Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Arts – Bristol

Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Arts – Bristol


Case Study Description

The Arnolfini is a contemporary arts organisation in Bristol that attracts half a million visitors a year. At the heart of Bristol’s harbourside, the Arnolfini is a leading centre for the contemporary arts including art exhibitions, a cinema, live art and dance. The original Arnolfini was setup in 1961. A major refurbishment was undertaken with the Arnolfini reopening in September 2005. At the heart of the refurbishment lies 9 sliding and 33 hinged specialist Clark Doors.

Clark Door worked with the architect from an early stage in the project to satisfy their aesthetic and ergonomic requirements of fitting in within an art gallery. A key aspect was providing doors suitable for an environmentally controlled room where valuable artwork would be displayed. It was necessary to adhere to very high fire and security requirements. As well as protecting the art work; safe and speedy evacuation of staff and the general public was an essential design criteria.

This Horizontal Sliding Fire Door is connected to the fire alarm system so that it closes in the event of a fire alarm signal. The battery back-up system allows the door to operate for 20 cycles in the event of a power failure.

Another aspect of the design of the doors was providing good access into and around the building: in order to achieve this Clark Door provided a special unequal leaf door with motorised open and closing to enable disabled access into the theatre.

This gallery door is located onto the side of an environmentally controlled area to preserve the condition of the exhibits, not only designed as a fire door to protect the exhibits in the event of a fire; but this particular door opens and closes every time someone wishes to enter to view the exhibits.

A key aspect of the gallery’s design is the separation of rooms with different functions. Clark Door worked closely with the Acoustic Consultant to provide acoustic doors so that sound would not travel from the noisy, small auditorium to the ‘near silent’ galleries. Clark Door worked closely with the acoustic consultants to provide good access to the theatre that maintained the functionality of the room spaces. The acoustic door above provides high level two-way sound insulation between the gallery and the cinematic theatre.