Government records dating back to the eleventh century are now housed in a £34m extension to the Public Record Office in Kew. Designed by Croydon based TBV Consult, the project was completed by Kyle Stewart of London. Due to the irreplaceable contents of the new building a requirement for smoke control was established. Colt was chosen to design a smoke control system in conjunction with the former PSA Projects (now TBV Consult) and assisted in obtaining all the necessary approval from the local authority and fire officer.
The new building, which is larger than the original building comprises four levels covering an area of almost 32,000 square metres, and has twelve repositories with new facilities for conferences and lectures. The extension contains 79km of shelving - enough to accommodate the annual 1.5km expansion of the collection until 2010. It is linked to the existing structure by a three storey glazed atrium, that also serves as the new main entrance.
Over 80 Colt Firelight glazed natural ventilators were specified and were installed into the glazed atrium to provide smoke control and day-to-day ventilation.
In order to minimise the effects of solar gain, the new facility was also fitted with more than 150 Colt solar shading blinds, installed horizontally in the new glazed entrance hall; vertically and at a 45 incline in the atrium. The blinds, which have been installed beneath the ventilators, are operated by quiet running electric motors mounted inside the fabric rollers and range in size up to 3.5m wide and up to 18m in length, retracting automatically in the event of fire.
The blinds are triggered automatically by a range of external light sensors and internal temperature sensors, linked to a central micro-processor control panel ensuring shading is only provided when necessary.