Modern design demands

Martin Potter, technical sales manager at Pyroguard, explains how the company helped Royal Holloway to create a modern study space without compromising on safety.

When it comes to creating educational spaces that meet the needs of today’s students, there’s no room for compromise. Spaces need to be flexible to cater for different types of study, they require the capacity to accommodate the very best resources, and their design must balance these ambitions without detracting from existing facilities and surroundings.

Another area where compromises can’t be made is in safety. This was the scenario for Royal Holloway, University of London, as it embarked upon the development of The Emily Wilding Davison Building.

The Davison Building sits at the heart of the university’s scenic campus beside its iconic Grade 1 listed Founder’s Building. Alongside a cutting-edge library stands a host of facilities: open study spaces that overlook the leafy Founder’s Square; individual study pods and collaborative study areas; and seminar, events and exhibition spaces.

To make these spaces work for everybody, glass is integral. Whether it’s the bridge that spans the library atrium, exterior windows, or internal glazed panelling, the functionality of these defined spaces is made possible with glass. As a result, Pyroguard was approached by Moda Interiors to deliver a solution that would fulfil the architectural design while meeting specific safety regulations.

With the library open around the clock, the building rarely stands empty, so providing adequate fire protection was a must in ensuring the safety of students, staff and visitors. The solution was Pyroguard EI60 – toughened glass with double-sided fire protection capable of providing integrity and heat insulation for up to 160 minutes.

As is the case with many buildings, different areas within the Davison Building require different levels of protection to effectively prevent the spread and growth of fire, as well as protect escape routes for occupants as required by Building Regulation Approved Document B.

Meeting EI classification, Pyroguard Protect provides the greatest levels of protection against flames, smoke and radiant heat, allowing valuable time to be gained in the event of evacuation. Providing a level of protection that far exceeds the legislative requirements, the glazing solution is fire tested to BS 476 and BS EN 1363-1 standards and is capable of providing protection for 30, 60, 90, 120 or 180 minutes, depending upon its specification.

Speaking of the outcomes of the project, Richard Whittle, director of Moda Interiors, said: “When we were contracted to install the interior fire resistant atrium screens and doors, Pyroguard was the natural choice to supply the glazing for these frames. The glass provides the highest levels of fire resistance, as well as providing noise reduction and barrier protection. Besides achieving these essential technical and safety requirements, the finished product effortlessly ties the building together and helps it to complement the surrounding buildings on campus.”