Automated doors hit the right note at Liverpool Philharmonic

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall is an Art Deco wonder. Built in the 1930’s, its structured clean lines encompass interior detail which echoes the elegance of a bygone era. But the venue is also a thriving contemporary arts and entertainment venue – home to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and presenting more than 350 concerts and events annually, including music, comedy and film – and therefore opens its doors to all.

So, when it came to a £14.5 million refurbishment, it was vital to fuse functionality with sensitivity within the Grade II* listed building. Improved accessibility needed to be incorporated and the remotely located control box was concealed within the Art Deco fittings. The solution was found in GEZE UK’s TSA 160 UFO automatic under floor operator for swing doors.

GEZE UK was the immediate choice for building contractor Gilbert Ash which had to incorporate the new with the old – a bank of timber-leaved doors with etched glass insets that front the imposing building. The TSA 160 UFO not only powers the heavy doors with ease but has the added bonus of being virtually silent in operation – making them ideal for a building renowned for its acoustic properties.

The doors were designed by Liverpool Philharmonic Hall’s architect Herbert Rowse as one of its many decorative elements. The designs on the etched glass relate to the fluidity of music and the ensemble of instruments that make up the orchestra. However, as manual swing doors incorporating plate glass they could be difficult to manoeuvre for young visitors and those with restricted mobility.

And with close to 1700 people attending performances, the need to provide an automatic alternative was a must to allow visitors ease of access – from front to lobby and lobby to foyer.

In order to fit the under floor operators part of the original stone floor needed to be lifted and carefully reinstated to preserve the authenticity of the Art Deco interior.

The TSA 160 UFO was specified because the operator is fully concealed under the floor allowing the ornate doors to take pride of place.  The TSA 160 UFOs are tamper proof, easy to maintain and virtually silent in operation and can operate door leaves of up to 120kg in weight.

Jayne Garrity, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Head of Communications said: “Improving accessibility for visitors to Liverpool Philharmonic Hall has been central to our refurbishment programme.  The provision of automatic doors at the main entrance to the venue and lift access throughout the Hall for the first time are amongst a number of improvements we’ve provided designed to enhance our visitors’ experience.”

Kaz Spiewakowski, managing director of GEZE UK, said that that every heritage building brings a unique set of challenges but that technological solutions could be incorporated into historic interiors.

“This is a landmark building in the city and we are very happy that GEZE’s automatic swing door operators could improve the ease and accessibility of this prestigious venue,” he said.