For over 90 years, the motto of Coburg West Primary School has been to “Serve the children”. The school caters to students from a local community of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, and aims to provide a broad curriculum within a secure and attractive learning environment, as well as before and after school care programs.
When the school’s changing needs meant it was time to upgrade from the old assembly hall and expand the after school facilities, architect Lynn Chew of Kerstin Thompson Architects Pty Ltd was enlisted for the task. The purpose built project was funded as part of the Building Education Revolution on the original Edwardian school site and within the context of heritage considerations.
The new multi-purpose hall was designed for activities ranging from performing arts to sport. It was vital the wall and ceiling linings not only provide adequate acoustic absorption and pleasing aesthetics, but are durable enough to resist impact damage from balls and from sporting equipment.
Originally, the impact and acoustic challenges of the project were to be addressed in two installation steps: the walls and ceilings were to be lined with impact resistant plasterboard, and foam acoustic panels were to be adhered after installation to lift the acoustic performance to the desired level. This solution raised both aesthetic and practical concerns, as the architect worried whether the panels would withstand the inevitable wear and tear unique to a school common area.
“We were going to install foam acoustic panels to the plasterboard to absorb the sound, but then we thought ‘What if a football hits one?’. Contrapanel provided the impact resistance and the acoustic qualities required in a project such as this, all in one board.”
– Lynn Chew, Architect, Kerstin Thompson Architects Pty Ltd
Using Contrapanel reduced the installation time, while delivering a superior acoustic and aesthetic performance. The end result will continue to meet the school’s needs for flexible learning spaces over the coming years.