New technologies in schools have resulted in a paradigm shift in the way educational spaces are created and used. Today’s learning environments consist of flexible speaking and listening spaces where collaboration, group work, complex problem solving, digital information gathering and publishing occur.
Aware of a recent survey that found that children in semi-open plan schools were adversely impacted by noise that affected their ability to hear the teacher in critical situations; St James The Apostle Primary School wanted to address the significant acoustic issues they had in their newest open-plan classroom.
With more than one set of students occupying the space at the same time, teachers noticed significant noise spill issues when certain parts of the classroom were reading and others were working in collaborative group situations. As a result of the excessive background noise and reverberation level, this space was traditionally avoided as a teaching space and left unused.
St James The Apostle Primary School challenged Centrum Architects to find an innovative solution that incorporated the existing operable wall in the centre of the space and also provided some design freedom. Having been inspired by Autex’s Quietspace® Lattice, the architects wanted to include the fin like feature of the suspended absorber but also to fit around the circular “reading area”.
Offering versatility and creative freedom, Autex Cube™ was the obvious choice for this custom project. Its solid colour throughout and structural integrity provides for a solution that doesn’t need capped edges. Plied with the right acoustic information from Autex’s Acoustic Design Engineer Jonathan Mountfort, Centrum Architects designed the eye-catching fish shaped ceiling feature.
Cut from 42 sheets of Acros coloured 12mm Cube™ on Autex’s state of the art water cutting machine, the design resulted in 72.5m2 of pure sound absorption. This high performing design creates an environment that controls reverberated noise to a level exceeding requirements of the Department of Education’s recommendations for Innovative Learning Environments (ILE).
Now occupying the space on a regular basis the children and teachers have agreed they can now read, work and learn in an environment without being distracted from other groups and background noise. This approach to acoustic design allows classrooms to be exciting and unique and an environment where kids look forward to going to school without risking fatigue caused by poor acoustics.
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