Refurb of Radio House is set to send potential tenants Ga Ga.
Ceiling systems from Armstrong were specified for the £7 million high-spec refurbishment of a landmark Cambridge building for their cost effectiveness and functionality.
The striking wall-to-wall ceiling solutions featuring in the makeover of Radio House, which is renowned for its wave-form barrel-vaulted roof, allow for flawless transitions between varying ceiling materials, including Armstrong’s demountable metal MicroLook 8 1200mm x 300mm rectangular panels and plasterboard margins, to provide a streamlined visual which is versatile and exceptionally functional.
On the ground floor and part of the first floor, Armstrong’s Drywall Grid System (DGS) was pre-configured to the required shape to form a sloping bulkhead around the perimeter which allowed for safer installation and a reduced working height in these offices.
The sloped bulkhead was joined to the metal area with Axiom transitions, creating a seamless finish. The recyclable white metal lay-in planks were extra micro-perforated and backed with a black acoustic fleece to perform acoustically to sound absorption performance 0.70 aw and sound attenuation performance 31db and were installed using a Prelude 15mm XL2 grid.
Using Armstrong’s DGS system to lay out the openings for lighting, air grilles and plasterboard margins allowed for faster and accurate boarding and meant no cutting out was needed post-installation.
The ceiling systems were specified by Aukett Swanke architects whose brief was to refurbish the building internally and externally to bring the internal layout and services up to modern standards, to celebrate and enhance the positive aspects of the building envelope, and to improve the areas of the existing envelope which were no longer fit for purpose.
Radio House now offers approximately 7,452ft2 to 43,382ft2 of BREEAM “Excellent” Grade A office space in a self-contained building situated in the Chesterton Conservation Area between the city centre and the northern fringe business parks. It was vacated by the critical communications company Sepura who moved their headquarters elsewhere in the city.
The distinctive building underwent an 18-month comprehensive refurbishment to provide a new main entrance and central core with double-height reception, full access raised floor, and Armstrong’s suspended ceilings on the ground floor with a floor to ceiling height of 2.7m. The feature ‘wavy’ roof on first floor has a floor to ceiling height of between 2.95m and 4.75m.
Aukett Swanke studio principal Daniel Winters said: “We carried out a careful design process that balanced the constraints of the existing building and budget to deliver a transformation that retained and augmented the special qualities of the existing building and its landmark wave form roof. The Armstrong products helped us deliver that by being cost effective and functional.”
The CE Marked and Cradle to Cradle™ certified DGS and metal tiles were installed by specialist sub-contractor Lorus Projects who were joined on site by Armstrong Drywall Grid specialists to go through the build and ensure the fixing teams were fully educated on the process.
The building’s external appearance was rejuvenated with careful integration of terracotta cladding systems, with brick slips appropriate within the Cambridge and Chesterton area which will bolster the building’s heritage qualities.
Will Heigham from agents Bidwells said: “Finding Grade A office space in Cambridge is a huge challenge because office supply levels have fallen to the lowest level for 15 years and availability rates are down to just 8.5%. What this means is that there is very little space available, let alone units of over 10,000ft2.
“Radio House’s completion therefore represents a real opportunity for existing Cambridge occupiers looking for new open-plan expansion space or new entrants considering establishing themselves in Cambridge.
“A huge amount of money has been invested in upgrading Radio House and it will provide efficient and substantial open plan floors, with flexible floorplates, that will appeal to a wide variety of occupiers from professional services to the technology sector.”
Cambridge is home to a range of well-known R&D, technology and life sciences companies including AstraZeneca, Samsung, Hewlett Packard, Toshiba, Microsoft, Huawei and Apple.
Photos: Claire Lize Photography