Acoustic comfort in schools

nterview with François Lalanne, Deputy Mayor of Beautiran in south-west France a village with 2,200 inhabitants.

“Our school canteen was built in the 80’s and the noise inside was catastrophic. It was built out of concrete and has huge picture windows, which amplify the children’s voices and the sound of the cutlery and plates. Last year, we took the decision to improve the acoustics.

At the town hall, we sought solutions and asked different companies for advice. We were offered two ways to improve the acoustics and get a good result:

– By lining the walls, which was going to require a lot of work and a certain budget, which meant it would have to be done during the school holidays.

– By lining the existing ceiling made of wood panelling. This solution was also expensive and it had the same disadvantages. The electric wiring would also have to be renewed.

We heard about Texaa; this was new for us, we hadn’t thought at all about hanging shapes from the ceiling.
Texaa’s proposal won the support of the whole council, because it was different and it was a lot less expensive than the other solutions. It didn’t require a major worksite and we thought it was important that our own personnel could install the acoustic shapes themselves.

Texaa advised us to position the cubes and cones depending on the layout of the ceiling. We installed everything with our own staff in one afternoon.

Everyone found the result pretty, the sound is absorbed, people talk to each other differently and no-one complains about noise in the canteen any more! In addition, the shapes can be cleaned and we have planned to take them down next year and run the carpet cleaner over them.

As far as colours are concerned, we chose blue to symbolise our River Garonne, red for the railway line and yellow to represent the main road. The colours spell out the identity of where we live, referring to the three modes of travel that run through and past our village.

We are also planning to refurbish some of our council buildings and to handle the noise problem in them too. There is our clubhouse and its function room, which we rent out now and again for family celebrations, such as weddings and christenings and other events organised by local clubs.

These buildings should be refurbished with work that we are budgeting for in 2012. We are awaiting a proposal from Texaato improve their acoustics.”

Project name: Cantine scolaire de Beautiran

Year to be delivered: 2011

Town-city / Country: Beautiran, France

Project owner or contracting authority: Ville de Beautiran

Photographer: Marie Bruneau, Bertrand Genier

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