St John Bosco Arts College in Liverpool

Knauf’s acoustic expertise speeds Liverpool college build

  • 8 Sep 2015

A new contemporary arts college in Liverpool has specified a series of Knauf products to deliver an exciting mix of learning environments and social spaces with high acoustic performance.

Built on a tight budget of just £1191/m2, St John Bosco Arts College is a secondary Catholic school in Croxteth, Liverpool. The college delivers 15% more area than a tradition BB98 school.

Architects BDP and contractor Vinci were challenged to provide a mix of learning environments and spaces within a 91m x 55m three storey, column free environment.

The cellular classrooms and breakout spaces are clustered around a public atrium at the heart of the school – each setting different requirements in terms of achieving the acoustic standards of BB93.

Streamlined design

Knauf collaborated with the acoustic consultant, Red Acoustics, to choose the appropriate wall and ceiling constructions to deliver the desired acoustic performance.

Cluster of classrooms and social spaces at John Bosco Arts College

The cellular classrooms are clustered around a public atrium at the centre of the school.

The goal was to combine value engineering with simplicity, streamlining the design so that the number of wall and ceiling types is kept to a minimum. In this instance, the number of partition types was reduced from 10 to six to simplify management on site and speed up installation.

Vinci Project Manager, John Fowler, commented: “Rationalising and reducing the number of wall types was crucial for us because it not only took out cost but also speeded up installation.

Carrying out Quality Assurance checks on the original specification of 10 different wall types would have been a nightmare and would have taken extra time. And on such a fast build programme any benefit you can gain is important.”

High acoustic performance

Knauf has developed a range of proven systems to meet the specific design challenges for walls, ceilings and floors set by schools and colleges.

For St John Bosco Arts College, Knauf recommended Soundshield Plus plasterboard for the schools teaching areas. This enabled the classrooms to meet the standards laid down by Building Bulletin 93: Acoustic Design of Schools.

In addition, the Knauf Impact Panel was installed in corridors and circulation areas and workshops. Both products were mounted on frames of 70mm Knauf ‘C’ Studs.

The conventional means of achieving the set standards would be to install two 12.5mm boards on either side of a partition. However, this attained with a single layer of 15mm Soundshield Plus. 

Similarly, Impact Panel also means one board can be installed rather than two layers or more.

Knauf Performer partitions clad with Knauf Soundshield Plus can achieve up to 65dB (Rw) within an overall width of just 164mm when using the Knauf Resilient Bar technology. 

The additional Knauf Impact Panel provides a durable finish and can be combined with other Knauf products to achieve a superior acoustic performance of up to 57dB (Rw).

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