Ahead of the curve

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As an alternative to revolving doors, automatic curved sliding doors are a great way of combining efficiency with a stunning focal point at a building’s entrance. James White from Record UK explains the options for specifiers

Curved sliding door systems offer a variety of options. These range from complete circular doors containing a pair of external and internal doors supported by a glazed drum creating an entrance vestibule, to single door suites that follow the curve of a facade to maintain an uninterrupted aesthetic. They offer the benefit of maximising throughput capacity with relatively unimpeded access to all building users.

Circular sliding doors create visually stunning entrances which provide the maximum clear opening in any given footprint, making them ideal in high pedestrian foot traffic environments, particularly at peak times in commercial offices, luxury shops, shopping centres, hospitals, hotels and leisure facilities.

Circular sliding door systems are inclusive, as they provide clear unrestricted and unobstructed access to all building users without the need for an additional pass door. When linked to a fire alarm system, they are also suitable for the final exit point for all. As standard, the operators used also contain an integrated battery backup unit to ensure emergency operation in the event of a power failure, for compliance and peace of mind.

When compared to a linear sliding door system, for example, circular sliding doors offer improved aerodynamic properties as they deflect and dissipate wind pressure much more effectively while reducing the ingress of cold air. The addition of a concealed warm air curtain further improves this. 

Flexibility in design

There are many options available to architects when it comes to curved and circular sliding doors, including concave and convex designs. This gives designers greater freedom to create individuality and a sense of intrigue at entrances using varying degrees of curvature or radius, to complement the architecture of the building.

There are various finish options too. From simple RAL specification polyester powder-coated finishes to bespoke metal finishes such as polished stainless steel and bespoke cladding. Most requirements can be accommodated, and the earlier specification teams are involved in the design process
the better.

Drive options

An in-ground drive is the best option when the light transmission is a priority, because there is no need for a solid metal canopy above the opening to house the operator. This means that it can be substituted with a glass roof, further improving the aesthetic appeal. If a warm air curtain is required, then a vertical column-type heater should be considered. 

When the operator is mounted above the opening leaves, an overhead drive option will allow a warm air curtain to be concealed within the operator canopy as well as bespoke lighting systems and CCTV cameras etc. A minimal amount of space is required for a floor ring beneath the system, meaning these might be more suitable when replacing existing doors or when there is limited available floor depth.  

Facade integration

Curved sliding doors can be integrated into multiple types of facade construction including curtain walling systems and all-glass screens with suitable facade connections. Specification teams are on hand to support the design of these elements however.

Some manufacturers can offer bespoke sizes with diameters up to 6000 mm and passage heights up to 3500 mm with the opportunity to incorporate an additional canopy above to increase the system height further maximising architectural freedom. However, the larger the door system, the more consideration needs to be given to site delivery, service and maintenance, as well as access, and indoor climate impact. 

Security

When building security is a priority such as in financial buildings, data centres and other secure establishments, then enhanced security options are also available. From physical security options such as burglar-resistant glazing and electromechanical locking to operational security in the form of ‘anti-piggy backing’ and ‘anti-tailgating’ technologies. There is also the ability to add access control with options such as iris and fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, and code card readers.     

Ultimately, it depends on what you require from your building entrance. Curved doors are less complex, inclusive by design, extremely flexible and can be used on escape routes. One thing is for sure, by choosing a curved door you will be assured of the grand, elegant yet functional entrance that your building deserves. 

James White is specification manager at Record UK