Prioritising Performance and Fire Safety at London University

Project Details
Project Name: University College London
Architect/Designer: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Photographer: David Bartholomew
Products: Rubber norament® 975LL and noraplan® ultragrip

Interface provides flooring solution for University College London

Spread across the heart of the capital and with 42,000 students, University College London (UCL) is one of the largest universities in the UK. With a reputation for excellence, UCL is a firm choice for students looking for a quality higher education provider that’s plugged directly into the energy of the city. As a result, UCL requires an ever-expanding portfolio of functional and stylish facilities, including accommodation, to deliver a first-class education to its growing student roster.

The university’s presence in east London is growing to include a brand new 148,275 sq ft residential and academic building that includes retail, community and public engagement spaces at One Pool Street. A short distance from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a freshly minted piece of London history, the building will promote collaboration between the different faculties and live up to the social and environmental values that the university is proud of.

Construction company Vinci led the build, whilst architect practice Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) led the design. When it came to sourcing durable flooring solutions for the development, LDS turned to commercial flooring manufacturer and global leader in sustainability, Interface.

All Day, All Night, All Purpose

The space is now home to 550 students with round-the-clock high footfall throughout the accommodation, academic, retail and community spaces, so it is crucial that the space prioritises durability and performance. To meet this demand, Interface’s nora rubber flooring was specified for the areas that will see the most action underfoot, such as corridors and breakout areas. Nora products are highly resilient and are designed to last, with maximum wear resistance and low indentation behaviour.

Interface also provided robust nora rubber flooring with increased slip resistance for the kitchens and stairways. Infused with granite, noraplan ultra grip is designed specifically for these spaces, with slip resistance to R11 standard. The covering offers significant protection in areas where slips and falls pose serious risks. Noise was another key consideration as the space is being used for a mix of work and socialising, and ultra grip’s 6-7 dB footfall sound absorption helps to reduce sound impact between different areas of the space.  

Sustainable by Design

One Pool Street and the whole of the UCL East campus development aims to have as little impact on the planet as possible. Efforts were made to reduce energy consumption and running costs, with reducing carbon emissions prioritised throughout the design and construction journey. Sourcing flooring from Interface was a natural step forward with this. The company’s active, transparent approach to assessing, reporting and improving the environmental impact of its products has made it a trusted provider of sustainable solutions.

Interface’s entire product portfolio, including carpet tile, LVT and nora rubber are carbon neutral across their full lifecycle. What’s more, in September 2022, Interface announced that it is third party certified as a Carbon Neutral Enterprise, demonstrating the company’s voluntary and ambitious commitment to climate action.  

Speaking about the project at UCL, Jason Cadman, Account Manager at Interface, said: “We were seriously impressed by this project, and were really proud when LDS approached Interface to provide flooring solutions. We’re pleased that nora rubber flooring was able to meet the extensive functional requirements for the space and it was refreshing to work with developers and architects who share our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our work.” 

Quality That Lasts

norament 975 loose-lay floor covering was used throughout the raised access areas in the accommodation to meet the functionality and sustainability expectations for this space. Made with 30 per cent recycled material and PVC-free, the covering was easily fitted and immediately ready for use, with no coatings or welding necessary; this was crucial to having the accommodation ready for students. Its impact on indoor air quality is minimal, having received an A+ rating, an important consideration for the sustainability credentials of the building as a whole and the wellbeing of occupants. Thanks to its resilient properties, nora rubber ensures good acoustics and underfoot comfort.

Equally, a floor that is fast to clean and easy to maintain is essential in a multi-purpose space like this. A product lifecycle of more than 25 years means that maintenance and replacement costs are kept to a minimum, including chemical-free cleaning which leads to reduced costs and lower environmental impact from the reduction of water use and wastewater.

Douglas Inglis, Director at Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, commented: “The colour palette used throughout the project was a mix of stone and soft grey tones with occasional highlights, such as the red external window grilles, to create a timeless, classic design. The understated look of the internal spaces will allow students to put their own stamp on their environment as different residents come and go.”

To find out more about the nora collection, visit:  

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