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Rockfon at revolutionary Passivhaus Harris Academy

4000m2 of high-performance Rockfon ceiling and wall systems make a valuable contribution to the innovative £40m Harris Academy Sutton, South London – the first secondary school in the country to be built to Passivhaus energy performance standards, pioneered in the early 1990s by German designers to achieve comfortable buildings that use 80% less energy.


The main tenets of Passivhaus ideology include high-performance multi-layered glazing, increased insulation to create air-tight interiors, and the use of natural and recycled building materials. Along with mechanical ventilation, this style of construction results in major savings on energy costs year-on-year and provides excellent air quality and stable temperatures for students and staff.

At Harris Academy, exposed concrete or cross laminated timber soffits are used. Project architect Architype wanted to expose as much of these materials as possible for both aesthetic and practical reasons. Rockfon Tropic and Rockfon Blanka ceiling tiles were used to great effect with their superb sound absorption properties in these staff and teaching spaces, helping create happy, healthy interior environments.

Throughout the school’s communal areas, innovative and versatile, frameless, acoustic, Rockfon Eclipse rectangular islands are installed either singularly or suspended from the soffit in a continuous run, to control reverberation and retain a view of the exposed soffits. Their smooth, deep-matt, super white surface provides high light reflection, light diffusion and anti-static properties.

Elsewhere, Rockfon Samson is used as wall panels in the sports hall to provide a highly resilient, impact resistant surface which offers Class A sound absorption – vital where noise levels could otherwise impact on communication and the enjoyment of group activities.

Rockfon Koral ceiling tiles were used in the school WCs and changing rooms where their superior moisture resistant properties and wipe clean surface were paramount. In the kitchens and food tech rooms, the highly durable Rockfon Hygienic was the perfect fit. Both ranges will withstand frequent cleaning and are guaranteed to retain their dimensionally stability and shape in demanding, humid, conditions.

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