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Quarry Hill Theatre

Project Status 
Project Value 
Service Provided
Under construction ​
Leeds, U.K.
£ 60 000 000
Fire & Smoke control analysis of the Theatre during means of escape



With a large theatre space containing platformed seating, lighting and equipment along with acoustic panels and curtains, the theatre space at Leeds City College new Quarry Hill Campus was challenging in regards to fire and smoke modelling with complex geometry, fire size and scale of the space. 


K8T evaluated the theatre using Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS) software during means of escape.  


Level of Detail

The theatre at Leeds City College consists of multiple levels to accommodate an audience and to serve the performance requirements of the space through the use of lighting and acoustic panels. 

As part of the model, a small cell size has been used to allow detailed geometry to be modelled effectively.The cartesian mesh used had a uniform cell dimension of 5 cm throughout the model, resulting in a 18.1 million cell. Individual seats was constructed as part of the raised platform seating, along with the bars and duct work that served the space. Through modelling the detail in these areas, the characteristics and movement of the smoke generated by the fire along with the air flow from the make up air could be better simulated. 

Leeds City College Theatre CAD visualisation
Smoke and Fire located within the theatre

Means of Escape

The primary aim of the analysis was to demonstrate that the MSVS proposed could provide adequate conditions for the 180 spectators, performers and crew member to evacuate the space. The system would also have to demonstrate that it could control temperatures within the main firefighting lobby so that firefighters would be able to approach the theatre safely.


The challenges of providing the necessary criteria for the system to be deemed acceptable would be heightened when platform seating was added as a design feature in the later stages of the project. The addition of the tiered seating would result in the system needing to provide tenable conditions at a higher level for a longer period due to the highest seating level being 2.7m above FFL.

System Evaluation 

Through a methodical and detailed process of design iteration with K8T discussing and evaluating the configurations of the MSVS with the design team, a compliant design was acheived for the threat space. 

With a system design being simulated using Fire Dynamic Simulation (FDS), the design could be evaluated with the results being interacted to ensure a robust design that met or exceeded the requirements established in British Standards and Building Regulations.

Velocity Stream through the theatre
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