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New build at King's Hawford is UK first

Saint Gobain launch first-ever 'multi-comfort' building at the King's School, Worcester

Posted by Stephanie Broad | May 20, 2016 | Facilities & buildings

Together with Associated Architects and Speller Metcalfe, Saint-Gobain has put its Multi-Comfort building standard into practice at King's Hawford, the junior school at The King’s School, Worcester.

The Bartholomew Barn, a multi-purpose sports and drama hall, demonstrates how a holistic approach to building and design will achieve optimum user comfort and is the first of its kind in the UK. The barn was named after Galen Bartholomew, the school’s retiring bursar who has overseen the development of other sustainable buildings at King’s. 

With north-facing windows, impressive timber structure, moveable theatre seating and impeccable airtightness, the Bartholomew Barn is expected to provide a ‘yardstick’ for future school buildings in the UK.

Saint-Gobain’s Multi-Comfort concept recognises the interrelation between five key elements:  

  • Thermal comfort – including air temperature and humidity
  • Audio comfort – including outdoor noise, hearing and speech clarity
  • Indoor air comfort – a fresh air supply free from allergens and pollutants
  • Visual comfort – good light quality without glare
  • Economic comfort – cost effective to build and run in the long term 

The Multi-Comfort standard ensures that Bartholomew Barn is sustainable, economic to run, and will provide a quiet, comfortable and healthy environment for students, teachers and visitors, through the use of the right building materials. When we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, working in a building that has a positive impact on our health as well as the environment has never been more important. 

At the official press launch for Bartholomew Barn, architect and TV presenter Oliver Heath spoke about the concept of biophilic building, based on biophilia – the human need to connect with nature. There are three guiding principles in biophilic design, Oliver says: direct contact with nature such as water and plants, indirect contact where buildings invoke a sense of nature, and the human spatial response, where a building makes one feel energised or relaxed.

Speakers at the press launch of Bartholomew Barn L-R: Oliver Heath, Galen Bartholomew and Adrian Speller

Associated Architects have previously worked with King’s Worcester on their new library and boathouse. John Christophers from the firm said that King’s understand the measurable benefits of sustainable building, and that “Green can be great, green can be fun.”

Over the next few months, Saint Gobain will implement data systems to collect information on the building during occupancy to test its performance.

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