Priory House, Bedfordshire

Completed in 2006, Priory House, Shefford, Bedfordshire is the striking new purpose built 6,000m² facility for the Mid‑Bedfordshire District Council.

Key features




Mid-Bedfordshire Council


Hamiltons Architects

Main contractor

ISG Interior Exterior


Hart Interiors

Completion year


System type

SAS500, Protective Panels

Area M2



United Kingdom

Working with SAS International, Hamiltons Architects introduced some innovative and natural ventilation solutions for the project, which incorporated SAS International’s acoustic vertical baffles and wall panels in this environmentally progressive building.

Acoustic ceiling-mounted baffles were chosen for the main office areas. They provide acoustic absorption in the office, to the client’s required performance levels; while keeping the concrete soffit fully exposed for energy-efficient natural cross ventilation cooling. 

Hamiltons Architects developed the baffle details alongside SAS International. Design constraints included; the depth and width of the baffles (which directly affected the performance of the soffit‑mounted luminaires), the amount of air flow between baffles and localised acoustic requirements.

Project Architect at Hamiltons Architects, Jorge Ortega commented: “The baffles were an ideal solution because this is a naturally ventilated building which relies on cross ventilation at high levels to cool down the exposed concrete soffit, which in turn provides the thermal mass for this particular strategy to work. Baffles also provide vertical surfaces which are easy to clean, permitting extremely low maintenance at a very competitive cost.”

The building’s double height Council Chambers were a further challenge. They had been designed to be flexible: suitable for concerts, functions and exhibitions as well as their designated function. Acoustic wall panels were proposed by Hamiltons Architects to comply with the acoustic requirements of the Chambers, and sixteen full-height acoustic wall panels were specified to absorb any reverberated sound.

The benchmark was to provide a vertical acoustic device for the same cost as a standard suspended ceiling system. A solution based on SAS standard ceiling components, but placed vertically as opposed to horizontally, was developed with tiles fitted into a special frame to hold them together to meet this requirement.

This exciting new building has regenerated a brownfield site, formerly occupied by the MOD at Chicksands allowing the Council to centralise its facilities in a modern and sensitive space, providing creative solutions for limited budget.


Systems used