4000m2 of high performance Rockfon ceiling and wall systems make a valuable contribution to the successful fruition of the stunning and innovative £40m Harris Academy Sutton, South London – the first secondary school in the country to be built to Passivhaus energy performance standards, pioneered in the early 1990s by German designers to achieve comfortable buildings that use 80% less energy.

The main tenets of Passivhaus ideology include high performance multi-layered glazing, increased insulation to create air-tight interiors, and the use of natural and recycled building materials. Along with mechanical ventilation, this style of construction results in major savings on energy costs year-on-year and provides excellent air quality and stable temperatures for students and staff.

Rockfon’s acoustic ceiling and wall systems are recyclable and are upcycled into new insulation products at its ROCKWOOL factory in Bridgend, which offers great advantages in reducing a building’s ecological footprint. Stone wool tiles have excellent light reflectance which are key factors in helping minimise the need for power to regulate and disperse light within a space.

Beauty and function

At Harris Academy, exposed concrete or cross laminated timber soffits are used. Project architects – Architype – wanted to expose as much of these materials as possible for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Rockfon® Tropic™ and Rockfon Blanka® ceiling tiles were used to great effect with their superb sound absorption properties in these staff and teaching spaces, helping create happy, healthy interior environments.

Architect Mark Martines commented, “The ceilings we chose can be installed around slab soffits and the linear bulkheads which are used to distribute services around the building. They offer good sound control, absorption and reverberation, and allow us design freedom without compromising on performance. Their cut-to-fit capability also reduces material waste.”

All its ranges are made from non-hygroscopic, non-combustible, stone wool, which is impervious to most environmental pressures, embodying very high humidity resistance, up to 100% RH. Their surfaces also provide no sustenance to harmful micro-organisms such as mould and fungi, playing an important role in limiting the spread bacteria.

Complete product solution

Throughout the school’s communal areas, innovative and versatile, frameless, acoustic, Rockfon Eclipse® rectangular islands are installed either singularly or suspended from the soffit in a continuous run, to control reverberation and retain a view of the exposed soffits. Their smooth, deep-matt, super white surface provides high light reflection, light diffusion and anti-static properties.

Elsewhere, Rockfon® Samson™ is used as wall panels in the sports hall to provide a highly resilient, impact resistant surface which offers Class A sound absorption – vital where noise levels could otherwise impact on communication and the enjoyment of group activities.

Rockfon® Koral™ ceiling tiles were used in the school WCs and changing rooms where their superior moisture resistant properties and wipe clean surface were paramount. In the kitchens and food tech rooms our highly durable Rockfon® Hygienic™ was the perfect fit. Both ranges will withstand frequent cleaning and are guaranteed to retain their dimensionally stability and shape in demanding, humid, conditions.

Rockfon Color-all® is available in a standard range of 34 exclusive colours and can be supplied in almost any colour. It was used in the deep Charcoal option to create a warm, expressive feel on the walls of the drama rooms where sound control was also an important consideration.

Willmott Dixon Construction Manager Graham Thompson said, That Rockfon were able to supply systems for use throughout the school, from its sports hall where impact resistance was key, to teaching areas, toilets and food tech spaces each with their own demands in terms of performance characteristics is testament to its product range and to the Rockfon team. They were also worthy winners of The Quality Award at our recent Willmott Dixon National Supply Chain Awards.