British engineering helps create landmark energy efficient building

The long-awaited £49 million Arts & Innovation Centre in Bangor, is bridging the gap between engineering and art in part through state-of-the-art British engineering technology.

Pontio, (Welsh for bridge), aims to link art, science, the University and the local community, through its provision of theatre, cinema, design & innovation centre in one building located between the main University buildings and the city.

And it has used state-of-the-art techniques to achieve high environmental standards- it used 30% less carbon than buildings of similar  size in its construction, and will continue to be eco-friendly in operation, producing its own electricity and using natural ventilation solutions from the UK’s leading independent air movement specialist, Gilberts (Blackpool) Ltd, to reduce reliance on heating and air conditioning.

More than 60 of Gilberts’ innovative Mistrale ventilation louvres have been integrated into key areas of the foyer, theatre technical workshop, social learning area and energy centre.

Mistrale 75 ventilators are unique in their performance: they achieve accurate and stable airflow with air leakage as low as 5m3/hour/m²- twice as good as current Regulatory requirements, with a U value, when closed, of as little as 0.93W/m²K- equivalent to a double-glazed window.

All the units at Pontio feature Gilberts’ WPZ50 rain and weather resistant external louvres, to enable the systems to be easily integrated into the fully-glazed atrium façade.

Cross ventilation and passive stack principles have been employed to ensure appropriate air changes to maintain the internal air quality and temperature. Night cooling- a key benefit of natural ventilation strategies- is optimised to further enhance the building’s energy efficiency and ensure a comfortable environment within when occupied.

Dewi Hughes, Pontio’s executive director observed:

“The essence of Pontio is that is is an interdisciplinary space, in its end-use and its creation, bridging art and engineering into one landmark building. Even the detail of the ventilation reflects that ethos, where engineering has devised an unobtrusive solution that blends seamlessly into the architecture.”

All Gilberts’ systems are engineered to order, and comprehensively tested, in the UK.

Founded 50 years ago, privately owned Gilberts is unique in having its own, on-site (85,000ft²) manufacturing facility, producing engineered solutions, with an in-house test centre. Technical expertise is supported by bespoke software developed in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, addressing air movement and flow simulation/ computation fluid dynamics.