Bespoke metal tiles and mineral tiles including antimicrobial ones from Armstrong Ceilings were specified by Jestico + Whiles architects for the new Passimores Academy for their ability to meet acoustic, aesthetic and hygienic criteria.
Armstrong’s Metal microperforated planks in standard sizes and specially commissioned trapezoidal tiles were used throughout the new secondary school’s circulation areas, the latter where the corridors were curved.
And these were complemented by three types of mineral tiles featuring sound absorption performances of up to Class A – Dune Max in classroom and office areas, Parafon Hygien in toilet and changing room areas and the antimicrobial Bioguard in kitchen and food areas.
Nick Pryke of Jestico + Whiles said: “The individual pressed planks created the desired aesthetic required in the corridor and heart space. They also meet all the required BB93 acoustic specifications.”
And Adrian Nurse, managing director at Omega installer SCL Interiors who were on site for four months installing the 1,000m² of Armstrong ceilings, added: “Armstrong were particularly helpful in their coordination and input with the special trapezoidal metal tiles to the walkways and common areas.”
The £22million academy, which was procured outside of the BSF framework and built over 18 months by main contractor Willmott Dixon on an eight hectare brownfield site in Harlow, features a large oval roof light as the heart of the two-storey, concrete-framed building.
The brief to Jestico + Whiles from Essex County Council was to replace the existing buildings at Brays Grove School with a contemporary state-of-the-art, faculty-based secondary school for 1,200 pupils with provision for community use out of school hours.
This has been expressed as education wings housing teaching space organised radially around a centre occupied by social space, the main hall and the inclusion department. By organising each wing into a wedge, the central circulation widens and can be used as informal break-out space for personalised learning and group work.
This language translates through to the 2.5-storey central heart space (central atrium) and external around between the wings which act as multi-functional areas for learning and recreation without being institutionalised.
Nick Pryke added: “We have used Armstrong on previous academies and have been pleased with their products. On Passmores we required a bespoke ceiling product for the curved corridors and Armstrong were able to deliver this.
“The corridor ceiling planks play both an important acoustic role and aesthetic one. Excellent technical advice and design assistance from Armstrong representatives helped to develop a very neat interface detail between the bespoke pressed lay-in ceiling planks and abutting plasterboard ceiling.
“The client is very happy with the aesthetics and performances of the specified products.”
Adrian Nurse added: “The project was challenging in as much as the short installation programme meant that co-ordination of all trades was critical. But the knowledge and understanding of interface requirements could only be described as excellent and all those in the Armstrong Atelier team at Stafford should be very proud of the end result.”
Passmores Academy was officially opened on 20th April 2012 by the Secretary of State Michael Gove.