Gilberts sets the atmosphere for a new museum of the future…

  • 18 Aug 2021

The atmosphere in a ‘world class’ space for the curation of cultural artefacts, music, song and dance is being set through a continuous linear approach from Gilberts Blackpool.

Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, is currently working towards a £13.5m capital transformation ‘hello future’. This is optimising existing space between the existing Grade II and II* listed buildings, with a two-storey steel frame extension. 

The ground floor of the new building almost trebles the Museum’s special (temporary) exhibitions gallery space, and also features improved visitor facilities including a pop-up coffee shop, circulation space and an indoor picnic area.

Gilberts provides the solutions

To ensure the correct atmosphere for both exhibits and visitors, M&E contractor A + B Engineering has chosen Gilberts to provide the solutions.

Gilberts’ MBD diffusers up to 21m long run the length of the main exhibition space, strategically located between acoustic rafters in the ceiling grid to provide two-way supply of fresh air without draughts across the floor space.

In the new toilets, Gilberts’ SX200 and GX100 air valves respectively provide supply and extract. All have been powder-coated in house to RAL901 Gilberts’ MBD diffusers have been purpose designed to provide a sleek, continuous louvre face to blend with modern architecture.


Manufactured in 1.2m lengths, they have been joined almost invisibly to achieve the length required and mounted on concealed brackets to further compliment to interior aesthetics  without detracting from the exhibits below.

The smooth, even horizontal discharge of 0.14m3/s/m avoids cold spots and draughts. Gilberts further manufactured a number of dummy units to continue the ceiling aesthetics where ventilation was not directly required.

The SX200 air supply valves provide a compact means of ensuring fresh air into moisture- and odour-rich environments, providing relatively high air volumes with good diffusion. The GX200 air valves mirror the design, providing extract of stale air.

‘Rely on Gilberts’

Luke Dwyer, A+ B Engineering Contract Engineer, comments: “In a location such as a museum, it is crucial that the building services, including the ventilation, are invisible, so visitors are not distracted from the internationally-significant shows and experiences that the new space enables Manchester Museum to bring to the North.

“I know I can rely on Gilberts to deliver standard and bespoke solutions, and work alongside us to provide the technical support necessary to achieve a seamless solution.”

The Manchester Museum project is just one of several projects combining heritage buildings with modern architecture that Gilberts has been involved with, including the enabling works at Smithfield Market for the new Museum of London, the refurbishment of the Buxton Crescent Hotel and refurbishment and extension of Ealing Fields.

Its own heritage spans some six decades, and is founded on expert delivery of standard and bespoke answers to clients’ ventilation needs, which can be validated by a raft of in-house capabilities including virtual modelling and actual testing.

Manchester Museum, part of The University of Manchester, first opened in 1890. It is the UK’s largest university museum with a collection of about 4.5 million items from every continent.

Its combination of the academic and the popular is what makes the Museum so distinctive and lies at the heart of its widespread appeal. The Museum’s vision is to build understanding between cultures and a sustainable world.

Every year over half a million people visit. Manchester Museum is working towards an exciting new £13.5 million project hello future, to transform and develop the Museum becoming more inclusive, imaginative and relevant to the diverse communities it serves. 

The Museum will remain partially open during this time and in 2022 will become a bigger, more inclusive and imaginative Manchester Museum. 

The ‘hello future’ transformation includes: 

 – A beautiful two-storey extension 
 – A new Exhibition Hall
 – South Asia Gallery
 – Lee Kai Hung Chinese Culture Gallery
 – Belonging Gallery
 – A new space for learning and environmental action
 – New entrance and visitor facilities with focus on inclusive and accessible design 

To read about Gilberts delivering a five star service for Ensana’s first UK hotel, click here.


Gilberts of Blackpool,
Gilair Works,
Clifton Road,
FY4 40T

Phone: 01253 766911
Fax: 01253 767941

Visit Gilberts of Blackpool's website

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