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Pale maple floors form backdrop to new student accommodation

COTTRELL + Vermeulen Architecture has designed new, bright and airy postgraduate accommodation for Churchill College, Cambridge with interiors featuring Junckers’ solid maple flooring.

Cottrell + Vermeulen won a competition to design the new buildings, 16 years after the studio completed a housing scheme on a neighbouring site.

The 35 new units of accommodation comprise five studio flats and 30 ensuite rooms with spacious communal areas on each floor, spread across three buildings.

The design builds on the original architectural scheme, designed as an extension to CVA’s previous work on the site. The architects sought to recreate the warmth and brightness of the original college rooms from the ‘60s and said they found Junckers’ maple flooring a good match.

The choice of two-strip boards, where two staves of wood make up one floorboard, was also a reference to the narrow boards used in the original rooms. The naturally pale tone of the maple floor is matched by joinery in birch faced plywood ‘to form a comfortable and welcoming space’.

VA Hutchison Flooring fitted the solid wood floor over New Era acoustic cradles which provide an impact sound reduction of 27dB. The New Era acoustic system is height adjustable for use on structural concrete slabs, block and beam floors and almost any other type of sound, dry loadbearing base.

The system reportedly complies with building regulations for multi-occupancy residential buildings.

Quiet floors in multiple occupancy buildings
An important consideration for student accommodation is how impact sound travels through floors from one dwelling into another. Building regulations set out minimum standards for impact and airborne sound through floors which apply to residential buildings and buildings converted to new uses, including hotels and care homes.

The floor finish will usually act in combination with other elements of the building to achieve the target levels of sound insulation. The design of the subfloor and ceiling beneath play an important role, as does the way the floor finish may need to be isolated from the walls that surround it, but there’s no question the right acoustic floor will control the transmission of impact sound.

Junckers has a range of acoustics systems available which comply with building regulations. The newly updated New Era acoustic system is a height adjustable system for use on structural concrete slabs, block and beam floors and almost any other type of sound, dry load-bearing base.

Says Junckers: ‘The New Era system uses acoustic cradles with 10mm thick recycled rubber pads, factory-fitted to the underside. The cradles are height adjustable using purpose-made packers, supporting laminated timber battens. 50mm thick mineral wool insulation is placed between the battens and Junckers 20.5mm or 22mm thick solid wood floorboards are fixed to the battens to complete the installation.

‘The use of 36mm thick battens achieves an impact sound reduction of 27dB; and a 48mm thick batten achieves an impact sound reduction of 28dB, thus complying with building regulations.

For Junckers 14mm thick sold wood flooring installed with Junckers’ Clip System, an impact sound reduction of 19dB can be achieved with Junckers’ 5mm thick CA2 Acoustic Underlay, loose laid with the floorboards installed on top as a floating layer, no fixings required.’

The company continues: ‘Contributing to everyday wellbeing, a pale floor will help reduce the need for artificial light and therefore saves energy. In contrast to a dark surface, which absorbs and holds heat and subsequently releases it back into the room, a pale floor will not contribute to overheating, reducing the need for air cooling systems.

‘Chosen not only for its aesthetics, the perfectly smooth surface of a Junckers floor which cannot harbour dust or mites and ensures a healthy indoor climate. Low levels of VOCs and formaldehyde, a key part of the health and wellbeing targets set out in the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge, all Junckers’ floors hold the Danish Indoor Climate label and have undergone extensive degassing and odour testing to ensure there are no chemical substances in the flooring. As an all-natural material, wood contributes to a balanced environment as it helps maintain an even temperature in a room and reduces static from any electrical equipment.’

Specifiers are increasingly concerned with using building practices and materials that help mitigate the climate crisis and help a building project towards net zero carbon status. As public buildings, schools and education facilities now must demonstrate carbon reduction in order to receive funding; and architects, interior designers and main contractors have pledged to mitigate the climate crisis through schemes such as Architects Declare and Contractors Declare, more and more clients will be asking for independently verified data showing a company’s environmental impact from cradle-to-gate, embodied carbon figures, longevity, and recyclability.

Concludes Junckers: ‘In addition, a solid hardwood floor from Junckers is one of the most environmentally friendly flooring options on the market – all Junckers’ timber comes from managed forests with FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification and are manufactured in a carbon neutral facility. Junckers has also completed EPDs (environmental product declarations) for its floors, a move towards simplifier specification for buildings targeting a net zero carbon rating.

‘Junckers floors are A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. Junckers’ products have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. At the end of their long lives, the floors can often be repurposed and are very easy to recycle, in contrast to materials made from fossil fuels.’

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