The Business Academy, Bexley

SAS designed a series of twelve metre acoustic baffles that also acted as solar shades directing sunlight into the three main atrium areas at the new open plan Academy.

Key features

Sector

Education

Client

Department of Education & Skills

Architect

Foster + Partners

Main contractor

Exterior International Plc

Sub-contractor

Clark & Fenn

Completion year

2003

System type

SAS500, SAS600, SAS330

Area M2

8,000

Region

United Kingdom

Product Groups

Replacing the original Thames Mead community college the Business Academy, Bexley was designed by Foster & Partners and completed in just twelve months.

A school for children aged 3-19 it was constructed on a 33 acre site and cost £31 million. The Academy was the first purpose built, part-privately funded independent state school in Europe.

An ‘innovative success’ the Academy was short-listed for the Stirling Prize and has been used as the national template for other academies. The design objective of David Garrard the Academy’s private sponsor was to create a ‘transparent, open plan space, creating an atmosphere of brightness, to encourage learning.’

In keeping with this ethos, there are no corridors in the Academy and the teaching spaces are separated only by partitions. This open plan design placed significant demands on the building, the architect wanted to use acoustic baffles.

As a solution SAS designed a series of twelve metre acoustic baffles that also acted as solar shades directing sunlight into the three main atrium areas.

In individual classrooms acoustic floating rafts were used leaving an open soffit for natural mass cooling. In more demanding working areas such as the science laboratories metal systems were used to meet acoustics and rigorous cleaning and maintenance requirements.

Since moving to the new building students results have dramatically improved, two 95% of students obtaining A* – G Grades placing the school in the top 25% of all schools in the UK.

This project is an example of how dynamic thinking and design of a workplace environment has delivered benefits to its users, in this case the staff and students.

Systems used