Waverley supplied and installed all of the blinds and curtains in the new Science & Technology Block and Sixth Form Centre at Sevenoaks School.
Designed by Tim Ronalds Architects and constructed by Gilbert-Ash Construction Ltd, the £30m project must be one of the most sophisticated, high specification education buildings in the UK, enhancing the reputation of Sevenoaks School as one of the country’s leading private education establishments.
The school is situated on a magnificent site overlooking historic Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent. The interior of the Science & Technology Centre is designed to encourage curiosity and collaboration in young scientists. One key consideration was that all activity should be visible: whether it is experiments in progress, prototype testing, or students and staff in activity and discussion. The laboratories are arranged on three floors around a central toplit atrium lined with vitrines (glass display cabinets).
The Sixth Form Centre provides relaxing yet stimulating social, private study and educational space for the 400 sixth form students. There is also a large multi-purpose space designed for exams and other events.
Sophisticated Electrical Integration & Wiring for Blinds
The project required very close co-ordination with the main contractor and included our provision of all electrical design and installation to provide wiring with sophisticated control systems. The remit was to create a system in which CO2 levels within the building could be monitored and controlled through the automatic opening and closing of high-level inaccessible windows and blinds in the individual classrooms and open areas.
Our electrical design team integrated the existing BMS control system that monitors CO2 levels with its own blind control system. A strategy was created which would open the blinds should the sensors detect rising CO2 levels in the individual classrooms. Once the blinds are fully open, the blind control system then instructs the relevant windows to follow, allowing the CO2 level of the room to return to normal. We designed a control panel to create a bespoke strategy to fully integrate the blind controls with the existing BMS and window control system. This included an external key lock override system, allowing maintenance and cleaning crews the ability to raise all the blinds on each floor without having to access the internals of the control panel.
The control panel design uses the latest blind controls technology such as fully digital SMI protocol to operate the motors. This allows for individual control and feedback on each blind. This function then provides the onsite BMS system with blinds positions for visualisation on the Head Ends BMS graphics.
Shading to Labs & Classrooms
Silent Gliss 4910 and 4740 chain operated roller blinds have been installed at lab windows in screen fabric to provide glare protection when room darkening not required, and additional roller blinds in blackout fabric where needed.
Similar blinds to the classroom vitrines have also been installed.
The hardware was powder coated to specific Interpon colours to ensure it matched with the window frames – there were several different colour window frames throughout the building including golds and bronzes (intended to blend with the landscape) and flashes of pink and orange. High level roof light glazing throughout the building has been shaded by SHY Zip and Sunfacta motorised tensioned blinds. In the science labs these are complete blackout blinds and in the sixth form area they are screen blinds. As mentioned, all the motorised blinds are integrated into the control system.
High Level Shading
One of the complexities of the project was ensuring the side channels of the high-level blackout blinds were recessed into the side of the window reveals, to enhance the minimalist interior design. We installed a mixture of motorised SHY Obscura roller blinds and SHY Zip blinds in screen and blackout fabrics in the event space to provide maximum room darkening when the space is used for audio-visual presentations or theatrical performances.
All wiring for the blinds has been concealed with aluminium conduit, powder coated to match the window surrounds.
Wave Curtains to Social & Study Areas
The social and study areas have been given a softer ambience with the use of Silent Gliss 6840 Wave curtain tracks with Wave curtains.
The curtains are in Kvadrat Zulu sheer fabric or Kvadrat Divina Melange 2 fabric, again colour coordinated with the window frames.
The Result: BREEAM ‘Excellent’
The end result is an aesthetically stunning and highly functional education facility with the window furnishings helping to creating an exceptional learning environment, and to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.
The project has earned Tim Ronalds Architects a clutch of awards:
RIBA National Award for Architecture
RIBA South East Award for Architecture
RIBA South East ‘Client of the Year’
RICS National Awards 2019 – Design through Innovation – Shortlisted
RICS South East – Design through Innovation Award – Winner
RICS South East – Community Benefit Award – Shortlisted
Shueco Excellence Awards – Steel Project Winner
Construction News Awards – Project of the Year (£20m – £50m) – Shortlisted
Concrete Awards 2019 – Shortlisted
What They Say
“The custom designed system installed is a prime example of the direction in which the motorised blind industry is heading” – Electrical Sub-Contractor
“The beauty and proportion of the buildings radiate calm, as well as a sense of collaborative endeavour. The materials are warm, human and inviting. The transparency and light, as well as these open spaces for discussion, collaboration and study, have brought to our students and our teachers a new dimension.” – Sevenoaks School Head
“A great cathedral of a space, full of life and light” – RIBA Jury
Silent Gliss 4910 Chain Operated Roller Blind
Silent Gliss 4740 Large Chain Operated Dimout Blind
Silent Gliss 4840 Chain Operated Roller Blind
Silent Gliss 4930 Chain Operated Roller Blind
Silent Gliss 6840 Wave Curtain Track
DrapeTech Wave Curtains
Kvadrat Zulu 2 Curtain Fabric
Kvadrat Divina Melange 3 Curtain Fabric