Construction Industry Today

Armstrong Ceilings help sick children see the bigger picture

A children's hospital features Armstrong ceiling tiles with specially-printed images
Published 02 July 2012

Armstrong Ceilings were specified for a redeveloped paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for their all-round quality, anti-microbial performance and ability to feature screen-printed images designed to help heal the young patients lying beneath them.

A total of 10m² or 28 specially-commissioned Bioguard Acoustic mineral tiles, in five blue-sky designs ranging from helium and hot air balloons to kites and planes, feature above the beds in the unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. The 290m² of Bioguard Acoustic tiles, which are painted with a special finish that inhibits the growth of mould, yeast and bacteria and feature acoustic performance to sound absorption Class C, were complemented by 11m² of Bioguard Plain tiles in the dirty utility area and 45m² of Dune Max mineral tiles in the entrance lobby, office, changing areas and staff room.

They were specified for the £500,000 project for the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust by architects Gelder and Kitchen LLP who are regular users of Armstrong Ceilings' systems. Omega installer Elmsmere Engineering had a team of up to three men on site fixing the 350m² of tiles phased over four months. The printed ones, which are part of Armstrong's premier Atelier offer, were a first for them and they installed these with the help of a photographic plan.

The project comprised the refurbishment and expansion of the existing PICU facility from three bays and three side rooms to eight bays and four side rooms including staff and patient facilities. The compact and simple layout enables ease of observation from the staff base while the clinical facilities were developed in four phases to enable the facility to remain operational with restrictions in place to minimise noise and dust.

Partition walls were used by main contractor Manton to maximise speed of construction, minimise noise, and optimise the hospital's future flexibility. Gelder and Kitchen developed the interior design to create a total healing environment for patients and staff by using evidence-based design, integrating a colour scheme for the expansion ward with existing finishes. They retained blue vinyl flooring and introduced a neutral grey vinyl flooring to create an inset design that unified the two sides of the ward while giving emphasis to the main circulation routes.

Partner Alessandro Caruso RIBA said:

"The resulting colour scheme comprised feature walls with shades of blue to promote serenity and bright yellow to warm the spirit, surrounded by white walls and ceilings to convey quality. "We also introduced images on walls and ceilings inspired by natural elements such as water and sky, for their association with the children's world. The lack of natural light in some areas was balanced by the use of back-lit images and printed Armstrong ceiling tiles which contributed to create a sense of place while creating a positive distraction from the anxiety associated with the clinical environment.

"The final effect is a lively environment that enlivens the spirit while communicating the clinical excellence offered by the ward." He added: "We specified the Armstrong systems because they offered the option for printed tiles which were important to complement the interior design, combined with a quality product suitable for the clinical environment.

"The printed tiles are an important feature associated to the bed areas as a positive distraction from the clinical environment and as such they contribute to the creation of a healing environment. "We use Armstrong Ceilings for most of our developments for their suitability and the assistance provided. The client is very happy with the final result and the quality of the printed tiles."


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