A bespoke set of unique entrance doors was required for a commercial property; a multi-storey office building in London.
The challenge, on this occasion, was to create a distinctive frontage and entrance, around building restrictions, whilst ensuring normal functionality, reliability and security were maintained.
The brief from the client was to create doors with a heavy ‘industrial’ appearance; the front door panels were to be clad in metal, with small ‘vision’ panels in the centre of each. The doors were to be the primary means of access to the building and were to include both manual ‘deadbolt’ locking and also an electrically-actuated lockset to provide remote control of building access during office hours. A supporting pillar, set just inside the doors within the entrance lobby, added further complications, which meant the doors had to form part of a combination door set, with a glazed side-screen.
The solution, therefore, was to form the doors around a conventional, glazed aluminium commercial door set, with the internal and external faces of each door clad individually to achieve the desired results and appearance.
The actual door structure was created specially with additional frame members to create the central vision panels. The entire face of each door was then clad in a laser-cut aluminium skin, which was machined to achieve the horizontal ‘slatted’ appearance required by the brief. A fabricated aluminium push plate/grab handle assembly, set into the face of each door, completed the design.
A consideration throughout, was that the overall weight of the door sash was kept to a minimum, to ensure the door hinges and self-closing mechanism worked well. This, however, limited the thickness of the skins that could be applied and meant that fixing the skins to the sash frames proved a particular challenge. They were considered too thin to employ concealed mechanical fixings and extensive welding would create distortion, thus spoiling the overall effect.
Following extensive research, a special two-part epoxy adhesive was applied to bond the skins to the sash frames. This adhesive offered a secure attachment which was flexible enough to withstand the day-to-day ‘knocks and bumps’ the doors would have to endure.
The cavity between the internal and external skins was filled with lightweight, rigid PUR foam insulation to improve the thermal efficiency of the assembled door set.
Finally, the doors were painted, using a durable two-part industrial coating system, before assembling and installing. Clear double-glazed units formed the vision panels, with a special sandblasted-glass design applied to the full height side panel glazing, to provide a degree of privacy and to add to the distinctive appearance.
The final door design resulted in doors that opened fully and safely, without clashing the internal pillar and the overall balanced, visual design achieved.