Aerospace Bristol

An Aston Martin and a Concorde aeroplane in a hangar with grey Prihoda fabric ducts

The Company

Located on Filton Airfield, the Aerospace Bristol museum is home to Concorde Alpha Foxtrot, the last Concorde ever made and the last to fly. Aerospace Bristol aims to promote the local aerospace industry’s history and heritage, fostering learning and supporting conservation efforts. Its main exhibition covers aviation history from its beginnings to today’s industry and beyond.

The site has been home to aircraft manufacture for over 100 years under a string of different owners such as BAE. The museum’s archive store holds an extensive collection of documents relating to the history of the local aviation industry, including company archives dating from 1910.

Prihoda fabric ducts in a grade II listed museum building

The Challenge

With so much history on display, it’s no wonder the museum would need a state-of-the-art ventilation system. Everyone expected a healthy stream of visitors to the museum, who would need to be kept comfortable during their stay.

Totus Engineering contacted Prihoda to design and supply fabric ducting for several key areas, from the Concorde hangar to the activity spaces. The project comprised a mixture of newly built facilities and a 100-year-old Grade II listed building. This made fabric ducting perfect for the job, as it is a particularly well-suited option for retrofitting into older buildings.

The varied nature of the buildings and spaces necessitated a tailored approach, as each space’s use determined its ventilation needs. For example, noise levels weren’t an issue at the café, whereas their importance took centre stage in the exhibition areas.

Grey Prihoda textile diffusers with nozzles on the ceiling of a canteen

Our Approach

To overcome the challenges listed above, we created a bespoke design for each of the areas within the scope of the project. The café needed a long-throw system due to its high ceilings. We used fabric diffusers with nozzles to make sure even buoyant warm air to reach all the way down into the occupied zone.

The low ceilings of the exhibition areas made the same approach unsuitable at that location. Instead, we used fabric diffusers with several rows of laser-cut perforations designed to entrain the surrounding air into the flow, delivering comfortable ventilation gently and noiselessly. In addition, parts of the exhibition take place in the listed building, which means that the installation works required particular attention to avoid interfering with the existing structure.

The project included the hangar which would hold the jewel of the exhibition the Concorde Alpha Foxtrot. The scale of the space necessitated many air changes to maintain a pleasant, fresh environment. To achieve this, an extensive fabric duct system with large nozzles was installed, which could supply the large volumes required.

A grey fabric diffuser shown behind an aeroplane model at Aerospace Bristol

The Outcome

In all, almost half a kilometre of fabric ductwork was designed by Prihoda for the museum.

The result is a world-class ventilation solution for all areas of the museum. By tailoring the air distribution to each setting, we ensured visitor comfort, whether they are following the exhibition or enjoying a snack at the café. By using fabric ducting, Aerospace Bristol can now maintain a warm, cosy temperature in winter. In the summer, cool air can be supplied without any undesirable air currents or draughts.

An Aston Martin and a Concorde aeroplane in a hangar with grey Prihoda fabric ducts

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