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Secrets of British Film Institute storage facility laid bare

14 September 2012 No Comment

The new British Film Institute (BFI) store in Gaydon, Warwickshire, will preserve generations of film for decades to come, thanks to its “innovative marriage of form and function”.

That’s according to premierconstructionnews.com which went behind the scenes to see just what makes the new BFI important not only to film, but architecture as well.


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The £12 million 3000 square metre structure had to be well thought out, so that it could fulfil its duty of looking after some 460,000 cannisters of film for the next 50 years.

Ambitious use of steel

It achieved this by using precast concrete panels to limit any possible fluctuations in temperature, whilst introducing a whole other batch of equipment to keep the environment stable. This includes the use of four industrial chillers, four dehumidification units and 12 systems designed to adjust changes in the air.

Externally, steel cladding gives the whole building a lift, offsetting the facades of the intimidating steel blast doors of the main store room.


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Designs combine industrial modernism and 21st century finesse

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) members were first to praise Edward Cullinan Architects for creating something much more than just a bunker.

“The archive could have been a serviceable oblong of concrete bunkers, but this is more ambitious,” RIBA wrote on bfi.org.uk.

“In plan, elevations and material detailing, the archive’s design draws from both a stripped-down industrial modernism and a very particular kind of 21st century finesse and environmental delicacy.”

Author: Chris Taylor    Date Written: 14 Sept 2012

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