POCKETS OF SOUND Doors have traditionally been a weak spot in achieving acoustic separation but this is not the case with the glazed doors introduced by partition manufacturer Faram. Cleverly, it has designed these as pocket doors, ie doors that slide away within a partition. This is not only an elegant solution, it is also a spacesaving one.
The doors are designed for use with Faram's P700 partitions. These are double-glazed units with transparent polycarbonate extruded vertical mullions and high-acoustic-insulation gaskets. Felt acoustic seals prevent acoustic leakage when the doors are closed.
The standard deflection allowance for the pocket doors occurs above the rolling gear. This means that the entire load is transferred to the floor via the partitioning and there is no need for bracing into the ceiling slab. They are therefore easy to demount and re-install, making them suitable for use in offices with a lot of churn.
The pocket doors are being installed as part of a partitioning system at Fidelity in Germany. Closer to home, they can be seen at Faram's showroom at 132 Commercial Street, London E1 6AZ.
LEARNING LIGHT Large timber windows played a major role in the refurbishment of St Bede Church of England School in Winchester, Hampshire.
The refurbishment was driven by necessity: the building had suffered extensive damage after floods two years ago, and Hampshire County Architects decided to raise the floors by 0.5m to prevent this happening again.
At the same time, the architect demolished a number of flat-roofed additions and designed an extension to house the facilities previously contained within them, creating a new hall, a music room, a dedicated area for children with special needs and improved staff facilities.
It specified windows from Scandinavian Window Systems, as well as doors with a low threshold for wheelchair-friendly access, and some glazed screens. The windows and screens played a vital role in opening up the school. 'We used these windows because we wanted aluminium externally and timber internally, ' says Kevin McArdle from Hampshire County Architects. The combination provides a relatively domestic appearance internally, coupled with a robust exterior finish and a contemporary look.
SAFE FROM HARM It is an uncomfortable fact that in today's security-conscious age, whether as a result of increased risk or simply heightened awareness, personal safety is a matter of growing concern.
But one of the stalwarts of home security, the traditional chain on the door, is not only unattractive and fiddly, it is also, according to security company 1st Secure, relatively unreliable.
Up until now, however, the door chain has been the only defence available on an open door. Now 1st Secure has launched a product that is both more discreet and, it claims, considerably more effective. Called the DoorDefender, it has a spring mechanism that stops forced entry even when the door is open. It also has a 110dB alarm that should draw attention to potential intruders.
Although a recent introduction, the DoorDefender has already won the Master Locksmiths Association Sold Secure gold award. It may represent the latest step in paranoid living, but is surely better than never opening the door at all.