Public Records Office, Northern Ireland
PRONI at Titanic Quarter
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is one of three national archives in the UK and is responsible for the storage, management, conservation and access to historical records of public interest.This new purpose built (9,228 m2) facility provides state of the art research and archival facilities. The building accommodates some 3000 m2 of archival shelving held within the central repository, around which is wrapped three storeys of supporting accommodation, including multi-purpose exhibition spaces, public search and reading rooms, conservation laboratories, staff accommodation and ancillary facilities.
The client brief was for a low energy sustainable design with the aspiration to achieve an EXCELLENT BREEAM rating. It achieved an Excellent BREEAM rating with a score of 77.39%, the highest achieved in Northern Ireland at the time and was completed around 3 months ahead of programme and under budget to an exceptional standard
A particular feature of this building is the naturally ventilated Active Facade. In summer the need for mechanical cooling was reduced by using strategies to maximise natural lighting but at the same time to reduce solar gains and peak daytime cooling loads. Ceiling slabs were left exposed and a controlled night-time cooling strategy used. Fundamental to this was the use of a ventilated facade onto the office accommodation and a central stack effect atrium to induce natural ventilation into and across the occupied spaces. Glazed elements and mortised dampers at the base of the “active” wall provide controlled natural ventilation to the office spaces. In winter the active facade makes use of solar gains through the glazed facade to create a buffer zone thereby reducing heat losses. Only after this was a renewable energy source utilised, a 500 KW biomass boiler.
Rainwater harvesting was used to reduce cold water consumption.