Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
This project entailed covering a redundant courtyard with an extensive glazed sloping roof, creating 3000m2 of new space.
In addition to a new ground floor area, the project created first floor and mezzanine areas, a rooftop plant room, and refurbished existing basement and adjoining areas.
The ground floor now provides a shop, café and servery, as well as rare books store and reading rooms. Two new galleries are located on the first floor. Other facilities include seminar rooms, keepers offices, public wash rooms, archive stores, education rooms and a ceramics study centre.
Control of environmental conditions to the exhibit display and storage areas was a priority due to the fragile nature of these items. This was achieved in the main gallery using fully conditioned air, supplied via acoustically lined plenums, whilst carbon filtration was employed to remove impurities from the air. The main AHU also incorporated a heat recovery wheel to reduce running costs.
Other areas utilise close control air conditioning units for temperature control, and ducted ventilation systems controlling the humidity.
Where water services pass through exhibit areas, ‘pipe-in-pipe’ systems with leak detection are installed. This includes rain water pipework, as well as heating and domestic water services.
Use of scene setting lighting was extensive, and had to be fully integrated into the structure. This included installing recessed lighting in a marbled floor area, which required careful setting out.
The security of the exhibits is also a high priority, so CCTV, intruder and door access systems are extensive, including infra red beam detection to high level glazed areas in the galleries, and high sensitivity aspirating smoke detection in library and archive areas.