The construction of the Dyson STEAM Building at Gresham’s School in 2020/1 had a knock-on effect on other teaching spaces. As part of the enabling works, the existing learning support facilities had to be relocated from a prefabricated building on the site of the proposed Dyson Building to a former physics laboratory in the Reith Building.
The school recognised that pupils with special hearing or communication needs required better facilities, and Adrain James Acoustics was appointed to create an acoustic design for the building. Our scheme required very high design standards which would not only comply with enhanced SEN criteria of Building Bulletin 93, but surpass these specifications.
Individual teaching pods were created within the existing space. Each pod was insulated both from one another and from the main teaching space. Whilst the creation of the pods solved the problem of sound transmission, it could also have given rise to another problem. This was the issue of getting enough light into the teaching area. To solve this challenge, we specified windows to be incorporated into the teaching pods and glass panels in the separating doors.
Walls were also upgraded and particular attention was paid to the detailing at the tops of the new sound-insulating walls.
AJA Associate Joe Bear was the ideal consultant to project manage the changes, due to many years of experience in education and SEN requirements. He balanced the acoustic performance against the light requirements to ensure the resulting space would be light and airy. In discussions with the architect, Joe also encouraged the use of a traditional stud wall construction which achieved a higher performance and turn-key partitioning systems This pragmatic solution saved the client a significant amount in the final cost of the project.
After completion of our design, we were delighted to receive a Highly Commended award in the 2021 Association of Noise Consultants Awards in the category of “Acoustics for Inclusion”.
Client: Gresham’s School
Architect: Hudson Architects
Contractor: Fisher Bullen
Photos: Adrian James Acoustics