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Tyvek® adds to the architectural wisdom of the new Liverpool Central Library

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Enhanced thermal efficiency and high-performance protection for a priceless archive

DuPont™ Tyvek® adds to the architectural wisdom of the new Liverpool Central Library
The facade of the new Repository wing of the re-developed Liverpool Central Library. DuPont™ Tyvek® advanced breather membrane is installed behind the external façade. Photo DuPont™ Tyvek®, all rights reserved.

The renewed Liverpool Central Library is a landmark £50 million redevelopment of a Grade II* listed building in a UNESCO World Heritage location. This exemplary scheme has employed advanced methods and materials to both restore important historic features and add bold new additions. Designed by Austin Smith Lord architects, the PFI funded project has been developed by Inspire Partnership, a joint venture between Amber Infrastructure and Shepherd Construction. Aiming from the outset to achieve optimum levels of efficiency and sustainability, the redevelopment has now attained BREEAM ‘Very Good’ status and won praise for its sympathetic design and construction management.

One of the impressive new build elements that replaces outdated structures from the1950s and 1970s is the Repository, now the home of the Liverpool Record Office, which has been built according to the latest British Standards for Repository and Archive storage (BS5454). The priceless collections housed within require constant levels of temperature, ventilation and humidity to be maintained, therefore the entire construction has been built to very specific tolerances.

DuPont™ Tyvek® Supro advanced breather membrane was specified for installation behind the north facing external wall of the Library’s Repository, to help protect the structure and enhance interior climate conditions. The cladding that finishes this wall consists of TECU® gold panelling, with a section of granite onto which has been emblazoned the names of Liverpool’s world-famous wordsmiths (from poets and playwrights to renowned lyricists Lennon & McCartney.)

Serving as an airtight but vapour open underlay behind the façade, DuPont™ Tyvek® Supro is an integral part of a holistic solution for the building envelope. The thermal performance, airtightness and energy-efficiency of a structure is dependent on the proper functioning of the entire system, from external walls to insulation to internal finishes and climate control services, and DuPont™ Tyvek® plays a key role in the overall building fabric of the Repository.

At Liverpool Central Library, a crucial aspect of its sustainable design is low infiltration rates to reduce both unwanted thermal losses and gains. This is complemented by conservation heating and recovery, high-efficiency boilers (plus a biodiesel generator) and high-efficiency lighting, plus rainwater harvesting.  DuPont™ Tyvek® Supro is set to be a reliable element of a cutting-edge project designed to preserve historical wisdom for the long term.