Delivering better acoustics and better air quality at VELUX’s new head office
Our technical expertise, knowledge, know-how and care delivered acoustic excellence in a challenging open-plan space.
“Natural ventilation and daylight were critical in this project. A lot of people will use the office space, with the call centre alone housing around 120 people, so it’s important to VELUX® that it feels open and airy, while meeting the high standards of style and functionality that the business focuses on for its own products and solutions.”
Iain Mitchell, Sinclair Watt Architects
A clear view
When work began on the 37,673 ft2 two-storey extension of the VELUX® headquarters in Fife, the client had a clear ambition from the outset. As the building was to be home to a customer interaction centre, training facilities, meeting suites, office space and a restaurant, it was essential to create a feeling of space and openness. This also complemented VELUX’s focus on providing spaces with good daylight and ventilation for employee comfort and wellbeing.
In response to the brief, Sinclair Watt Architects created a design with horizontal and vertical open plan spaces. The extension, which is built on a gently sloping site, is glulam-framed with full-height glass, stone and timber cladding. It also features the very latest in VELUX® technology, including its Modular Skylight System, flat roof windows and sun tunnels.
Iain Mitchell, Sinclair Watt Architects, describes: “On the upper level, the curved ceiling is a fantastic addition, further enhancing the feeling of space. However, this design when combined with vertical and horizontal open plan areas and a lot of people, presented challenges acoustically in planning and construction.”
To ensure a comfortable working environment for VELUX’s 160 office-based employees, the project team engaged our services. Reviewing the initial designs, we explored likely reverberation times in different parts of the office space and ways that plaster and drylining systems could be used to improve acoustic performance.
In particular, we provided significant specification for the curved ceiling within the headquarters, working with the glulam frame manufacturer to develop a bespoke solution. To help model the design upfront, we also provided technical drawings to Sinclair Watt Architects.
The CasoLine MF ceiling system was selected for the project as it provides a high level of design flexibility, ideal for the complex curve design of the project.
CasoLine MF can be used in conjunction with a wide range of Gyproc plasterboards, but due to the enhanced acoustic needs of the project, VELUX® and Sinclair Watt Architects opted for Gyptone BIG Quattro 41.
Gyptone BIG Quattro 41 is a plasterboard manufactured with small recessed square perforations across 16% of its surface area. When combined with acoustic backing tissue, these perforations help optimise reverberation time and improve speech intelligibility. Ideal for large surfaces such as ceilings, the boards create a smooth finish with no visible joints.
An air of quality
As well as providing the acoustic comfort needed for an open office space, Gyptone BIG Quattro 41 was also selected for its ability to improve indoor air quality.
All Gyptone ceilings include Activ’Air technology that is designed to decompose formaldehyde emissions into non-harmful inert compounds, eliminating the risk of re-emission. Tested by the accredited Eurofins laboratory, Activ’Air decomposes 70% of the formaldehyde in a controlled test environment when 1m² of Activ’Air technology is installed per volume (m³).
Scott Leeder, Market Director VELUX Company Ltd explained: “Our focus was to provide a much-improved working environment for our existing employees with room for growth. The building’s design and the products used throughout help us achieve that goal. As a company, we have a passion for daylight, fresh air, and better environments for living and working. British Gypsum’s own mission is similar and working with them, we were able to create the perfect office environment for our staff.”
We care about building better.