One Blackfriars – Hydraulic Door Solution

Special Handling Solutions

The challenge

One Blackfriars opened its doors in 2018 as a 50 storey mixed-use tower reaching 170 meters into the London Skyline, taking inspiration from the sculptures of Brâncuși, Henry Moore, and 1950s Finnish glassware design.

Access to the building’s exterior was to occur on the 44th floor and required internally opening doors. Limited space between the façade, supporting steelwork, and maintenance equipment however provided a unique engineering challenge.

The solution

SCX designed, manufactured, tested and installed the two access doors that complement the building’s distinctive curved outline and complete glass exterior, delivering a bespoke access solution that enables maintenance crews to service the building’s exterior.

These comprise of a glass façade mounted on a carrier frame that tilts backwards inside the tower by 12° upon a pivoting frame. The lightweight build and compact operating dimensions solved a significant packaging challenge posed by the proximity of the maintenance equipment.

Advanced, bespoke engineering

  • Each door is composed of 6 façade elements fixed to a self-supporting frame, providing rigidity against storm condition wind pressures, while multilayer weatherproof seals keep the elements out
  • Both doors are symmetrical in appearance and virtually symmetrical in construction, seamlessly blending in with the rest of the tower’s façade when closed
  • The carrier frame is raised within the building before being securely held in place with a locking pin


Safety measures built-in

  • Ease of operability is delivered through limited operator functions. Push buttons on the door’s control panels for movement functions illuminate upon completion
  • Two safety interlock push buttons are provided, ensuring that both operators maintain a safe position during operation
  • A Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) undertaken upon SCX’s premises ensured complete functionality of the access door, hydraulic power unit and main control panel, prior to further on-site testing


Smooth moves

  • Hydraulic actuators lean the external facade back before raising them inside of the building, reducing work forces and power consumption
  • The tilt cylinders are used to tilt the pivoting frame inwards, as well as closing the door
  • The raise/lower cylinders move the door and the entire carrier frame diagonally, creating an aperture in the building façade to allow equipment deployment


Let's talk more about bespoke hydraulic access solutions.

SCX Special Projects has earned a reputation for engineering, building and installing some of the most advanced handling systems.

With an unwavering focus on safety, our engineers still explore and deliver those innovative touches that have become the hallmark of an SCX solution.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199