Fire safe, sustainable and beautiful: Meet Mjøstårnet, the world’s tallest timber building, and the latest example of a growing trend in countries like Canada, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway. Photo from Moelven Limtre A/S. Photographer: Anti/Jens Edgar Haugen
Rising 85.4 meters above Brumunddal, Norway, about 1.5 hours north of Oslo is the latest entry in the ‘world’s tallest timber building’ category, Mjøstårnet.
Like the previous record holder, the 53-meter Brock Commons Tallwood House in Vancouver, Mjøstårnet is made of a combination of cross-laminated timbre (CLT) and glue-laminated timber (GLT), two kinds of engineered wood products common in tall timbre construction.
A combination of desirable traits
There are a few primary reasons for the growing use of wood to make tall buildings, particularly in places like Norway, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland—the sustainability profile of the wood compared to other materials; the design flexibility and beauty of it; and finally, the fire safety.
“Mjøstårnet is built to withstand a complete burnout,” says Evan Andersen, Fire Safety Engineer for Sweco, the structural engineer on the project. “Our tests and calculations show that Mjøstårnet will not collapse, even after a severe fire. With all its safety measures, it’s safer than most buildings,” he says in this short video about the project.
Those fire safety measures include ROCKWOOL’s non-combustible insulation in the inner and outer walls and floors, which contribute to creating effective compartments to contain a fire should one arise. Proper fire compartmentalization is essential in giving building occupants more time to evacuate and fire brigades more time to extinguish the fire.
Sustainability is another key selling point in the trend toward taller timber constructions. In countries like Norway and Canada where trees plentiful, the energy used to process, produce and transport the timber is actually lower than concrete and steel. What’s more, the subcontractor that supplied the wooden structures to the building also plants at least two trees for each tree it uses on its projects.
The result is a stunning piece of architecture—it won Gold at the New York Design Awards 2018—with a desirable combination of safety, sustainability, good looks and functional performance.
“We are proud to have been involved in such a prestigious project and to be able to contribute to the fire safety and sustainability profile of Mjøstårnet as well as its thermal and acoustic performance with both our stone wool insulation and our Rockfon acoustic ceiling tiles,” says Henrik Frank Nielsen, Head of Insulation for Northeast Europe, ROCKWOOL Group.
Work on the 18-story mixed-use Mjøstårnet tower began in mid-2017 and was completed in March 2019. It has a combined floor area of 11,300 square meters and includes apartments, a hotel, offices, restaurant and a rooftop terrace overlooking the fjord. It has since earned international attention, including winning a Gold at the New York Design Awards 2018.
Fire safety achieved in several ways:
•The CLT and GLT wood is one; the thickness and arrangement of the beams is such that they will retain their load-bearing abilities during a severe fire and burn very slowly.
•Each room and floor is also a fire compartment, designed to prevent a fire from spreading;
•Sprinkler systems throughout the building;
•Fire strips that expand to protect steel joints from heat and;
•More than 5,500 sqm of ROCKWOOL non-combustible stone wool insulation in the inner and outer walls and floors.
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Lafeme brings intelligent toilets to the Australian market. Improvements in health and hygiene are the most common benefits of the smart toilet. Considered an innovation in health and personal care due to the functions offered, with intuitive technology, the intelligent toilet is now becoming a must have in bathrooms nationwide. Lafeme intelligent toilets offer heated seats, built in bidets with customisable washing and drying functions, temperature control, LED lighting, automatic opening and closing of lid, and automatic flush. With an increasing commitment to health and personal care, Lafeme Smart Toilets offer the best solution for complete personal hygiene and ultimate wellbeing.
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Acoustica’s AngelStep® acoustic underlays are the top choice for discerning residential and commercial developments where hard surface floors are required.
Incorporating AngelStep® acoustic underlays into your design is the most effective way to isolate impact noise, whilst ensuring suitability for most available flooring types. These acoustic underlays achieve very low Lnt’w ratings that exceed construction code requirements. Available in different variations to suit flooring substrates and materials, AngelStep® features unique patented technology that combines a sound absorber with impact and vibration damping to consistently achieve up to the highest acoustic rating, dependent on installation.
