Sep 20, 2019 Last Updated 10:52 AM, Aug 14, 2019

Ceiling system is the perfect formula at Oxford University

Published in Technical Focus
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A British Gypsum ceiling system has been used in the development of a new £70m building for the University of Oxford's Mathematical Institute. The CasoLine MF system was used throughout the prestigious Andrew Wiles Building to achieve high visual impact, acoustic performance and improved indoor air quality.


A combination of acoustic boards was selected as part of the CasoLine MF system, including Rigitone 8/18 which was installed in atrium areas to reduce sound reverberation and increase sound absorption in the large, open communal areas of the building.

Gyptone Line 6 was installed to the underside of the floating staircase to provide greater sound absorption in areas directly outside classrooms. The geometric, perforated line pattern was chosen as a striking contrast to the Rigitone 8/18 boards, creating an attractive design in keeping with the interior theme of the building.

The building, which features six lecture theatres, workspace for over 500 researchers, and will serve 900 undergraduates, is occupied by students, staff and guests who spend long periods of time studying, teaching and learning in the building.

The Gyptone ceiling board was therefore specified with British Gypsum’s innovative ACTIVair technology which absorbs and converts formaldehyde, a common volatile organic compound (VOC) into inert compounds. It has been demonstrated in laboratory testing to decompose up to 70% of formaldehyde from the air, and improves the air quality within the building.

David Portman, Director at Rafael Vinoly Architects P.C., who designed the project, said: “We chose this combination of ceiling board as it offers high durability and acoustic performance which really is essential in multi-use buildings. We always recommend that steps are taken to improve air quality in buildings such as these, and now British Gypsum’s ACTIVair is available across its Gyptone range, we were able to combine the practical performance we required from a ceiling solution, with the health benefits of ACTIVair.”

ACTIVair technology was specified as a solution to airborne formaldehyde and other VOCs emitted into the atmosphere from everyday items, such as carpets and furniture, that can affect the productivity of occupants. The World Health Organisation (WHO) concerns about formaldehyde in relation to human health are well published (WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: selected pollutants; 2010).

Dr Keith Gillow, Project Manager at the University of Oxford, comments: “The Andrew Wiles Building serves as a flagship development for higher education in the UK, so it was crucial that every last detail, from acoustics, to the ceiling design, was right. By using the British Gypsum ceiling boards we were able to achieve superior acoustic performance to prevent sound travelling from room to room, an attractive design that complements the interior of the building, and we have also improved the air quality for all occupants of the building.”

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