For major artworks to be displayed in Oldham's new art gallery, services engineer Arup had to meet tough humidity and temperature standards set by the national Museum and Galleries Commission. Budget constraints prevented a central plant room being installed in the basement, as this would have meant the costly removal of contaminated soil. Instead, local HVAC units were installed, which also meant less ductwork was required to deliver air around the building. Air-cooled chillers and air-handling plants are situated in mezzanines next to the two main galleries, and the air is supplied through floor grills and extracted through ducting in the ceiling. Arup used concrete walls and ceiling planks as heat sinks, which meant that if the HVAC units failed, the galleries' thermal mass would ensure that heat would be retained – which also meant Arup saved more money for the client by not having to provide back-up HVAC systems.
Client Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council Architect Pringle Richards Sharratt Structural and services engineer Arup Quantity surveyor Davis Langdon and Everest Management contractor Mowlem Management