Couch Perry Wilkes project recognised in 2012 RIBA Architecture Awards

Leading environmental building services consultancy Couch Perry Wilkes has had its pioneering work recognised after delivering a highly challenging project having recently scooped a prestigious prize for architectural excellence. 

It comes after The British Film Institute’s new Master Film Store, one of the world’s largest single facilities for storage of film cannisters, was named the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Regional Building of the Year (West Midlands) Award and RIBA Award Winner 2012.

Designed by Edward Cullinan Architects, this outstanding building, which stores the BFI’s entire master collection of acetate and nitrate film, incorporates some of the world’s most pioneering and environmentally-friendly engineering techniques.

The multi-award-winning company, based in Solihull, West Midlands, developed and designed unique environmental mechanical and engineering solution in close collaboration with the architects, film experts and the BFI to ensure the longevity of this precious material.

Couch Perry Wilkes Director Peter Broadbent, said his team devised a new method of storage that not only safeguards the fragile film from risk of fire, but also ensures they are maintained at a stable environment of -5C and 35 per cent relative humidity.

“To have this project recognised by RIBA in this award is testament to the complexity of the work involved and the design challenges, we are very pleased that all our efforts have been rewarded,” he said.

“Because of the stringent environmental constraints that come with designing storage for such fragile archive material and the fact that it had to be energy efficient, meant we had to think completely differently.”

“We had no British standards to use as a benchmark, so we adapted American Guides to raise the bar further.”

The BFI Master Film Store, which is located in Warwickshire, will now go on to be considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize – the UK’s most prestigious architectural prize – which is announced in October.

This year, the RIBA Awards for architectural excellence were presented to 50 buildings in the UK and nine buildings elsewhere in the EU.

Couch Perry Wilkes is committed to providing exemplar low and zero carbon design solutions and engaging with architects and clients to achieve the best possible outcome for the life of their buildings.