SHAW Contract’s Auxiliary carpet tiles have reportedly provided the solution for new Castle Mead Academy. Specifiers in the education sector are now, more than ever, striving to deliver an outstanding student experience in schools and higher education. And this demands consideration of a range of specification criteria together to achieve an optimum result.
Having been appointed to the scheme by the department for education under its national education framework, BAM Construction has worked on three new schools in the East Midlands. They were developed and delivered mainly via a ‘one BAM’ approach – combining several of BAM’s companies, and in particular, BAM Design. BAM Design has been an important player for all three schools and was lead architect for Castle Mead Academy in Leicester.
Castle Mead Academy is a 1,200-place 8FE new academy, adding to the successful run of schools for the Mead Educational Trust. Created on a brown-field site that was the former Kirby and West Dairy, the picturesque site is along the River Soar and of heritage interest, with Friars Mill on the other side of the river. This three-storey building was developed with enhanced, vertical standing-seam panel facades to complement the river elevation. To enhance the compact site extensive landscaping was developed to give variety to the student experience.
The fitout was also important for this project and Shaw Contract’s Auxiliary collection carpet tiles, made in the UK, were specified in a range of the interior spaces. Design and installation was completed by Active Flooring last summer.
A sustainable and healthy approach
Sustainability is a key feature of this schools programme with BAM delivering the department of education’s vision of passive built-in sustainable features. This includes good daylit and ventilated rooms with high ceilings that access thermal mass and use of hybrid ventilation units to give a controllable classroom environment.
Good indoor air quality (IAQ) is critical for a healthy and productive learning environment. The indoor environment has become one where design really makes an impact on us. Occupant comfort is a part of this and has become a key consideration in all the spaces where we work and learn.
Understanding the measures for IAQ, along with indoor environmental quality (IEQ) factors such as lighting, acoustics, and thermal comfort is critical for successful learning environments. Compliance for acoustics, lighting, and ventilation levels to meet the needs of both regulations and levels of occupant comfort is required.
Material specification for floorcoverings has a role to play in creating healthy learning environments. This includes identification of individual volatile organic compounds (VOC) and odours. Indoors, VOCs are mostly released into the air from the use of products and materials containing VOCs.
The importance of specifying floorcoverings that are certified to rigorous indoor emissions requirements and analysis of their material ingredients cannot be overlooked.
Shaw Contract’s carpet tiles manufactured in the UK are reportedly indoor air comfort GOLD, meeting the most stringent compliance of a product with low VOC emissions criteria set out in Europe. They’re also reportedly Cradle-to-Cradle certified, an approach which includes focus on material health and ingredients.
Positive learning environments
Our ability to learn actively also suffers when we struggle to understand what is being said, or there is excessive noise that breaks our concentration. In ‘teaching mode’, students need to be able to clearly hear what is being spoken. For group work or during times of individual quiet study, it’s important the internal noise is suitably low.
Soft floor finishes such as carpet tiles can make a significant contribution to the control of internal noise levels and reverberance – the time it takes for sound to die out. Carpet tiles also help with impact sound reduction.
The study The Impact of Classroom Design on Pupils’ Learnings from University of Salford, Manchester, reveals the physical aspects of a classroom such as colour, light, textures, and air quality could improve a student’s learning progress by up to 16%.
Says the company: ‘At Castle Mead Academy the choice of the Auxiliary collection meant the designers had a range of warm and cool colours, and styles to choose from in the knowledge that key performance criteria could also be met. Opting for grey and blue tones, the school shows styles Complement and Feature used to great effect introducing colour and subtle pattern.
‘Shaw Contract’s carpet tiles have been installed through corridor areas, classrooms and in the school library to provide a flooring solution that contributes to delivering a modern, contemporary learning environment.’
Carpet tiles are popular flooring choice for educational environments because they’re easy to install and maintain, help reduce noise and have a long lifetime. Modular flooring options also mean tiles can be lifted easily and replaced as required.
Quick supply during downtime is also critical. The company says: ‘Expedited delivery ensures Shaw Contract’s In Stock programme options such as the Auxiliary collection are fast-tracked for projects that demand quick turnarounds without compromising creativity. And with yarn held in stock too at Shaw Contract’s manufacturing facility in Scotland, there’s the reassurance of consistent supply.’