BFI Master Film Store

Kingspan Kooltherm was used to help protect some of the country’s most prized cinema heritage.

The Project

The £12 million structure, constructed by Gilbert Ash, is specially designed to maintain film in optimal conditions and is the largest building of its kind in the world.

Inside, over 450,000 canisters of film are stored on 27 km of shelves including classic Carry On and Ealing films and works by Alfred Hitchcock.

The building’s cutting edge design and performance resulted in it winning the RIBA West Midlands Building of the Year 2012 Award.

Kingspan Kooltherm K3 Floorboard
Edward Cullinan Architects
Gilbert Ash
Additional information:
BREEAM 'Excellent' and RIBA West Midlands Building of the Year 2012
Maintaining a constant internal temperature of -5°C with 35% relative humidity is essential to prevent deterioration of the films and is especially important for the oldest film masters, stored on highly inflammable cellulose nitrate. Kingspan Kooltherm K3 Floorboard played a vital role in maintaining these conditions with its enhanced thermal performance allowing it to achieve thermal conductivities as low as 0.020 W/m·K.

At the Master Store, two 100 mm layers of Kooltherm K3 Floorboard were used beneath a concrete slab for the floor build-up. The two layers helped to minimise thermal bridging and achieve outstanding final floor U-values of just 0.10 W/m²·K.
Given the precise internal conditions required for the structure, it was essential that we could guarantee all materials specified would give us the performance we expected. The track record of achieving low thermal conductivities on a range of projects meant we could be assured that Kingspan Kooltherm would meet our requirements.

Carol Costello - Project Director, Edward Cullinan
The building is extremely airtight achieving a performance of 0.3 m³/hr@50pa. To ensure a constant air-supply and to maintain internal conditions, a sophisticated MVHR system controls air-supply into the building. This removes moisture from incoming air and uses outgoing stale air to help cool the incoming supply to the correct temperature.

Fire safety was also critical to the project, with the highly flammable cellulose nitrate film stock being stored in 30 smaller compartments around the edge of the building. In the event of a fire each compartment can be completely isolated from the remainder of the store and the pressure relieved via external pressure panels.  The insulated core of the Kingspan Kooltherm K3 Floorboard has a Class 0 fire rating helping to further safeguard the collection.
Kingspan Insulation provided technical support throughout the project such as calculating the U-value performance for the floors. The low Global Warming Potential (GWP) of the Kingspan Kooltherm range was another attraction as the building was designed with the aim of achieving a BREEAM sustainability rating of ‘Excellent’.

Carol Costello - Project Director, Edward Cullinan

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