Pier 15 is more than 80 years old – a landmarked structure that has been sustainably and historically rehabilitated. It serves as the museum’s new venue, providing three times more space than the original Palace of Fine Arts location, and bringing new life to the Embarcadero. The Exploratorium now comprises 330,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space with hundreds of interactive exhibits.
The Ellison balanced doors are located at the lobby and museum entrances of the building. Three pairs of Ellison doors are situated at the lobby entrance, part of a two-story restored façade clad in stucco. The museum entrance contains four pairs of Ellison doors, coordinating with the paneled façade.
“This project needed customized balanced doors for the main entrances and Ellison Bronze was able to create entry doors that met the project’s requirements,”
The custom balanced doors at the Exploratorium feature stile and rail type construction of extruded aluminum material with an “Enduring Bronze” painted finish. Several door units include Ellison PowerNow power operation functionality, providing optimal access for all users.
“The Ellison doors are the most appropriate choice for the Exploratorium given our functional and design needs,” says Rick Feldman, AIA, LEED BD+C, project manager and associate principal at EHDD. “With the museum located directly on the waterfront, we needed a door system that could stand up to heavy traffic in a corrosive marine environment. The custom doors set the tone for the museum and fit the character of the historic building.”
Unlike conventional entry doors, an Ellison aluminum door is constructed from heavy wall extrusions that are made solely for Ellison and specifically designed to work in conjunction with their balanced hardware system. The door horizontal top and bottom rails are attached to the vertical stiles using both welded and bolted connections, yielding an extremely durable and long lasting entrance. Due to their quality craftsmanship, Ellison doors are known for their durability and a long lifespan – suitable for the museum’s 550,000 annual visitors and waterfront location.
While Ellison balanced doors consist of sturdy components, they can still be opened with ease. A balanced door features an inset pivot point at two-thirds the width of the door, creating a balance that distributes the weight so the door requires little force to open. The inset balancing point allows for an easier open force, even against external wind and internal building pressure.
Ellison provides detailed record keeping and full warranties – important when considering the extensive lifespan of an Ellison door. Every door made is imprinted with an individual project number (similar to that of a car’s VIN number) to facilitate easy tracking and maintenance. Furthermore, all Ellison balanced hardware components are machined in-house, which means that replacement components are always readily available. This commitment is invaluable to the Exploratorium at Pier 15, a facility that expects a long lifespan, and future expansion to neighboring Pier 17.
The Exploratorium was awarded LEED® Platinum certification and is pursuing the designation of the largest net-zero energy museum in the United States. The museum’s design incorporates a bay water heating and cooling system, rooftop photovoltaic arrays, rainwater collection, and high-performance windows and glass.
The Exploratorium reopened at its new home in April 2013. The project team included architect EHDD, San Francisco, glazing contractor Architectural Glass & Aluminum, Livermore, CA and Ellison representative Apollo Architectural, Penngrove, CA.
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