Key benefits of the AngelStep® acoustic underlays:
- Outstanding acoustic performance
- High sound absorption
- Water & chemical resistant
- Will last the life of the flooring material
- Easy to install
- Zero VOC’s, zero emissions, non-toxic
- Australian designed and manufactured
AngelStep® acoustic underlays can be installed under solid timber floors, engineered timber floors, laminate or hybrid floors, ceramic tiles, vinyl, carpet or carpet tiles… in fact, they can be laid under practically any floor type.
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DESIGNED FOR EVERYTHING YOU WOULD WANT IN AN EXTERNAL GLAZED BI-FOLD DOOR, OFFERING ARCHITECTS AND THEIR CLIENTS NEW DESIGN SCOPE WITH THE ASSURANCE OF HUFCOR EXPERTISE.
Bring the outdoors inside with Hufcor’s elegant and classic glass bi-fold doors system. A glass wall combines practicality with beauty creating a light and expansive ambience throughout the space.
When you have invested in a view or outdoor areas, you should be able to enjoy it from indoors in all weather conditions.
The benefits of glass bi-fold doors are:
- They are Commercially manufactured at Residential rates.
- The glass is sound tested for effective sound control.
- Flexible design in resorts has also taken on new meaning within the guestroom as well. Luxury properties are integrating lavish bathroom designs into the overall room architecture in order to make larger, seamless spaces while retaining the amenities demanded in 5-star properties. Resorts are also bringing the outdoors in making effective use of balconies and terraces as extensions of the room. This is an effective use of design with tight budget restrictions maximizing on perceptions of depth and size while minimizing construction and operating costs.
Hufcor’s new Series Max Glazed Bi-fold door system will change the way you look at and specify externally glazed bi-fold doors.
In designing this new system, Hufcor have used their commercial know-how to provide a robust, functional yet elegant glazed bi-fold door system that aesthetically looks the part in both high-end residential or commercial projects.
With WERS and AS2047-2014 Certification and the flexibility to use glass types ranging from 6mm Single Glazing to 32mm Double Glazing, you can be confident that the Hufcor Series Max system will meet all the design requirements for your next project.
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Acoustics is a silent determinant of how much we enjoy spending time in a room, particularly in the case of a hotel room. So how can we leverage acoustics to ensure that we design pleasant spaces.
The quality of a room’s acoustics is increasingly considered in the interior design process, and for good reason. Not only do great acoustics increase wellness, productivity, and concentration, but they also contribute to an optimal hotel experience.
Acoustics is a great determinant of the overall success for a business – be it a shop, a restaurant, a hotel or a conference center. Because of this, interior designers and interior architects are increasingly asked to design with acoustics as well as aesthetics in mind.
CurtainWave SQ by Acoustica is the easy and simple way to block out sound using existing curtains and window décor. A high performance noise barrier and vibration damping material, CurtainWave SQ is effective at absorbing noise even in heavily-glazed rooms. Combining acoustics and aesthetics, CuratinWave SQ maximises noise energy reduction by absorption, improving acoustics in rooms and enclosed spaces while providing strong visual qualities to suit any decor.
CuratinWave SQ is ;
- an easy sound solution that fits in with existing décor
- a solution that can be attached to any window hanging material
- a solution for blocking light and is therefore energy-saving
- able to keep rooms insulated, lowering energy costs
- a patented lightweight material
- able to give the same acoustic performance as material twice its weight
CurtainWave® SQ is a flexible noise barrier and vibration damping material. CurtainWave® SQ was designed for backing curtains to increase the noise attenuation given by glass. It is like installing a double glazing system with the advantage to also blocking sunlight. CurtainWave® can be directly sewn onto the curtain material or attached to a separate fabric or ‘block-out’ material. Due to it’s patented micro-cellular composition, CurtainWave SQ achieves the same acoustic rating as a mass loaded flexible nose barrier 2 x heavier, ie. 4.5kg/m2. CurtainWave is only 2.3kg/m2 (nominal) CurtainWave has a tested* acoustic rating of Rw 27.
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Finally, a new product on the market that can compete with the big players without the big price tag! Lafeme smart toilets can offer budget driven projects with luxury bathrooms. Combining ease of installation and maintenance with hygiene and personal care functions, Lafeme offers exceptional value and quality. The Lafeme user can enjoy ; a heated seat , drying functions, multi-functional washing, adjustable water temperature/pressure, and night light, and these are just some of the features.
