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Aerospace Bristol museum

27/03/19

Aerospace Bristol museum

The Aerospace Bristol museum has been carefully constructed over the course of a few years in a series of impressive hangers at what were once the Filton Based Bristol Aircraft Company (BAC)’s headquarters occupying 9 acres on Filton Airfield.

The site, hallowed ground if you’re an aviation enthusiast, boasts 5000m2 of exhibition space, and over 6,500m2 of learning space spread over a mixture of new and existing buildings – including two WW1 Grade 2 Listed hangers.

Its history stretches back to 1910 when the Bristol Aeroplane Company was formed, a short seven years after the Wright brothers achieved the first powered flight. The site is steeped in the history of powered human flight and it is hard to think of a more fitting location for a museum dedicated to aviation to be located.

Its mission is to educate and inform the public of all the ground-breaking technological achievements that the site has hosted over decades as well as keeping alive the memory of all the inspired inventors and the hard workers who have shaped aviation history in so many different ways.

Both World Wars contributed to the site’s rich heritage. World War One saw the construction of thousands of the iconic Bristol Fighters by BAC which helped the nation win at the infamous Battle of the Somme. This was not the end of the BACs’ service to the nation in time of war though. World War Two would see the production of various airplanes including the legendary Blenheim, Beaufighter, and Brigand models which, while not as well-known as the Spitfire, nevertheless took their toll on the enemy and helped secure victory in the Battle of Britain.

Prior to its merging into the British Aircraft Corporation alongside other famous bygone names like English Electric and Armstrong-Vickers, BAC built the gigantic Bristol Brabazon at the site. Equivalent to the Airbus A380 of today and with a wingspan larger than a jumbo jet, the Brabazon was built to make transatlantic flights available to the masses. Sadly, with world economies still recovering from war production the plane could find no orders and the project was eventually scrapped. Like much of the British aviation industry, the post war years were difficult for BAC and eventually the site was a shadow of its former self.

Today, the site is impressive for different reasons. The Aerospace Bristol museum houses over 8,000 artefacts including the last flying Concorde as well as many aircraft dating back over the past century of powered flight. Preservation of these national treasures is paramount for the museum and nothing is of more importance in preserving and protecting them than a controlled environment, where heat, moisture and temperature can be carefully monitored and precisely adjusted.

Prihoda chosen as HVAC contractor

Working with Totus Building Services, Prihoda was chosen to convert the original concept in to a working design for a variety of areas – most notably the new Concorde display building and the main museum display halls in the old manufacturing hanger 16S.

The new Concorde building has been created to house and display Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last Concorde to be built and the final one to fly. The building has a wedge shape with one end starting at around 12m height and gradually falling across the length of the building to a single story on the opposite end. The interior incorporates a mezzanine level allowing access to the Concorde directly from the 1st floor of the building as well as high level access to appreciate the scale of the aeroplane.

The shape of this building and the sheer area of Concordes wings created some interesting challenges to overcome.

We supplied a fabric header duct to distribute the air through three branch ducts – one of which angled downwards to follow the fall in building height reducing in diameter along the way. Delivering over 5.0m3/s through the branches, we used our 40mm diameter fabric nozzles at the higher end of the building, reducing to 30mm diameter nozzles as the height and throw distance reduced and ending with 20mm diameter nozzles at the end of the branch. A dark grey colour was selected to allow the duct to blend into the general high-level structure of the building so as not to detract from the main attraction.

The main museum halls in Hanger 16S are housed in one of the most architecturally interesting hanger buildings in Europe with an extremely rare Belfast timber truss ceiling spanning three 24m long bays. These trusses are supported by brick columns around which we had to design two almost identical, but mirrored, fabric Ducting systems.

Made with dark grey material to blend into the building as above, the ducts move gracefully around the columns by utilising our unique swept bend design. This design also reduces pressure drop through the bend by 66% in comparison to conventional faceted band construction. Each system was designed to deliver nearly 3.0m3/s of tempered air to the building to create some free cooling and a base level heating load whilst also ventilating the space to keep it fresh and healthy for visitors. Here, we used our laser cut perforations to mix and throw the air into the occupied zone so that we could deliver the air directly into the space without draughts.

Other areas where Prihoda Fabric Ducting was designed installed include the Theatre (a very interesting Quarter round duct was specified here) the Café (two high level ducts also using nozzles to throw the air the distance necessary to reach the occupied zone) the Activity Space, Making Studio, Orientation Area and Archive store.

Contact Prihoda

To be considered for such a prestigious installation is high praise indeed for any supplier, and to actually be chosen was genuinely an honour for Prihoda. With the sheer amount of different air flow and conditioning scenarios that had to be measured and modelled across the entirety of the site, it certainly was challenge, but one that we relished.

Whatever the location and whatever the challenges in HVAC, there is a fabric duct solution that will be affordable, easily maintainable, quiet, and attractive in appearance. To speak to our team about the range of fabric ducting materials we offer together with our additional services for end users and for specifiers, please call us on 0121 320 2496 or email info@prihoda.co.uk if you’re in the UK. Our ROI customers should call 01 961 0031 or email info@prihoda.ie.

About Prihoda

Founded by Mr Zdenek Prihoda in 1994, the company employs over 250 people in three factories in the Czech Republic to serve the European market. The company also operates factories in China and Mexico for Asian and American markets. We supply to over 60 countries a year and we are the only company in the sector to use 100% post-consumer recycled material in our fabric ducting.