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Inside the 'multi-comfort' zone

A Worcestershire school is investing in a new multi-purpose sports and drama hall built on 'holistic' principles

Posted by Dave Higgitt | May 28, 2015 | Bricks & mortar

Sustainable habitat and construction company Saint-Gobain has announced the start of its first UK project built to ‘multi-comfort’ standards. Together with Associated Architects and building contractor Speller Metcalfe, the company is putting its recently launched ‘multi-comfort’ building concept into practice with a new £1.2m multi-purpose sports and drama hall for Worcester’s King’s Hawford Junior School.

‘Multi-comfort’ means taking a holistic approach to construction and designing buildings with their occupants’ comfort, health and wellbeing in mind.

The 450sqm development at King’s Hawford will include a main sports hall, an office, storeroom, kitchenette, toilets and changing rooms. Due for completion in December, The Barn, which will replace the existing sports hall, will be used for games, assemblies, drama, music and dance plus external lettings.

Headmaster Jim Turner said: “The Barn represents a major investment for us and when it’s completed it will give fantastic multi-purpose sports and drama facility for our pupils. The use of ‘multi-comfort’ on the building will be perfect for the range of activities held there and I’m looking forward to seeing the difference it makes to the productivity and learning capabilities for the pupils. The Barn will be a great benefit to the school and I am certain it will be a superb facility to be used and enjoyed by many generations of pupils.”

Mark Allen, technical director for Saint-Gobain in the UK and Ireland, said: “After launching the concept at Ecobuild this year, it’s great to be able to put our years of research and development into practice and see ‘multi-comfort’ come to life. During the building’s operation, we’ll be working with the team to implement a series of monitoring systems that will collect data, which will prove useful in demonstrating the differences that both the teachers and children will experience within the ‘multi-comfort’ building.”

‘Multi-comfort’ buildings are designed to surpass existing building regulations, incorporating the energy-efficiency and thermal-comfort standards set by Passivhaus and introducing new standards in audio, indoor-air and visual comfort. In educational buildings, say Saint-Gobain, this will have benefits on the learning experience and attendance because, according to research, well-designed acoustic spaces can enhance concentration while better-quality environments  have led to increased attendance by three days per year, a 5-14 percent improvement in test scores and 20-26 percent faster learning rates in schools with optimal daylight.

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