There’s nothing quite like a hotel bathroom, and Aussie homeowners are increasingly designing their own spaces to emulate the feeling of a retreat in which to escape and recharge.
Hotel- inspired bathrooms are now the number one trend in design, showcasing the desire to escape regular bathrooms and lifestyle routines to bring the hotel feeling home.
It’s not only the shower that’s gone high-tech, its now also the toilet which is undergoing better design, cleaning and personal functions. A good example is the Lafeme Smart toilet, which features adjustable smart washing and drying functions. Essentially, each user can personalise their toilet! Water and seat temperature along with water pressure and positioning can also be customised by using the inbuilt selection panel or even via a smart phone app. The smart toilet also features user detection and a night light.
With a self cleaning nozzle and inbuilt deoderiser it is no wonder that smart toilets also get a worthy mention on trip advisor!
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74 percent of 1,004 travellers agree that a quiet room is key to achieving a tranquil guest experience. However, noise is the most frequent complaint from hotel guests, topping the charts in most cities. It is also a common feature in accommodations reviews online.
Despite this, the J.D. Power North American Hotel Guest Satisfaction Survey has consistently shown that noise complaints are significantly under-reported to the hotel, and rarely end up resolved.
Whether a hotel is in a bustling downtown area or right next to an airport runway, hotel management needs to be made aware of noise problems, so that designers and suppliers can find ways to make sure that a guest’s stay is as quiet as possible.
Some effective methods to reducing noise in hotels include:
- Insulating walls and floors better
- Installing noise dampening wall panels and ceilings tiles
- Making use of soundproof windows and curtains
- Installation doors that don’t slam loudly
After all, good design can go a long way to addressing noise issues in buildings, and good insulation can successfully mitigate external noise.
That said, some hotels are also looking into other innovative soundproofing solutions to provide guests with peace and quiet.
It’s not surprising that building standards and guidelines require good acoustics and are evolving with more stringent requirements. Many now require the use of a high Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) ceiling tile. To meet these higher performance criteria, it’s important to consider how every surface, material, structure, fixture and gap plays a role in the way noise is experienced. For the best results, this means focusing on the true strength of ceiling panels.
With the largest selection of edge styles and sizes, Rockfon Sonar stone wool ceiling panels offer optimal design freedom while maximising performance and occupant well-being. They are durable and have fast turnaround times when it comes to cleaning.
Rockfon Sonar offers;
- A lightly-textured white surface
- High sound absorption (NRC = 0.70 – 0.95)
- GREENGUARD Gold Certification for low VOC emission
- Available in a variety of edges and sizes
- Mold and mildew resistant
Rockfon Privacy Barrier’s in modern commercial buildings can only effectively be achieved with a total approach to room acoustics and structural elements. This approach addresses sound transmission through walls, flanking transmission through ceiling plenums, doors and windows and effective sound absorption in large open plan areas.
Rockfon Privacy System provides an economical and highly effective barrier between the top of the wall and the slab or wall and flat metal roof. It is fast to install, requires no fastenings and simply is friction-fitted into gap to provide a barrier that is suitable for use in voids up to 1 metre in height. Rockfon Privacy System using standard Rockfon Acoustic Ceiling Panels achieves airborne sound insulation from room to room (Rw) of more than -40dB in service.
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Lafeme smart toilets offer comfort and style. Australian architects and designers are now embracing the idea of a streamlined toilet with an inbuilt bidet. Not only does this allow for space savings, it also provides optimum hygiene and ease of use tailored to the needs of the user. Essentially, Lafeme smart toilets address issues of form and function a like.
In Australia, there has been a shift in residential and commercial properties towards smart toilets with no cisterns. The conventional toilet is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. So why are more and more Australians choosing a smart toilet without a cistern? Put simply, they are sleek and modern, they save space, and they are also a more hygeanic option requiring less maintenance.
So, what is a cistern free toilet? As the name suggests, a tankless or cistern free toilet is any toilet that does not rely on a tank of water to clear the bowl. Instead, tankless toilets receive water directly from a supply line at a high enough pressure that a single flush can carry waste through the drainage system. Therefore, these toilets are powered using only the force of water entering from the supply line.
