Located in the heart of the bustling Singapore Business District, Tanglin Trust School is a British International School catering for students from nursery right through to sixth form (3-18 years). Entering its 90th year educating students from all around the globe, Tanglin Trust School was looking to improve their facilities to provide a state of the art learning environment.
As the classrooms were refurbished, Head of Infant Education, Paula Cragie wanted to make sure that the acoustic issues of the classrooms were remedied. Based off the Ministry of Educations recommendations, Autex set to specify a solution that would bring the classrooms reverberation time down to 0.6 seconds allowing a high level of speech intelligibility and also reducing the need for teachers to raise their voices.
Just like other classrooms where noise reverberation is an issue, occupants experienced difficulty at the high end of the frequency spectrum with intelligibility of words. Therefore, the issue lay with not being able to decipher what had been said as opposed to not hearing. Sounds that are not heard on the high end of the frequency spectrum are usually the soft sounding consonants that shape and determine words. This is important when teaching small children, as their ability to understand and learn words is less than that of teenagers or adults.
To bring the reverberation down to the desired level, Autex Composition® was installed on the walls of the classroom to provide overall sound absorption which doubles as a functional display area. For targeted low frequency absorption, 25mm Quietspace® Panel was used on the back wall opposite where the teacher stands. This allowed low frequency reverberation to be absorbed before bouncing back in towards the teaching space.
For this installation, the colours Calypso and Lime were chosen because of the moods the tones evoked. Known to create feelings of self-reflection and dignity; the purple colour of Calypso is perfect for the learning environment as it helps students to reflect on their learnings and apply it to real life situations. The calming green shade of Lime Composition encourages feelings of balance, judgement and comprehension as well as calmness and stillness in movement. This is ideal for young learning spaces as it helps engage children in listening whilst thinking about what they are learning. The calmness and stillness in movement helps children to feel content and reduces restlessness if sitting for long periods of time.
Not only did Composition and Quietspace Panel adequately solve the acoustic issues in the room, it provided a number of benefits that are well suited to the education sector. The extremely durable nature of Autex Interior Acoustics products means Tanglin Trust School won’t need to worry about damage caused by impact, eliminating the need for continued painting or plastering maintenance. The velour finish of the wallcoverings also allow the walls of the room to become a pinnable and ‘hook-n-loop’ receptacle surface, allowing artwork and vital pieces of information to be displayed on the walls without leaving marks or visible holes.
Overall the school essentially ended up with a whole new classroom with very little investment. Not only that, the school has implemented an innovative solution that is environmentally friendly, non-toxic and made from 45% recycled material.
Teacher Rosy He states, “speech clarity has been improved during lessons, particularly, when those reserved children who are in the front row speak with soft voices, the back row children are now able to hear their answers. Besides this, the sound quality is enhanced; echoes are reduced while singing songs.” It is well documented that acoustically treated classrooms result in less sick days for both students and teachers. It is also discussed that teachers have less voice strain and the students have experienced an increase in academic performance.