Projects / BFI


A new facility to house acetate film and canisters which are kept at -5°C and 35% relative humidity, as well as ancillary office accommodation and film inspection equipment

RIBA regional project of the year 2012

Image © Workspace

The Vision

To create a facility to protect 190,000 canisters of unstable nitrate film and 240,000 acetate reels from fire and damage within strictly environmentally controlled conditions

Our Role

We provided project management and employer's agent services. As part of our role we delivered a feasibility study identifying a number of problems with BFI’s initial brief. We re-established the brief which ensured that all the film collections were able to be protected effectively. We worked closely with the design team to ensure this award winning building was fit for purpose and met the client's requirements. We actively challenged established industry perceptions as to how nitrate film could be stored and, in conjunction with the design team, delivered a cost effective solution which is the world's first in terms of the quantity of film stored in a single cell coupled with an innovative fire engineering solution developed in conjunction with ARUP Fire and the BRE.

Key Information

The British Film Institute
30,000 sq ft
Cullinan Studio
Project Manager:
Buro Four
Employers Agent:
Buro Four
Quantity Surveyor:
W H Stephens
Structural Engineer:
M&E Engineer:
Couch Perry & Wilkes

Special Mention

The project won the RIBA West Midlands Regional Project of the Year.