From a technical perspective, the Lafeme cisternless toilet is far more efficient at the flush process. With traditional cistern design, it is the force of gravity which gives energy to the flushing water. This process is incomparable when it comes to the Lafeme cisternless toilet which is powered by mains water pressure. The mains water pressure is usually around 400kPa which equates to holding a fully opened garden hose directly into the toilet bowl! With this sort of force, and the latest self cleaning coatings on Lafeme toilet bowls, constant cleaning becomes almost redundant.
Lafeme cisternless toilets are significantly smaller in size than the traditional toilet, which have always had to incorporate a cistern or tank. The absence of the cistern gives more design freedom as this style of toilet can be positioned almost anywhere in their bathroom.
You may think that you can achieve the modern appearance of clean lines with an in-wall cistern, and you would be correct in believing so, however these toilet systems also have their limits. Water leakage within the wall cavity can be a problem, as is water discharge noise and valve noise which occurs upon the tank re-fill process. Access panels for service of the cistern must also be installed. All of this, and still only a gravity powered flush…
Tankless or cistern free toilets are steadily growing in popularity and look to be surpassing the tank toilet as Australia’s toilet of choice. Simplify life, smart choices, smart design, smart cistern free toilets.
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Hufcor’s reputation for quality and reliable products, clever designs and an insistence on excellent service is the reason why architects, engineers and contractors routinely insist on Hufcor partitions for their building projects.
Hufcor’s specification team have the knowledge and expertise to ensure each step of the building process is completed successfully. Assistance can be provided with a range of requirements for your project including; specification support, project advice, BIM drawings or simply for some inspiration.
So why is specification consultation so important on every project? Well, put simply, early consultation ensures that any design issues are identified and therefore enables you to get it right the first time! Specification can make or break a project. With the plethora of product options available to the market, it is vital that your projects are documented correctly to avoid any confusion and furthermore, to avoid inferior alternatives creeping into projects without your knowledge. Failing to correctly and successfully specify can in fact compromise the design intention.
Hufcor’s new specification team are dedicated to helping you with all aspects of your project documentation. When it comes to Operable Walls, Hufcor’s team have the knowledge and expertise to provide you with custom solutions and inspired advice.
Contact our Specification Team to discuss all options relating to;
- Structural support
- Stacking options
- Acoustic requirements
Early consultation ensures problems are identified and fully resolved to avoid compromised on site solutions.
To further assist you with specification, Hufcor’s specification team can;
- Provide CAD, PDF and BIM design drawings including fixing details upon request
- Provide full specifications for your documentation
- Provide provisional sum and Budget Pricing
- Offer a variety of custom options to ensure that you get exactly what you want
Contact us for assistance with your next project for Specification of OPERABLE walls | FRAMELESS Glass Operable Walls | ACOUSTIC Glass Operable Walls | WEATHER Resistant Glass Operable Walls | ACOUSTIC Sliding Doors
Remember, specification is far more important than a tick in your checklist during project documentation, rather it is a key element in the design and construction process.
Hufcor can provide assistance on any project.
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Summit® vertical lift walls take flexible space in a completely different direction… up. Unlike traditional operable panels that move horizontally through a large, exposed cavity in the ceiling, Hufcor’s patented vertical lift system moves acoustic operable panels through a narrow slot in the ceiling and stacks them neatly hidden out of sight. All this with a simple push of a button! This space-saving and attractive design maximizes an interior’s available floor space and makes Summit® vertical lift walls a great choice for convention centers, hotel ballrooms, learning institutions and training centers – anywhere that superior and attractive space and sound management must exist in harmony with maximizing free floor space.
Summit® vertical lift walls represent the very best in beauty, simplicity, space and sound management with design flexibility. The heart of Summit® is a proprietary retractable lift system which is built for durability and provides unequalled space optimization without sacrificing sight lines or aesthetics. Also standard with Summit® is the new Hufcor Touchpad backlit LCD controller which provides the utmost in security and operation of use in a simple, easy-to-use platform.
Opening heights up to 17′ 6″ (5.33m) and widths up to 40′ (12.1m) cover a wide range of movable partition openings.
Proprietary design allows panels to stack above ceiling and to cascade down through a narrow slot — the least obtrusive and most aesthetically attractive vertical lift wall system in the market.
Interlocking panel edges and track seals contributes to a 51 STC acoustical rating for excellent sound management. Sound absorbent surface treatments are also available to minimize reflected sound.
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