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DORMA UK - Making An Entrance: The Changing Face Of Public Buildings

Good design makes places work better and has an impact on improved quality of life. This is especially true in the public building sector where architects have moved on from purely functional design into creating buildings which are also more appealing and accessible. One public building that wouldn’t normally be deemed worthy of architectural merit is the local bus station but that is about to change.

A vital element of every town across the country, the humble bus station is acting as an essential link for the thousands of people that use public transport. With recent increases in the use of public transport, largely due to the rising costs of running cars, the need to look at how bus stations interact with their communities is becoming more essential. There is new focus on user journeys and experiences and with this comes the need to look at the design of the bus station.

Operators and designers must take into consideration that bus passengers are also pedestrians at each end of their journey. As such, the environment of the bus station is an important component of passenger’s perceptions of the quality of the bus service and safety. So how do designers offer a high standard of design yet still provide the operational functionality that must be integrated into any bus network?

At the sculptural new Slough Bus Station, the safe and efficient access to buses was not compromised in such a stunning design. Client FirstGroup wanted to create a bus station that offered a comfortable environment that would encourage the use of public transport, whilst providing safe and easy access to buses. With this in mind a series of automatic sliding doors were specified that enabled the creation of a light interior and, thanks to the integration of intelligent controls, would provide bus drivers with the ability to open and close the doors, allowing passengers access as buses arrived.

The new face of Slough
Designed by Bblur Architecture, the Slough bus station is the first part of a massive £400 million mixed used regeneration masterplan. Once completed, the ‘Heart of Slough’ project will include new offices, residential homes, leisure facilities and a library. Replacing Slough’s outdated 1970s Brunel Bus Station – made famous in the title sequence to the TV show The Office - the design of the new bus station is so iconic that it has already been exhibited at the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, the largest open submission contemporary art exhibition in the world.

Comprising a unique 140 metre feature length canopy, the new bus station includes 10 bus bays, three layover spaces and associated bus stands, alongside enhanced passenger facilities including waiting rooms, a coffee shop, newsagents, toilet facilities and cycle stands. To provide reliable and efficient access from the waiting rooms to the buses, Bblur Architecture specified DORMA ES 200 automatic sliding door operators.

Weatherproof 24/7
With the waiting rooms being partly open to the elements, it was essential that the sliding door operators would be resilient to various weather conditions. They also had to be robust to withstand constant use and aesthetically attractive to fit in with the modern, sleek design of the building.

To ensure passenger safety and maintain a comfortable environment in the waiting rooms, the ES 200 sliding door operators have been fitted with additional sensors which can identify the different types of buses using the station. These enable bus drivers to open the doors when they pull in to collect passengers, ensuring the doors are only open when required. The integration of the remote sensors stops passengers being able to walk out into the bus bays and minimises cold air or rain entering the waiting rooms. In the event of a power failure, the automatic doors have a manual override system.

The ES 200 is designed to meet the requirements of almost every automatic sliding door application. Easy to install and set-up, it features a powerful motor and a dynamic acceleration/deceleration control capability to ensure safe and reliable operation. The operating performance of the ES 200 is matched by its stylish, clean design, with a sophisticated appearance that complements any interior design scheme.

Working with specialist subcontractor Environmental Technology (Entech), DORMA supplied its ES 200 sliding door operators for installation on 11 sets of sliding glass doors. Brian Bailey, Managing Director at Entech explains, “We have worked closely with DORMA on past projects and know the quality of its products and the service it offers. With the unusual design of this project it was important that we had design flexibility and DORMA could guarantee this.”

The sliding door operators from DORMA are an integral element of this bus station and with hundreds of passengers passing through its doors every day, will help provide the public with the comfort and convenience they expect from a modern transportation facility.

Open for business
The Slough Bus Station is an iconic building in the Heart of Slough regeneration scheme. Groundbreaking yet passenger friendly, it not only represents the pinnacle of design but when combined with functionality of doors from DORMA ensures that the passenger experience is second to none.

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