Biblioteca de la Universidad

Library of Birmingham constructionLibrary of Birmingham louvre

Project Details:

  • Location: Birmingham
  • End User: Birmingham City Council
  • Architect: Mecanoo Architecten
  • Main Contractor: Carillion
  • M&E Contractor: Emcor


To provide a solution offering day to day natural ventilation and smoke control in the case of an emergency.


The current Birmingham Central Library was first opened in 1973 and is the busiest public library in Britain, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors per year. However, there was no room for expansion on the original site and the library has been forced to move to help accommodate the ever-changing developments in ICT and learning techniques.

Designed by Dutch Architects Mecanoo, the new Library covers ten floors, nine floors above ground and one below ground, and is expected to attract up to 10,000 visitors per day.

Colt provided Coltlite natural ventilators and Universal Louvre to the exterior of the building to provide natural ventilation and help regulate the internal temperature. In the interior of the library Colt have also installed Colt Shaft systems and Natural BRE Shafts to provide lobby ventilation, as well as ducted mechanical smoke extract systems, SM-5 automatic smoke curtains and FM1 automatic fire curtains.

Car park ventilation has been provided utilising a Colt Jetstream impulse fan system, which will not only clear smoke in the event of an emergency but will also help clear exhaust fumes on a day to day basis.