Tuesday 29th September 2009 by C. Freeman
Brooke Weston's new Arts and Media wing is now open with students making full use of the state-of-the-art facilities. The 1,500 square metre building took 18 months to complete and houses the music technology and practice rooms, dance and drama studio and food technology area. It will be officially opened on Friday 9 October by guest of honour, Hugh de Capell Brooke, after whom the wing is named.
The building features the latest technology to make it as energy efficient as possible. As well as underfloor heating it also has a 'comfort cooling' system where hot air generated by computers in the ICT rooms is passed over a heat exchanger and used to warm other areas in the block.
The intelligent heating system monitors external and internal temperatures daily and compensates for a drop in temperature outside by switching on the heating earlier each day. Lights are fitted with heat and motion sensors so if a room is unoccupied for more than 20 minutes they automatically turn off, saving energy.
Another innovation is the carbon dioxide monitor which gauges the air quality in the dance studio. If the CO2 level rises then additional air is circulated to help students to stay alert and energetic. The studio is also fitted with a sprung floor; the shock absorbing beams mean the floor can flex which helps to lessen impact on dancers' joints.
The atrium skylights are made of toughened glass. They increase airflow and will automatically close if the weather station on top of the building detects wind speeds of more than 12 metres per second. The staircase is made of a rapidly grown, sustainable hard wood and features such as the stainless steel handrails and polished glass safety guards were made on site. The building is also fitted with sound-absorbent panels, a lift and separate fire escape to comply with the latest construction regulations.
Buildings manager Shaun Houghton said; 'The attention to detail in the new block is amazing. Not only has it incorporated the very latest technology to make it as user-friendly, energy efficient and insulated as possible, but it also blends in well with the existing 20-year old building.'