BFI Master Film Store

Cullinan Studio, Warwickshire, 2011


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Edmund Sumner © BFI (website)     Download Original

  • Site plan    
  • Floor plan    
  • Roof plan    
  • Section    
  • Elevations    
  • Mechanical operation    
  • BFI_RoofDetail    

Film store to preserve the British Film Institute’s (BFI) entire master collection of acetate and nitrate film in optimal environmental conditions

The building has a simple internal arrangement. A central concrete store room, with 30 identical cellular vaults for nitrate and six vaults for acetate film, is flanked by the entrance and offices at one end of the building and the services at the other.

The facades of the store room consist of 30 steel blast doors Externally the office and service areas are expressed with stainless steel cladding in contrast to the blast door facades of the main store.

A result of research and collaboration between the architect, engineers, film experts and the BFI the building best solution for storing large quantities of film, for the next 50 years.

The vaults will keep over 450,000 canisters of film in cold and dry conditions of -5oC at 35% relative humidity, while the fabric and services enable the environment to be maintained in an energy efficient way.

Pre-cast concrete panels provide the thermal mass required to limit temperature fluctuations. The specification required an extremely low air leakage rate of 0.3m3/hr at 50 Pascals and to withstand intense heat in the unlikely event of a nitrate film fire.


  • Begun: Oct 2010
  • Completed: Sep 2011
  • Floor area: 2,900m2
  • Sector: Industrial
  • Total cost: £12M
  • Procurement: Design and Build - two stage tender with consultants retained to the client
  • Address: Gaydon, Warwickshire, United Kingdom

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