with key design aesthetics in keeping with the contemporary image of the school. The original specification involved the installation of perforated plasterboard rafts, but following close discussion with all parties involved, the decision was taken to install the Rockfon products.

Rockfon’s framed ceiling islands are manufactured from stone-wool resin-bonded mineral wool, which allows the air to circulate freely whilst absorbing sound from both sides of the panel. This significantly optimises the building’s thermal mass, as using conventional high inertia materials such as concrete, can have a detrimental effect on acoustic performance. Rockfon ceiling islands allow the full exploitation of the acoustic islands’ principle, whilst minimising the number of islands required to achieve the desired performance.

In addition, they offer exceptional dimensional stability, even in up to 100% humidity. Key performance features of fire resistance and hygiene are superior to any other comparable materials, with a non-hygroscopic surface that offers no sustenance to harmful micro-organisms.

Vic Manning of Central Essex Interiors is hugely impressed with the Rockfon systems. “We have not used these products before, but the installation was such a success that we are now installing Rockfon ceiling islands in two more schools,” he said. “We were introduced to the new Rockfon products because of their thermal mass benefits, an innovation which is growing in popularity. We worked closely with the main contractor and Rockfon to devise a ceiling solution that met all necessary criteria in terms of energy, thermal efficiency and aesthetic value.”

With larger sized classrooms and multi-purpose spaces being incorporated into school building, Rockfon ceiling systems are the ideal solution in terms of performance, aesthetics and cost, meeting all the criteria for the contractual requirement for acoustic testing, which the Government has issued for Building Schools for the Future in England.

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