Drill Hall Library and Desso

DRILL Hall Library is a modern student resource and computing centre in a grade 2 listed building for the three Universities at Medway partners, the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University. But its historic origins extend back to 1902, when the Drill Hall was first built.

Originally designed as part of the Royal Navy Barracks in Chatham, the navy would use the space for training exercises in bad weather. Since Drill Hall’s reopening in 2006, the library has become a focal point for the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent and the Canterbury Christ Church University, evolving into both a place of study and meeting point for students.

The striking Drill Hall Library sits in Chatham Maritime, north of Maidstone in Kent, with a spacious and light space, complete with metal beams and exposed brick.

To contrast its industrial image, a modern and sleek look was chosen – which is why flooring contractor Elite Flooring turned to Desso (part of Tarkett) to provide flooring that could provide a healthy environment for a recent refurbishment.

Desso installed 2,000sq m of Desso AirMaster Blend 9980 – a structured loop pile carpet tile that’s said to bring a strong design look, as well as health and wellbeing and functional benefits.

Ash and charcoal shades of grey in a flowing pattern allow the brightly coloured furniture to stand out and the books to take centre stage.

The carpet tiles are also said to provide the perfect backdrop for breakout spaces, where collaboration is encouraged.

For a library full of books and computer equipment that tend to attract dust, installing a carpet tile that would improve indoor air quality was paramount, particularly owing to the large open plan layout.

Desso AirMaster was chosen for its reported ability to reduce the concentration of fine dust indoors eight times more effectively than hard flooring, and four times better than standard carpet.

With a steady flow of students, heavy wear-and-tear is to be expected. It was important for Drill Hall Library to have durable flooring that would clean well and be resistant to stains.

Desso AirMaster, said to be one of Desso’s more innovative carpet tiles, is a hardwearing product designed to meet these conditions.

Drill Hall Library offers a space for quiet, silent study, and needed a carpet tile that would aid this environment, helping keep noise under control. Desso AirMaster was a way to improve the acoustics of the building, as well as provide an area for peaceful contemplation – suitable for concentration.

Dave Puplett, Drill Hall library manager, Universities at Medway, comments on the new look, ‘The Desso AirMaster Blend has been great in our very busy Drill Hall Library. Its modern look has been very well received with our student population, it has excellent environmental qualities, and it’s hardwearing enough to withstand everything we’ve thrown at it.

‘It’s worked so well we’ve now used the same carpet tiles in our Pilkington Building teaching rooms.’
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