Sonic success

The sports hall at Al Mamoura academy ... ceiling rafts installed.

The Al Mamoura Academy in Abu Dhabi makes use of Knauf AMF’s Topiq Sonic Element ceiling rafts to control reverberation levels for a healthy learning environment.

Creating an environment that is conducive to learning was the primary objective when fitting out the Al Mamoura Academy in Abu Dhabi, which opened to students last September.

The latest addition to Aldar Academies, one of the UAE’s leading providers of world-class education, Al Mamoura Academy is a mixed primary and girls-only secondary school, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. These include an 1,000-seat auditorium, extensive music, drama and art facilities, research laboratory, graphic design area, music recording studio and recital hall and sports facilities.

In line with its ambition to meet the needs of 21st century learners, the school sought to provide outstanding acoustics and a stimulating aesthetic environment – and Knauf AMF has helped in these efforts with its high-spec acoustic ceiling systems that have been installed throughout the school, says Sreejith Panicker, director-operations for Middle East at Knauf AMF, a European manufacturer of high-quality ceiling systems.

Al Mamoura is divided into four large zones, one of which houses the school’s impressive sports facilities including a striking multi-purpose sports hall. The hard surfaces fitted in the hall are designed to withstand impact damage but often have poor sound absorbency. Here, AMF Topiq Sonic Element rafts have been installed. “These ceiling rafts provide very high sound absorption which is ideal for controlling reverberation in large spaces. The rafts are fitted below the services and ventilation systems, helping conceal the many ducts and pipes,” he explains.

The school reception and a classroom (left).

The school reception and a classroom (below).

Topiq Sonic Element comprises frameless and joint-free ceiling rafts, with smooth surfaces and sealed edges which absorb sound from all sides, helping to control noise in the highly reverberant sports hall. The rafts are available in six different standard shapes: circular, rectangular, oval, triangular, hexagonal and trapezoid. Alternative shapes are available on a special order basis. The sports hall is fitted with trapezium-shaped rafts with varying suspension angles to create a visually stimulating ceiling design.

The rafts are 40-mm thick and can be specified in white and numerous custom colours. Each raft is manufactured from Knauf AMF soft boards which are highly durable and lightweight, allowing for easy handing. 

The rafts are very straight forward to install, as Khaldoun Al Najjad at Al Mais Interior Design explains: “The rafts are installed using spiral anchors and stainless steel wire hangers, which are simple to attach to the soffit or ceiling. These fixing points are set back on the rafts which help give the appearance they are floating in air. Ease and flexibility of installation helped us to complete the work on time.”

The rafts can be positioned in an arrangement to suit the client’s choice including at different angles and heights to create a unique ceiling design, thanks to the adjustable hanging wires and connectors supplied as part of the system.

Thermatex Antaris ceiling tiles were chosen for the school’s classrooms, specialist science laboratories and circulation areas to meet the high acoustic requirements stipulated by the acoustic consultants. These areas can be busy, bustling and often noisy parts of the school. By installing ceilings with high sound absorption and sound attenuation, it is possible to control the level of reverberation for a healthy learning environment.

“Thermatex Antaris ceilings have high sound absorption, Class A, NRC 0.90, helping to improve speech-intelligibility and concentration in the learning spaces,” Panicker says.

Offering exemplary acoustic performance and fire safety in terms of reaction to fire, Thermatex Antaris ceilings were the ideal choice for a school. The clean, crisp appearance of the ceiling tiles was a perfect fit for the contemporary design of Al Mamoura. 

The building has a bright airy feel, thanks to the 90 per cent light reflectance of the ceiling’s white surface which maximises the use of natural daylight and helps reduce the need for artificial light.

Knauf AMF has been one of the top European manufacturers of modular ceiling systems for decades and is based in the Bavarian city of Grafenau.

 With the strong brands AMF Thermatex, AMF Ventatec, AMF Topiq, AMF Mondena and Heradesign, Knauf AMF provides a sophisticated range of products for a wide range of applications.