Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Architect Rick Mather
Product Revolving Doors
Manufacturer Record Blasi UK

To make the most of the grand entrance to Charles Cockerell's 1845 neo-classical building, Rick Mather Architects has proposed a highly transparent solution.

New automated revolving doors and two automated pass doors by Record Blasi UK will be installed in the original main entrance of the redeveloped Ashmolean Museum in time for the museum's official opening on November 7.

Project architect Stuart Cade says that what makes these bespoke doors unusual are "their size relative to their framelessness". The turnstile of the revolving doors is in fact, not completely frameless. It is framed on three sides with a specially designed slim profile covered in stainless steel, but the centre of the turnstile is frameless.

The revolving door will be 4.1m tall with a diameter of 2.2m, and will be flanked by two 1m-wide glass pass-doors. A 12mm-thick toughened safety glass is used in the turnstile and four separate curved sections, each 800mm wide, for the drum walls. The 18mm-thick glass ceiling to the revolving door is also laminated.

The architect also specified Record Blasi doors because it was able to conceal the door mechanisms beneath the ground, and he wanted a glass arrangement that would allow full-height views into the museum without obtrusive drive mechanisms obscuring the grade I listed entrance.

Cade explains that a void exists between the underside of the floor slabs and the top of the brick vault below which is sufficient to accommodate the mechanisms and gearing for the three doors. Some of the floor slabs in the entrance area have already been lifted to hide the door mechanisms below the floor finish. It is the positioning of the drive unit off centre that makes this installation unique.

As part of the sympathetic alterations to the entrance, the existing and original 1841 blue Cockerell timber doors have been restored, reuniting the top and lower halves to their full height.

An existing timber porch and pair of timber doors fitted to the rear of the Cockerell main doors have been removed, together with an associated heater, conduits and pipes. Above the revolving door, Record Blasi has installed a fixed glazed 4.6m-wide panel that seals off the opening and allows a simple "Ashmolean" sign to be placed.

Amanda Birch
Building Design