This September, hundreds of students will be flooding the floors of Loughborough University’s newly renovated campus at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Formerly the Broadcasting Centre for the Olympic Games, this large scale building is now home to the highly acclaimed tertiary institute, as well as a wide range of others, from large international companies to small local businesses.
With direction to reinvent the space and make it particular to Loughborough University’s culture and vibrant personality; Paragon Interior Groups Senior Designer; Julie Hattersley set out to ensure the client could call the space their own. By employing a unique and aesthetically pleasing design; a practical new hub for students to learn and interact was developed.
Autex were engaged in the project early on at the specification stage to ensure a level of acoustic performance that was conducive to tertiary learning environment. Inspired by industrial style design; Loughborough University boasts exposed features including the building’s services and concrete walls. Hattersley required an acoustic solution that blended in with the overall feel of the space, but provided accents of style and flare.
Through collaboration with Autex, Hattersley used a variety of standard and custom products to create unique ceiling and wall features that gave each area its own style. “We just loved the versatility of Autex products and how we could create a solution that fits with every space. Having one company that could achieve all the design requirements needed was fantastic”.
As soon as you enter the hard surfaced atrium, complete with polished floors, high ceilings and surrounded by windows, the potential for both high and low frequencies to reverberate around the space become instantly clear.
By vertically suspending fifty 1200 x 800mm 24mm thick Autex Cube™ in rows above the atrium, the carefully considered spacing’s attribute to an all-round frequency absorption. By keeping the distance of the vertical hanging fins at about 300mm and the bottom of the fin around 800mm from the ceiling, the surface area absorption gets multiplied as sound waves bounce between the fins and ceiling.
Combined with the neutral colour of Cube Savoye; Autex have laminated their 100 percent polyester fabric Vertiface® to the face of selected fins. These added highlights of (colour) Phantom, create a standout feature that matches the industrial design whilst providing hints of personality and excitement.
As you lead through from the atrium the next piece of eye catching acoustic design that hits you are the floating Cube rafts that keep the themed colour Savoye. Custom cut into a variety of shapes these suspended 24mm thick panels provide an aesthetic display that also combines localised acoustic absorption with the continued seamless design that Julie Hattersley implements with precision.
From the Trapezium Lattice baffles, to the multiple 3D Tiles applications, the attention to geometric shapes, colours and textures throughout this design have been carefully chosen to provide consistency in this modern and exciting place to learn.
These suspended features continue throughout the building, providing break-out spaces with multiple levels of acoustic absorption, pertinent to task at hand in each area. This achieves a highly effective acoustic treatment; controlling reverberation while not taking away from the openness and collaborative design of the areas.
Implementing a range of different suspended features including the aforementioned Trapezium Lattice, Suspended Cube and the 3D Tiles fixed to floating rafts, Hattersley has created the impression of zones. This practice of creating different areas specific to different activities without creating barriers is a technique that is being introduced to commercial buildings and schools worldwide with high levels of success.
This helps the occupants define, collaboration, concentration and high social activities within the space, and uses the suspended acoustics panels as an unobtrusive guide to their work zone.
Another stand-out for Julie Hattersley was having “the flexibility to shape the [Autex] products without compromising the quality”; Autex were able to draw on previous product developments to create a new 3D Tile for the space. Using a heat moulding process, Autex were able to develop the 3D Tile S-5.46 a Triangle shaped tile that simply adhered to the wall using the 3D Tile Clips.
Again using neutrals and pops of colour, the tiles turn empty wall space into creative works of art, giving the modern aesthetic of depth and texture that beautifully compliments the furnishings and geometric lines in the carpeting.
With the University ready to open its doors, Julie Hattersley and the client are extremely pleased with the acoustics. “The space feels very comfortable and peaceful”, says Julie, “even though there are three sides of double glazing, there is no echo. The students and staff can trust that collaborations and conversation had in one area will stay there.”
The innovative and forward thinking of Julie Hattersley and her vision to combine Autex Interior Acoustics into this space, will match the forward thinking and creative minds that Loughborough University shapes for the future.