The reconfiguration of its 1970 and 1980s interior has transformed the museum in Chelsea. Its five themed galleries, laid out over four floors, now centres around a light and airy atrium.
In addition to the permanent galleries, the museum includes temporary exhibition space, a study centre and education spaces, a cafe, shop and Play Base for children up to the age of eight. It is hoped that the £23.75m redevelopment – part-funded by the National Lottery – will open doors to new audiences enabled by GEZE products fitted around the building.
Included in the refit were five pairs of TSA 160 NT automatic swing door operators. These were fitted to the corridor and entrance to the museum’s boardroom and the corridor as well as two doors to Play Base.
The TSA 160 NTs are electronically controlled, hydraulic swing door mechanisms which are ideal for heavy doors in high traffic areas, increasing accessibility. They are extremely reliable and require little maintenance.
There are also 10 TS 550 E floor springs and 60 Boxer integrated door closers fitted to manual doors throughout the building – from study areas and corridors to behind-the-scenes facilities.
GEZE’s architectural ironmongery was specified by Interior Hardware, of Aldridge, in the West Midlands.
The museum was reconfigured to a design by architect practice BDP with exhibition fit-out by design agency Event to create a more welcoming, accessible and flexible environment, enabling the National Army Museum to manage increasing visitor figures, predicted to reach 400,000 by 2026.
It is intended to act as a bridge between the British Army and wider society – encouraging greater public engagement and understanding of defence and security, both past and present. The new building now houses 2500 objects – from the 17th century to present day. These include artefacts such as Lawrence of Arabia’s original desert robes, Florence Nightingale’s medals and the uniform worn by Her Majesty, The Queen, when, as Princess Elizabeth, she held the honorary commission of Brigadier in the Women’s Royal Army Corps from 1949 to 1952.
Andy Howland, GEZE UK’s Sales and Marketing Director, said that he was delighted that GEZE products were used in the landmark building: “It is immensely satisfying to know that GEZE products are integrated into a building which houses an archive of such national importance. The redevelopment of the National Army Museum has led to a ‘must-see’ visitor attraction, ready to meet the needs of its many audiences for years to come.”
Mike O’Connor, the National Army Museum’s Director, stated: “The architect’s vision of opening up the building and making areas more accessible has been furthered by the installation of various GEZE products to the highly trafficked areas and doors at the museum as part of the redevelopment. These additions, have made transiting areas much easier for our visitors.”