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close this book Prevention and treatment of mold in library collections with an emphasis on tropical climates: A RAMP study
close this folder 4. Prevention
close this folder 4.1 Building design and modification
View the document 4.1.1 Location
View the document 4.1.2 Structural considerations in environmental modification

4.1 Building design and modification

If one is fortunate enough to be involved in the design of a new building with state of the art environmental controls, there is ample coverage in the library and museum literature, beginning with Garry Thomson's excellent volume, "The Museum Environment"1 which should be an invaluable aid to librarians. No attempt will be made here to retrace this ground. Instead, attention will be focused on the modification of existing buildings and the design of new buildings which will not incorporate environmental control.

It should be noted that a building constructed with the idea that environmental controls will be added at some future date is not a viable option. A building designed in such a way that environmental controls can be effectively installed and economically operated in the future, will most probably be insufferable for both users and collections in the meantime. The low ceilings and closed interiors that make environmental control possible create the worst possible environment in the tropics. By the same token, a building designed to take advantage of natural ventilation makes the installation of a complete environmental control system virtually impossible, or at the very least, astronomically expensive. Decisions regarding the environment must be made early in the planning.

Even without environnmental control, good design can do much to reduce the negative impact of the locale's prevailing climate. There is surprisingly little literature available on building design in the tropics. Vance's bibliography2 lists a scant fifteen pages of references, many 20 to 30 years old. Though the literature is not extensive, working together the librarian and the architect can design a building that will safely house the collection. In building design, it is important that the area's particular type of tropical climate be taken into consideration since the requirements will be different for each of them, though some common denominators do exist.