A recent architectural competition, launched by the University of Manchester, has seen the extension of its Whitworth Gallery. The new building makes use of GEZE’s Slimdrive SL NT automatic operators.
Boasting cultural significance and national importance, the University of Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery welcomes over 440,000 visitors each year.
The university sought a contemporary extension to make the Grade II Listed gallery more accessible to a wider range of visitors. McInnes Usher McKnight Architects (MUMA) won the contract with a modern design, encompassing glass, stainless steel and brick.
Overlooking a park, the new exhibition space is expected to encourage new visitors to the site. To ensure easy access, GEZE UK was enlisted to create an automatic entrance.
Featuring two sets of sliding glass doors, the new entrance connects the gallery to the surrounding park. The doors have been positioned opposite one another to create a lobby, which works to minimise heat loss without limiting accessibility.
The doors are powered by GEZE’s Slimdrive SL NT automatic operators. Measuring a slight 7cm, the units can be installed discretely; once fitted, they are scarcely noticeable to users.
Finished in brushed simulated stainless steel, the operators complement the porch structure. Two 130mm diameter stainless steel bollards, complete with push pads, have been fitted to allow visitors to activate the doors; pocket screens enhance the system’s safety credentials.
The units add to the aesthetic appeal of the extension, whilst offering reliable operation in an area subject to high levels of footfall.
Following the completion of its £15 million extension, the gallery has achieved a RIBA National Award, two AJ Retrofit Awards – ‘Cultural & Public Buildings’ and ‘Heritage & Listed Buildings’ – and the RIBA North West Regional Awards’ ‘Building of the Year’ accolade.
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