Magdalen College Oxford, UK

2020

When it came to the refurbishment and remodelling of the Grade II listed Buckler Library at Oxford’s Magdalen College, the designers had to strip the building back to its shell and successfully blend the old with the new. 

Central to their design was incorporating modern and discreet building materials including the SIDERISE acoustic barrier mat – ensuring optimum levels of acoustic control whilst providing a stunning and peaceful working environment for students and academic staff.

Magdalen College Oxford

The existing Grade II listed library building and quadrangle, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, was previously adapted in the 1930s from the Magdalen College School, which was built in the mid-19th Century.

The challenge for Wright & Wright Architects was to not only create a brand new wing, which wraps around the Buckler Building within the walled quadrangle, but also to completely remodel the interior of the cavernous Victorian library.

This meant creating three new floors of bookcases and study desks without impinging on the existing structure. It also meant incorporating an acoustic solution to the roof to reduce traffic noise from the High Street and Longwall Street.

SIDERISE, the UK’s leading manufacturer of firestop and acoustic barrier insulation systems, was approached by building services engineers, Max Fordham. Chosen for their technical expertise in acoustics, they were tasked with finding a thin and flexible solution that could achieve suitably low indoor ambient noise levels within the transformed historic building. This led to the specification oftheSIDERISE BM/P acoustic barrier mat, which was installed beneath the timber boarding in the pitched roof. 

Commenting on the collaborative working relationship with SIDERISE, Anthony Chilton, Head of Acoustics at Max Fordham said: “A significant amount of noise was breaking into the library via the historic roof so an acoustic mat was an obvious solution – however, we had a limit to how thick the new layer could be due to the listed status. At only 4.5mm thick, the SIDERISE BM/P acoustic barrier mat met the brief and was added to reduce traffic noise ingress via the roof and achieve suitably low indoor ambient noise levels within the library.”

Used to improve acoustic performance and form a simple, high performance sound barrier, the SIDERISE BM/P acoustic barrier mat was installed in two layers, each 4.5mm thick, and covered a total roof area of 660 square metres. Offering optimum sound reduction and dampening performance, it is designed to improve the sound insulation value of existing panels of metal, wood, plastic and GRP, as well as being used in sandwich constructions or as an internal membrane in built-up composites.

Involved in projects throughout the world, SIDERISE has over 40 years’ experience in architectural acoustics, designing acoustic solutions to meet building challenges and developing acoustic materials for sound reduction, sound absorption and damping. These cover a range of applications from recording studios, commercial buildings, facades, interiors through to plant rooms, building services and natural ventilation.

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