Open Entrances was appointed by the Royal Opera House in 2016 to assist its architect Stanton Williams in designing, engineering, manufacturing and installing the new Covent Garden Piazza entrance. The existing entrance was underplayed so Stanton Williams redesigned it to incorporate a curved structural glass entrance with an oversized 3.6m wide and 3.5m tall automated revolving glass door with a breakout facility and an adjacent automated glass pass-door. The design also incorporated two colours in the glasswork with integral LED lighting and bronze finish on the metalwork.
Working with architects Tom Shell and Luke McClelland at Stanton Williams and with Project Director Joe Hacke at RISE, the technical engineered solution ensured the creation of an entranceway that was robust, reliable and simple to maintain. The design is made up of five large glass sections. Each 5m tall section is laminated and annealed, and the glass is low iron and screen printed. The motor for the automated door is located underground rather than in the head to keep the design clean and minimal.
The structural glass sections are from Spanish manufacturer Cricursa, the aluminium and steel metalwork by Protosheet in Kent, and Erreka Automatic Doors were consulted for the supply of the actuation systems and motors. Applelec Ltd assisted with the lighting, providing an ingenious light sheet solution, utilising organic light emitting diodes. The entranceway was put through exhaustive testing procedures to make certain that it was up to the rigorous demands required. The glass sections demanded careful specialist handling and GGR devised a special lifting strategy that demanded absolute precision and care.
Having played a significant role in the successful transformation of this world-renowned structure, Tom Shell is delighted with the results. “The underlying ethos of the project is to draw the public into the Royal Opera House and the entrances are obviously a key aspect of this, ensuring they are as generous and welcoming as possible,” Tom Shell says. “Stanton Williams have collaborated closely with Open Entrances from the early stages of the design process through to the installation of this new entrance structure, successfully achieving the right level of transparency, elegance and attention to detail deemed appropriate for such a prestigious project.”