Case study: Actionair Fancoils for London's Giant Cinema

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Actionair fan coil units are helping to provide air conditioned comfort for London's latest visitor attraction - the 482 seat British Film Institute (BFI) IMAX Cinema. Boasting Britain's biggest ever cinema screen - 20 metres high and more than 26 metres wide - the BFI London IMAX Cinema is a £20 million project partly funded from the Arts Council of England's Lottery Fund.

It will show 2D and 3D large-format films designed to transport viewers on exciting educational adventures. The IMAX projection system - the most sophisticated motion picture projection system in the world - will be supported by an 11,600-Watt digital surround sound system.

Located on the South Bank just outside Waterloo Station, the BFI London IMAX Cinema is an attraction in itself. The multi-storey "glass cylinder" design by Avery Associates Architects is even more dramatic at night when illuminated by coloured lights. Building services consultants for the project were TME Engineers. Heating and cooling Twelve Actionair Hydropac PHW Waterside Fan Coil Units provide heating and cooling for the projection rooms, offices and cafe within the IMAX cinema building with temperature control, by means of modulating multi-port diverting valves and actuators linked to the central BMS. Low temperature hot water and chilled water services are pumped to the units from the central heat pump units. Heating requirements in the cafe are met by electric heater batteries incorporated into the Actionair units, rather than the hot water coils used for other locations. In the projection rooms fan coil units are in "plain sight" suspended on tie rods from the ceiling.

Elsewhere a more conventional location in the ceiling voids has been used for the chassis type Actionair units. All Actionair Fan Coil units feature a nine speed-tapped transformer plus pure sine wave adjustment for truly accurate commissioning. Used in conjunction with the three speed fan selector switch this effectively provides for twenty-seven different fixed output options, enabling a high degree of accuracy to be achieved in matching individual unit performance to project requirements on an area-by-area, room-by-room basis.

Mechanical and electrical contractors for the project were Drake & Scull.


Trained Architectural Technician, encouraging collaboration between architects and engineers.

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