For West London Free School, music is at the heart of school life. Located in the busy district of Hammersmith, West London Free School needed to be transformed into an acoustically sound teaching and learning environment catering for students from Year Seven to Year 12. Existing buildings ‘The Music Lodge’ and ‘Palingswick House’ both needed to be fully refurbished. This included labs, art rooms, a canteen, a library, and a two-storey music centre.
In order to provide better learning environments Rodney Maggot, Senior Design Co-ordinator for Willmott Dixon Construction set about to create an acoustically balanced application for the requirements of each individual learning environment.
The classrooms were originally built for other purposes making the spaces challenging to work with as the rooms needed to be altered to suit different uses. The refurbished buildings were full of hard reflective surfaces, Rodney requested that we “break up the spaces by adding sound absorbent materials, thereby reducing the internal sound reverberation”. Autex Quietspace® Panel was employed to achieve exceptionally high acoustic absorption for each of the spaces being renovated.
Great care was taken in strategically placing each individual panel to where they would best acoustically balance each room by absorbing different frequencies. By strategically altering the height of the suspension it increased the surface area of the panel and drastically improved the targeted sound absorption making the acoustic installation much more cost effective as it reduced the number of panels needed to achieve the same result. Autex was able to cater to the different acoustic needs of each classroom by custom cutting each of the 50mm panels to a size that they would be most acoustically effective.
During the refurbishments there was a lack of storage and delivery space on site which meant nothing could be delivered prior to the installation date. Autex coordinated with Willmott Dixon and delivered on the exact date the panels were required to be installed, making the process much more efficient. To guarantee none of the panels were damaged in transit, Autex made several alterations to the packing of the panels which allowed for a quick and efficient installation once the panels had arrived safely.
It was paramount to the school to factor in the safety features of the acoustics. Autex acoustics were deliberately specified due to the lightweight nature of the acoustic panels; because the panels are suspended above the classroom it could be considered a hazard to have them overhanging if the panels were too heavy. For peace of mind all Autex suspended acoustic systems have been vigorously tested and have been proven not to fall or collapse in the event of an earthquake. The installation of the Autex acoustic panels dramatically altered the reverberation, particularly in the Music Centre which was a fantastic result.
All of Autex interior acoustic products are made from 100% polyester making them non-toxic, safe and healthy alternative to other fiberglass systems available on the market.