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, planned the acoustic requirements for each new space.
The classrooms were originally built for other purposes, making the spaces challenging to work with. The refurbished buildings were full of hard reflective surfaces, so Rodney requested that Autex break up the spaces by adding sound absorbent materials. Quietspace® Panel was employed to achieve high acoustic absorption for each of the spaces being renovated.
Great care was taken to strategically place each individual panel where they would best absorb problem frequencies, ensuring the rooms were balanced. By altering the height of the suspension, the surface area of the panels were increased – drastically improving the targeted sound absorption and reducing 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 the size they would be most acoustically effective.
During the project 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 the panels on the exact date they were required for installation – making the process 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.
Choosing the safest acoustic products for the updated learning environments was an important aspect in the product selection process. Autex acoustics were deliberately specified as they are lightweight; the panels are suspended above the classroom, so it would 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. All Autex interior acoustic products are made from 100% polyester, making them non-toxic, safe, and a healthy alternative to other fibreglass systems available on the market.
The installation of Autex acoustic products dramatically altered the acoustic performance of the buildings, particularly in the Music Centre, which was a fantastic result.