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Case study: River Court

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Theme: ceilings, partitions and raised floors

At River Court our brief was to provide two large 600-trader dealing floors. Both the client, a major US investment bank, and ourselves were keen to maximise the feeling of openness, exaggerate the apparent height of the dealer floors and provide good lighting to enhance both the space and the working environment.

The mechanical solution required the air handling units (AHUs) to be set above the 3m ceiling height, but we felt it was important that this alone did not dictate the height of the ceiling throughout, particularly as it appeared space could be freed up between the lines of the AHUs.

Working closely with the engineer White, Young, Green, we developed a solution with Gema Metal Ceilings (UK). We created a 'waveform ceiling' with peaks and troughs. The waves are at 3m centres to respond to the building grid, with linear fluorescent 'up and down' component light fittings suspended at the upper part of the wave on every other 1,500mm gridline. The lower section of the wave houses the fan-coil unit with 13/17mm hinged-down 'bomb door' panels on the trough for access to the air handling units. The effect is stunning, creating excellent direct and indirect lighting.

The overall ceiling system was developed from a Gema B-H335 tartan grid and incorporated 13/17 x 1750mm demountable hinged-down mega panels with safety wires.

The polyester powder coated (RAL 9010, 20 per cent gloss) tiles were all micro-perforated with 1.5mm diameter holes at 4mm staggered centres, giving 22 per cent open plan with 10mm plain margin (pattern RD1522). Acoustic Melatech backing pads were supported on a special 1,300mm wide curved profile suspended from the Gemagrid-R suspended system. All smoke detectors, sprinklers and presence detectors were mounted in the 100mm ceiling zone. Air diffusers are above the light fittings at the tops of the troughs. We did substantial testing to ensure air diffused properly across the ceiling into the space. Full working mock-ups were built to investigate the light source, quality of light and its acceptability to dealers. The overall effect is impressive and has massively increased the apparent height of the dealer floors to create some of the largest dealer-floor volumes in the City of London.

PRODUCT DATA Gema Metal Ceilings (UK). B-H 335 tartan grid (curved) ceiling system. 13/17 x 1,750mm demountable hinged-down mega panels with safety wires. Microperforated (pattern RD1522, 1.5mm diameter holes at 4mm staggered centres, giving 22 per cent open area with 10mm plain margin). Polyester powder coated (RAL 9010, 20 per cent gloss) ceiling tiles with acoustic Melatech backing pads supported on a special wide curved profile suspended from a Gemagrid-R suspension system.

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