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December 2009

DORMA Movable Walls Used in Auckland's Northern Club

This highly-respected and prestigious social club recently completed a major addition with its Wintergarden (a delightful adjoining space used for a variety of special events). In keeping with the Club’s unique ethos, the building is a stunning blend of strong traditional values inspired by contemporary thinking.

Through a limited competition, four architects were invited to present designs for the new amenity. The winning design came from Fearon Hay Architects, with Gordon Gallagher overseeing the project. He says, “The design has been derived from the classic Victorian Wintergarden typology and interpreted for today. The building includes a striking steel glass Victorian-influenced structure that sympathetically complements the attached heritage building.”

DORMA “Variflex” Movable Walls provide a key feature of the design. These five-metre high panels can be manoeuvred to screen off specific areas, or fully stacked back (into a discreet curtained area) creating an airy and spacious setting.

Room size flexibility

Nicki De Villiers, General Manager at The Northern Club, says: '€œThey [operable walls] give us the flexibility to alter the room layout in line with our members€™ needs.'€ She adds, 'Whether it'€™s for a dinner, a conference, cocktail party or private meeting, they can be set to create the ideal space.€'

In accordance with the elegance and stylish interiors famed by the Club, about a third of DORMA'€™s Variflex Operable Walls have been clad in a beautiful black leather and the balance in a chic autex covering. DORMA was able to provide a bespoke solution for the challenging brief. The system includes a run of 13 panels measuring fivemetres high in one direction, which meets a second run of three panels (same height) in another direction, creating a T shape.

In addition, three of the panels have internal pass-doors facilitating easy access between meeting rooms. The multi-directional trolleys allow the panels to be configured in a variety of ways giving the Club several room layout options. As well as aesthetics, reliable performance and ease of use, Gordon Gallagher highlights another important criteria: €œAcoustic control and minimising noise crossover. We worked with Marshall Day Acoustics to ensure the best sound control was achieved.”

Tightly sealed at ceiling and floor

One of DORMA Variflex'€™s unique features is its cranking mechanism. This effectively allows the top and bottom floor seals to be cranked into place, sealing off each room and minimising sound transfer.

Another point of difference is the systems heavy-duty trolleys. Unlike other models (which use nylon pucks that quickly deteriorate - to move along the track), the Variflex system supports smooth, long-lasting movement irrespective of the height or weight of the panel. Gordon sums up by saying it proved invaluable working with DORMA. Their knowledge and experience helped us work through the process to achieve the very best solution for this client.

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