University Of Reading Gets New Music Department

Project: University Of Reading Gets New Music Department

Originally owned by the Palmer family, of Huntley & Palmers biscuit fame, the land and buildings at Reading’s London Road were gifted to the University of Reading at the turn of the twentieth century. The focal point of the property is the magnificent Victorian cloistered Great Hall set within landscaped grounds, providing the perfect setting for student Graduation ceremonies and live performances by national choirs and orchestras. Reduced use over the last few years has seen a deterioration in the Cloister buildings. Since the injection of a £21m budget, these buildings have been refurbished to create a new home for the University’s Institute of Education, with dedicated spaces for the teaching of subjects such as Music, Drama, Languages and The Institute of Education’s unique programme in Theatre Arts, Education and Deaf Studies (TAEDS).

It was important to retain many of the Cloister buildings’ original features, including a mixture of curved and sash windows, all of which were single-glazed. This presented a particular problem for the 2-storey Music Department which accommodates a mixture of studios, practice rooms and recording facilities and enhanced levels of soundproofing for both noise egress and ingress were essential. Main Contractor, Wates Construction, consulted secondary glazing specialist Selectaglaze Ltd. who have significant experience in dealing with acoustic problems and had previously worked with Wates on a major sound insulation scheme for the Symphony Hall at Birmingham Town Hall. The windows have been treated with hinged casements incorporating twin memory compression seals, multipoint locking and a 6.4mm laminated glass to ensure the best acoustic performance. Flush hinges and flush locks fitted with escutcheon plates provide clean lines and minimal dust ledges. The installation has also markedly reduced drafts and general heat loss through the window ensuring comfortable conditions for practicing musicians. Typically, single glazed windows reduce noise by just 25-30dB, less if they are ill fitting and laboratory tests show that Selectaglaze secondary glazing can improve this to approximately 40-45dB depending on the distance between the glass.

As can be seen at the University of Reading, purpose designed secondary glazing can be unobtrusive and sympathetic to the character of a building, whilst still allowing full access to the windows. Factory assembly allows installation to be rapidly completed with minimal disruption to the building’s occupants.


As well as its acoustic advantage, secondary glazing raises the thermal efficiency of the window and improves security. Selectaglaze offers a range of products accredited to “Secured by Design” accreditation.

Selectaglaze has been the leading designer of secondary glazing systems since 1966 and a Royal Warrant holder since 2004.  Working to consistently high standards, the company has gained a wealth of experience in all types of building up to Grade 1 listed.