University of Birmingham Library

Key features

Sector

Education

Client

University of Birmingham

Architect

Associated Architects

Main contractor

Carillion Plc

Sub-contractor

Titan Interior Solutions Ltd

Completion year

2016

System type

SAS150, SAS500, Acoustic Wall Systems

Area M2

4,419

Region

United Kingdom

Product Groups

Part of a vast regeneration programme to improve student amenities, the UoB invested £60m in a state-of-the-art academic library. The project aimed to celebrate the wider campus architectural styles and improve access to new resources like e-journals and wireless charging stations. Associated Architects chose SAS International to provide the high acoustic and finishing touches to the academic interior fit-out.

The architects chose anodised regency gold to reflect the early 20th Century era in which the university centre was built. Used on the solar fins that encase the library, the colour has a decadent look against the monochrome and pastel furnishings. Supplied by SAS International, bespoke anodised gold cladding and bulkheads complete the interior fit-out encasing the atrium lift-shafts, the main staircase and highlighting the university crest on the 4th floor.

In order to create an effective library environment, acoustic performance must also be carefully considered. With the aim to create a space suited for thousands of scholars, bespoke acoustic metal wall panels were supplied to the library. Depending on the location of each tile, the panels were finished in white and black-grey PPC or anodised in regency gold. Specified with a 23% or 50% open area, the panels act as acoustic absorbers with an oblong perforation. Each panel is fitted with a black, fleece-wrapped acoustic pad for high performance.

Tim Cornbill from Associated Architects said “We specified SAS to achieve the high-quality finish we desired and for the flexibility of the systems to meet the various performance criteria and sizing. The finished result is perfect, typified by the gold cladding to the main feature staircase in the atrium and the acoustic performance in the study spaces.”

The architects also specified three additional acoustic treatments for open soffit areas over computer clusters and lounge spaces. SAS500 baffles and bespoke ring shaped and circular rafts were created by SAS International to fulfil this requirement.

The discs and raft-halos are an SAS150 hybrid designed to fulfil acoustic and service requirements while contributing to the contemporary look. Consisting of multiple panels, the concealed grid system creates a smooth finish enclosed using a steel perimeter trim. Long 3m baffles were also installed in a continuous sequence along walkways and group study areas. These options provide durable acoustic solution, minimising maintenance and improving access to the soffit and services.

SAS International also supplied metal door panels to the project. Each plain panel was formed with an oblong perforation strip detail along one end. With this effect, the door casings visually connect the plain staircase cladding with the perforated acoustic wall panels. Using technologies not yet seen in the British university sector, the architects have effectively linked each element of the build to the next tying the theme of regency with modern amenities from exterior to interior.

Systems used