The Masons marks on Ripon Cathedral’s West Front show it was built by the finest craftsmen in England and Europe; so when the Cathedral decided to install a stunning glass porch, it was essential the project was as finely crafted and durable as the building itself.
Two years on and the resulting Narthex Entrance has seen nearly 200,000 visitors as well as regular worshippers pass through its automatic glass doors, which feature GEZE UK’s Slimdrive SL automatic operators.
The brief was to create a welcoming new entrance that would transform the Cathedral, flooding it with light and allowing people to see directly inside. GEZE UK was commissioned by façade specialist DML on behalf of the project architects and specifiers, Caroe Architecture Ltd, to provide door operators for two single-leaf doors positioned either side of the lobby to complement the new porch’s elegant design, yet create a safe automatic entrance for a historic building with an extremely high level of footfall. With its exceptionally slim design and a drive unit height of just 7cm, the Slimdrive SL automatic sliding operator was the perfect solution for the job.
Designed specifically for high volume traffic areas, the Slimdrive SL is especially suited to glass facades. It is powered by a DC motor, which is designed to ensure years of low wear and high performance. What’s more, it is virtually silent in operation making it ideal for a place of worship.
The operating system has been programmed to allow visitors in by one door and out by the other, thus controlling the flow of people through the Cathedral. And to complete the look, the operators feature a bronze finish carefully matched to the architectural bronze metalwork of the Narthex Entrance.
Canon Keith Punshon explained that Ripon Cathedral wanted to make a fundamental change to the way people enter the Cathedral – to create an entrance of national quality that would allow people to see in and us to see outside to where we work and undertake our mission.
He said: “There are very few glass doors in Cathedrals. The new entrance is the most amazing transformation and has worked exactly as we wanted it to, allowing us to engage with the community. In fact it’s so unique that people often stop to take pictures of the doors.
“GEZE UK’s operating system is extremely useful and very flexible, allowing us to direct people to the appropriate entrance at the appropriate time.
“Working on a Cathedral project is unique in that our business of worship must continue as usual. The firm was extremely professional, respecting the need for silence during services and prayers and worked extremely well with our vergers and the other contractors on the project. I would definitely recommend GEZE UK.”
Managing director Kaz Spiewakowski added: “Our Slimdrive range of automatic operating systems is designed to be nearly invisible in elevation so products can be integrated elegantly into the design of the entrance. What’s more we offer a range of finishes to complement the materials used - in the case of Ripon Cathedral that finish was bronze.
“Two years on and the Slimdrive SL operating system has literally opened the doors of Ripon Cathedral to more than 200,000 visitors, demonstrating their efficiency and reliability.”
Oliver Caroe, Architect to Ripon Cathedral explained why Caroe Architecture Ltd specified the GEZE Slimdrive. “We researched a number of drives for the sliding doors for Ripon. GEZE were able to serve the scale and proportion of the doors for our design, which have a height of 3m.“Silence in operation was also vital, as was low-maintenance. We were impressed by the precision with which we could aim the sensing zones, ensuring the doors do not open in error and with the elegant way the drives are encased in bespoke, integrated cladding that contains the down lights and CCTV cameras.”