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Lincolnshire College building receives award

A building at Oxford University's Lincoln College has received a prestigious award for conservation, thanks to the excellent work carried out during refurbishment and expansion.

The Berrow Foundation Building dates from 1906. Over the years, its Victorian design had lost many of unique details and was a 'featureless multipurpose shell'. Conservation work has been carried out in recent years helped to create a modern facility with features like high-quality thermal and acoustic insulation - but the project has also restored its original appearance.

The building was one of Oxfordshire's two winners at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) South East Awards 2016. Judges called the project "unique" and said it demonstrated "deep intelligence".

A modern three-storey extension has also been added, providing space for an expanded Middle Common Room, as well as new music practice rooms.

There's also the Oakeshott Room, which provides a venue for meetings, conferences and other gatherings. This space features elegant Victorian details and is fully equipped with audiovisual equipment. It can accommodate up to 100 people.

"This project exemplifies the best of work on the old to make it fit for the future, with exceptional skill in terms of conservation, restoration and contemporary design," the judging panel explained.

"Great care was lavished in re-making oak panelling and stone windows using, wherever possible, old materials but skilfully hiding new thermal and acoustic insulation to return the grand elegance of the original spaces," the panel said.

During judging for the conservation category, the panel considered a variety of factors, such as the philosophy behind the repair and conservation, how much of the original material remains and what techniques were used to conserve or re-use original materials.

"This is work of the highest calibre, revealing deep intelligence and understanding of the art of architecture," the judges said.

Other Oxfordshire buildings that received recognition at the awards event included New College, which was the runner-up in the conservation category. Its conservation of a Grade I-listed kitchen was highly praised. Meanwhile, Radley College won in the design through innovation category. 

Category winners will be competing against other regional winners at the national RICS Awards grand final, which will be held in London on October 14th.‚Äč

Acoustic insulation for practice rooms

It's important to get acoustic insulation right when it comes to music practice rooms, as the spaces need to be reasonably sound-proofed, while also ensuring the rooms are comfortable for occupants.

It's generally agreed that a certain amount of audibility between practice rooms is acceptable in schools, due to prohibitive construction costs, but the standards for universities can be much higher.

Building Bulletin 86 Music Accommodation in Secondary Schools provides detailed design advice about the range of types of music spaces found in educational establishments, as well as recommended performance standards.

Since requirements can vary significantly, any acoustic insulation project should begin with a detailed brief needs, outlining how the space will be used and the client's acoustic requirements. The main problems are noise transfer between spaces, unsuitable reverberation times, flutter echoes, standing waves and high noise levels.