Imperial College London
Fleming Library

£3 million




Imperial College London


Russel Cawberry









  • Engineering services design
About Imperial College London, Fleming Library

We have been working with Imperial College London since 2006 successfully delivering more than 60 projects, including several at the St Mary’s School of Medicine which is home to the historic Fleming Library. 

Our engagement started with reviewing options for enhancing the internal environmental conditions to be comfortable all year round, and to help achieve the vision to create a flexible space attractive to students to study (open 24 hours a day) whilst restoring the historic library to its former glory. Located on busy Praed St in London’s Paddington area, the library was originally completed in 1903 as a naturally ventilated space with large opening windows and comprises ornate wooden panelling typical of the Victorian era with solid ceilings.

Due to traffic noise and pollution natural ventilation was proven to be unsuitable leading to overheating problems during the summer months with the windows closed. Student poles indicated the library was unpopular due to the stuffy environment and as a result underutilised.

dynamic thermal modelling, we completed several environmental simulations of different ventilation and cooling options in accordance with ICL’s strict overheating criteria.

The most effective and energy efficient option was adopted using displacement ventilation with cool air introduced to the seating areas with very low velocity ventilation rates. CO² sensing was employed to bring the ventilation and cooling on only at times were occupancy and internal conditions required it. Ventilation rates were also controlled to be variable depending upon demand to optimise energy use.

The electrical services delivered new power and data connectivity to all of the seating to allow students to use their laptops and tablets. All the new services ventilation ducting, power and data cable containment was concealed behind the existing wooden panelling to maintain the historic finishes and appearance. Displacement ventilation terminals were located below the seating (out of view). This approach was highly sympathetic to the historic nature of the space with no visible services or bulkheads.

The library was successfully delivered and has received positive reviews from the students and staff. The new mechanical systems have also been well received by the ICL FM team with all items requiring maintenance located outside of the library for ease of access and the low running costs.

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