Palace Green Library, Durham Cathedral

The Challenge

Durham university had an aging lift in their world heritage site of Palace Green library, the challenge was to remove the existing lift and install a new 2 floor panoramic platform lift. The main challenge came from the working in and around the listed features of the building which featured a parkour flooring, wooden stair case and carpet. We also had to incorporate the lighting for the stairwell into the lift design as the university was unable to fix lighting to the surrounding walls. This meant running all cabling for lighting, lift power and communications from the plant room below the lift to the top of the shaft all within the thin structure of the lift to avoid having any conduit on the outside of the unit.

The Lift

The Lift that we proposed for this space was a MC2000 which utilises a chain drive system incorporating two chains running either side of the platform that are driven from a drive shaft at the top of the shaft. Having the chains either side of the platform as oppose to a screw or hydraulic shaft directly behind the platform enables the footprint of the lift to significantly smaller than all other platforms on the market but was essential in this case in providing a fully DDA compliant lift within a restricted stair well opening. The lift was finished in a powder coated light grey colour and had glazed panels on all sides, this panoramic effect was only achievable due to the special drive mechanism of the lift but was essential in allowing visitors a full view of the historic buildings stair well and feature window. The lift also featured fully automatic doors which was requested for the benefit of wheelchair users as oppose to the usual concealed opener.

The Result

The university were thrilled with the finished product which has given them and their visitors to the library the reliability that they needed. This will now serve them well for the next 15-20 years and will be maintained by ourselves biannually.