about the building
Elstree Studios has a long history of film production in the United Kingdom, dating back to the early days of British cinema in the 1920s. The studio is located in Borehamwood, a town in Hertfordshire, just north of London.
The original Elstree Studios was founded in 1925 and it quickly became a hub of activity for the booming British film industry. Over the years, the studio has been the site of numerous classic films, including the original Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones films, and the Harry Potter series.
In 2019, it was announced that a new studio complex, Sky Studios Elstree, would be built adjacent to the existing Elstree Studios.
Legal & General appointed UMC Architects to design Sky Studios’ new site in Elstree. The 27.1-acre scheme includes 10 buildings, such as production offices, sound stages and a multi-storey car park. The 14 sound stages can be merged or subdivided for productions of all sizes, with the largest covering 60,000 sqft. Planning was granted in summer 2020 and BAM Construction was appointed as the main contractor. The last sound stage was opened on March 2023.
The site aims to produce 20% of its own power through solar energy and have no fossil fuel use, a strict no single-use plastics policy, and reach net-zero carbon by 2030
why were smoke and fire curtains used
As part of their fire safety strategy, Sky Studios Elstree worked with Coopers Fire to provide smoke curtains that would contain and prevent the spread of smoke in the event of a fire. This is particularly important given the high level mezzanines, lighting, and rigging equipment present in some of the sound stages, as well as the demountable walls that provide flexibility for different production needs.
Coopers Fire manufactured and installed SmokeStop Smoke Curtains for the production support studio, where access was required to move set pieces and vehicles up to 6m in height. The active smoke curtains used in this space are retracted when not in use, providing a clearance height of up to 6m. Upon detection of heat or smoke, the curtains will partially descend (split drop delay), providing compartmentation and protecting means of escape from smoke.
In total 8 SmokeStop curtains have been used on site. Each one over 15m in width and drop down 3m to provide adequate smoke protection.
Coopers Fire is proud to have manufactured and installed smoke curtains that offer safe egress routes and ensure that the studios can continue to operate with flexibility and creativity, while prioritizing the safety of all those who use the facility. Coopers installed the smoke curtains to blend sympathetically with the building’s architecture, remaining hidden from view until needed.
Each curtain has been developed to deploy under controlled, safe speeds using Coopers patented true TOTAL fail-safe by gravity (TGFS) and was manufactured by Coopers in the UK. Coopers continue to conduct planned maintenance and servicing on all of Sky Studios Elstree smoke curtain barriers.
• Unlimited width smoke curtains
• Fully trained and experienced installation teams
• Bespoke engineering
• Third Party Certified for Product and Installation
• Manufactured by Coopers Fire in the UK under BS EN ISO 9001, 45001 and 14001 systems
• Compliant to BS EN 12101