Rockfon welcomed the challenge of collaborating to conceive a ground-breaking acoustic ceiling installation that not only looks great but controls sound beautifully, helping create the perfect environment for students to read and study in.

Sheffield Hallam University appointed an alliance team to undertake their larger scale construction works over for the next six years, in partnership with BDP Architects, BAM Construction and CBRE Facilities Management.

Adsetts Library – a vital resource and haven

The library provides an impressive, balconied, multi-storey focal point for students and staff, to educate, learn, read and study in a variety of open plan and more formal spaces. Traditionally the library also provides a haven where a certain hush can be relied on by its thousands of users – something Rockfon understands the mechanics and science of more than most.

BAM invited installation specialists Brebur to find a solution to the university’s needs at the library. In turn, they, approached Rockfon in order to explore options and generate plans to design and install a replacement, taking in to consideration site access and the library’s vast height, inclines and span, alongside the need to retain services for students and staff.

Brainstorming a bespoke solution

Brebur Commecial Director, Tommy Burke, talked about the project, “Working with the Hallam alliance team, BAM construction and our supply chain partners, Rockfon, we looked for the structural and aesthetic solution that would best fulfil the acoustic requirements. Brainstorming sessions resulted in a unique specification that would ‘tick all the boxes’ whist also improving the efficiency and performance of the building.”

Rockfon Technical Manager, Tim Spencer, recalls the development and specification process, “Initially we looked at options for traditional wire-suspended ceiling islands, but these were quickly discounted due to the available space for fixing and the varying pitch of the structure. Fortunately, Rockfon had developed an innovative new direct fixing system for its Rockfon Eclipse® Islands, for use in situations of restricted height. Even so, installing islands at pitches of 45 and 60 degrees was new territory. Thoughts then turned to designing a system of grid steelwork to successfully fix the islands, which would handle the loads  over a 3m span, whilst also subsequently accommodating lighting specified by the client. The answer proved to be our Chicago MetallicTM 55mm structural ‘I’ profiles positioned at 600mm centres, fixed with a unique combination of U-bolts and bracketry.”

The perfect fit for a unique space

Around 400 1170mm x 1160mm Eclipse islands were installed throughout the library’s vast, multi-faceted space, which is four storeys high at its apex. Clear glazed roof sections to one side allow natural light to flood in and reflect against the smooth, deep-matt, super white surface of the Eclipse islands which provide high light reflection and light diffusion.

Eclipse islands can be specified in a variety of shaped formats with bespoke colour matching options. They provide superior sound absorption and reduce reverberation – allowing design freedom without compromising on performance.

All Rockfon 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 anti-static surfaces repel dirt while providing no sustenance to harmful micro-organisms such as mould and fungi, playing an important role in limiting the spread of bacteria.

Brebur’s Tommy Burke, “The project was a challenge – you can say that again – but, as ever, with the assistance of the project team and of course, Rockfon, it was successfully delivered to the highest standard, on time, within budget and to the satisfaction of the whole team.”