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AJ Specification 02.12 – Insulation

Case studies of Emmanuel College Library by Kilburn Nightingale Architects, 103 Park Road by Sam Tisdall Architects and Walderslade Primary School by Clay Architecture

Editorial - Felix Mara

‘Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house’, said the 19th century social reformer Henry Ward Beecher and it still rings true in a digital age. You couldn’t find a better illustration of this than this our main case study this month, Kilburn Nightingale Architects’ Emmanuel College Library in Cambridge, where readers are cocooned by an external envelope lined internally with books, kept warm and dry by a build up of 200mm of sheep’s wool insulation. Kilburn Nightingale have even included the books on their sample board and list of specified products.

Our theme this month is thermal and acoustic insulation and in our Overview we look at the changing background to these products, including the new Quiet Mark scheme which was introduced by the Noise Abatement Society last month. We also look at insulation specification for two retrofit projects that have been designed to Passivhaus standards and acoustic consultant Hoared Lea’s proposal for an acoustic pattern book for schools.

Our second case study, a reorganised and extended house in Chiswick, London by Sam Tisdall Architects has multifoil wall insulation behind bespoke fibre reinforced cladding panels and Clay Architecture’s Walderslade Primary School in Chatham, Kent has polyisocyanurate cavity wall and roof insulation and skilfully slots into the surrounding topography and urban grain.

Emmanuel College Library, Cambridge by Kilburn Nightingale Architects

Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of Emmanuel College Library, Cambridge by Kilburn Nightingale Architects

Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of Emmanuel College Library, Cambridge by Kilburn Nightingale Architects

The college’s brief centred around improving the library for its staff and students. They required a greater number of reader spaces, enhanced accessibility, improved environmental control and increased archive storage. The library consists of the original Edwardian building (extended in the 1930s) and a 1970s extension. Our proposal involved completely refurbishing the older building and stripping back the newer part to its structure, then remodelling it to make it larger and more efficient.

The sweet chestnut-clad fins of the enlarged extension are formed by the readers’ carrels. The fins wrap around the desks, where each reader is provided with an openable window, lighting and heat when required, which helps to create a quiet working environment. The new cladding is insulated with sheep’s wool, which greatly improves the building’s thermal insulation.

Ben Kilburn and Richard Nightingale, directors, Kilburn Nightingale Architects

103 Park Road, Chiswick by Sam Tisdall Architects

Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of 103 Park Road, Chiswick by Sam Tisdall Architects

Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of 103 Park Road, Chiswick by Sam Tisdall Architects

A modern two-storey extension and reorganisation of a 1920s house, with a new kitchen and living space on the ground floor, and master bedroom, bathroom and terrace on the first. Bespoke European oak full-height sliding doors and windows are set flush within a facade of lightweight glass-reinforced concrete panels. These were manufactured to specific colours and sizes and form a bold new element at the rear of the house.

Aluminium triple sliding doors, with sightlines of only 20mm in the living room, open to a decked area with a concrete BBQ alongside. On the first floor, a frameless glass box sitting on a green roof links old with new. Environmental improvements include a highly insulated envelope, solar water heating, photovoltaic panels and a heat recovery system, which extracts hot air from the glass box that acts as a solar collector.

Sam Tisdall, director, Sam Tisdall Architects

Walderslade Primary School, Chatham, Kent by Clay Architecture

Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of Walderslade Primary School, Chatham, Kent by Clay Architecture

Click on the photo above to view images, drawings and data of Walderslade Primary School, Chatham, Kent by Clay Architecture

Walderslade Primary School is a two-storey single form-entry school building on a narrow site on the side of a fairly steep hill; the building is gently stepped and sloped internally and externally to sit within its high density residential context.

An intensive green roof and rubber-crumbed rooftop play area make up for the site’s shortfall of ground floor play space. The rear roof holds 400m2 of photovoltaic panels, which reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 22 per cent. Large areas of rooflight and an acoustically attenuated passive-stack ventilation scheme work with the lightwells in the first floor slab to bring natural light and fresh air deep into the single-aspect building.

The north elevation of the building is designed as a ‘cliff face’ to an artificial hill - with projecting brick headers in a diaper pattern framing banks of north-facing aluminium composite windows.

Kasan Goh, director, Clay Architecture

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