Is that a smoke vent which I see above me?

Published:  05 October, 2011

Bilco, smoke vent, natural ventilation
With an area of 11 x 4 m, this automatic smoke vent for the new Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury is the largest vent ever made by Bilco

The largest vent ever made by Bilco has been installed in the fly tower of the new Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. This automatic acoustic smoke ventilator covers an area of 11 x 4 m and comprises six sections with 24 covers. It is also the first motorised acoustic ventilator to be made with a 2-cover design. Built on the site of the old theatre, the new theatre has a 1200-seat auditorium with vastly improved acoustics and sightlines.

Automatic smoke vents help firemen bring a blaze under control by quickly removing smoke, heat and gases from a building when fire breaks out.

The ventilator can be opened and closed automatically using internal switches to remove heat from the stage area. The control system will automatically close the covers in the event of rain or high wind conditions if natural ventilation is being provided.

The covers open up to 90°C as required by BS EN 12101-2 to ensure the rapid dispersal of smoke and fumes and reduce the risk of them being blown back into the building.

James Fisher, general manager for Bilco in the UK and Europe, says, ‘The Marlowe Theatre was a challenge but has demonstrated our ability to deliver a product that has met all the expectations of the original design. The major benefit of this acoustic vent is that it provides natural ventilation throughout the auditorium and stage areas.’

The new theatre was designed by award-winning architect Keith Williams.

For more information on this story, click here: October 2011, 123

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