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Ecophon - Environmentally friendly ceilings win royal approval

Upton, on the outskirts of Northampton, has been hailed as the most sustainable and environmentally friendly new community in the UK. Designed by English Partnerships, Northampton Borough Council, The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment and a team of design and planning consultants led by EDAW, the development includes…

A medical centre, shops and over a thousand ecological homes.

Upton Meadows Primary School, the first school in the country to achieve an ‘excellent’ rating under the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).  A BREEAM ‘very good’ rating is now a requirement of all major new school builds or refurbishments.  “We were proud to be part of this ground-breaking project, and chose Ecophon’s acoustic ceilings for the school because they are a trusted supplier and their products meet the ‘green specifications’ of BREEAM,” says Richard Robinson of Johnson Design Architects.

Upton Meadows School is unmistakably modern but, as might be expected of a building taking design guidance from Prince Charles, there are no utilitarian square concrete structures in sight. The roofs are substantial and steeply pitched creating large gable ends, some of which are gently curved and softly coloured. Many of the roof voids, therefore, are large and tall and demanded some creative suspended ceilings from Ecophon.

In the main hall the task of creating an arched ceiling was achieved using the Focus A tile. “Due to the natural flexibility of this standard tile and grid system the large arched ceiling was successfully achieved after careful planning,” explains Ecophon representative Kay Heritage. “Our in-house design team drew up plans for the grid, and the ceiling contractor came into our offices for training to ensure the installation went smoothly.”

For tighter curvature, the specialist Focus Flexiform tile was utilised, creating elegant wave-like sloping ceilings in the classrooms. Delivered flat for convenience, this tile is extremely flexible, capable of curves with a minimum radius of 200mm. The special grid system required for this tile was again designed in-house and custom-made at the Ecophon facility in Sweden. This tile still has the acoustic performance of the other products to complement the light and inspiring teaching spaces. In corridors and the library conventional flat acoustic ceilings were installed using the robust and easily demountable Gedina tile.

“We were impressed with Ecophon’s design service and the versatility of the product range, which overcame the difficulties posed by the very high ridge heights within the structure,” concludes Mr. Robinson.


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