When the vicar of St James’ Church decided to open The Sheriff Centre to house a Post Office, Café, stationery and retail shop and a children’s soft play area, it was clear that the ramshackle wooden porch was not fit for purpose.
As a result, GEZE UK was commissioned by Ion Glass on behalf of Caroe and Partners Architects to install a sleek new purpose-designed glass lobby that allows members of the community to safely access the facilities in West Hampstead.
The lobby, which has been designed to maximise space and light, features bi-parting AP glass doors to create a visual connection between the inside and outside spaces. ECdrives were chosen because they have been specifically designed for use in busy areas, allowing people to enter and exit a building quickly and safely. The drive uses GEZE’s activation technology and thanks to its self-cleaning roller carriage and low friction, it is quiet, reliable and durable.
Ben Blackledge from Caroe and Partners Architects takes up the story: “As St James’ Church is listed, we needed to make a faculty application to the Church of England. The entrance lobby and ramp were among the most important parts of our design.
“We had consulted Ion Glass when developing the lobby design, so they and their partners GEZE were the obvious choice for this scheme. There were a number of challenges with the project. The flagstone floor was uneven, but this was rectified with guides to allow the doors to slide easily. Another issue GEZE quickly spotted was the potential for finger entrapment on the inner door, and the design was subsequently adapted to include pocket screens for safety.
I think the finished result looks good – it is a modern installation that allows people to easily access the Sheriff Centre.”
The ECdrives feature intelligent digital control and have been programmed so that as someone enters the lobby the first door closes as the second opens. This ensures the entrance opens and closes efficiently, maximising footfall and minimising heat loss or gain.
Andy Howland, sales director of GEZE UK commented: “The Sheriff Centre is a truly unique space – it is the first time that a Church has been adapted to incorporate such a wide range of community facilities whilst still remaining a place of worship.
“The ECdrives are therefore the perfect automatic operator – they are quiet and allow high volumes of people to enter quickly, efficiently and safely, whilst the lobby and door closing configuration also contributes to the environmental efficiency of the building.”