State-of-the-art hub makes a statement with Hunter Douglas solutions

Edinburgh’s historic Old High School has been transformed into a state of the art, energy efficient hub for knowledge, innovation and skills for the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI).

Internationally renowned manufacturer Hunter Douglas supplied a range of innovative natural wooden ceilings for the ECCI and its own commitment to the environment and sustainability was essential in developing the right solutions for the project. It worked closely with Malcolm Fraser Architects and contractor Graham Construction on what has become one of the country’s most innovative and important projects to refurbish this historic, listed building.

Hunter Douglas is a world leading manufacturer of architectural products and from specification to installation. Wooden solutions were specified for the refurbished, energy efficient hub including the Hunter Douglas linear open wooden ceilings in 101.6mm module. The darker wood is Oregon Pine with a black non-woven felt infill strips and the lighter wood is European Pine with a white wash water based stain and grey non-woven felt.

The solid wooden ceilings were supplied without the usual fire protection treatment in order to ensure that the timber could be recycled at the end of its life. This helped to ensure that the building was the first refurbishment of an old building to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ status.

The project was an opportunity for Hunter Doulgas to show how a natural solid wooden ceiling may be integrated as part of an overall design strategy to deliver a building that is not only functional and highly efficient, but also achieves high aesthetic standards. The wooden Hunter Douglas ceilings also contribute favourably to the acoustic climate within the building and also help to create a feeling of well-being as users of the building are surrounded by natural materials.

Lead Architect Calum Duncan said combining the talents and expertise of so many companies and contractors, including Hunter Douglas, had been instrumental in the success of the project. The innovation on display throughout the project and environmental credentials of the companies and the products that were used in the refurbishment has helped to create a truly landmark development.

He explained:

“In developing the proposals for ECCI we had to consider one of the key architectural or societal issues we are currently facing – how to manage the balancing act of reducing future carbon emissions with the need to reuse existing buildings being mindful of their historical importance; and at the same time to endeavour to create spaces which are characterful, vibrant, flexible and a pleasure to use.”

Work began on the construction of ECCI’s new home in February 2012. The build involved the refurbishment and remodelling of the 17th Century Old High School and connected modern buildings and comprises an innovation suite, lecture theatres, seminar rooms, and large atrium space for exhibitions and events and social space.

ECCI Executive Director Andy Kerr said the organisation’s ethos revolves around new ideas, collaboration and knowledge sharing, so it is fitting that the project brought together so many innovative companies.

He added:

“The building has been designed specifically to help ECCI to achieve its goals and we hope that by bringing the right people together in this unique environment we will be able solve the complex problems associated with climate change and the transition to a low carbon future.”