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Gainsborough House

Cafe sliding doors in Listed Building

The development and renovation of Gainsborough House was an important local project for Sudbury and was funded via the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  

The gallery and museum is a Grade I Listed building in the centre of Sudbury which houses an art gallery, events space and community café with sliding glass doors.  

A key part of the renovation of the listed building was improving accessibility to the building for the whole of the community. Externally, the building was rearranged with multiple extensions design in a way to be sympathetic to the local architecture and the history of the building. As a result, the building looked to boost its venue hire and make the space more attractive for events. 


A key part of the renovation was a new orangery style café set within the grounds of the Grade I Listed building. The sliding doors to the café were intrinsic to the design due to the location of the café overlooking the 18th century garden.  

A set of minimal windows sliding doors were specified for this important area of the listed building renovation. The cafe sliding doors run the full length of the room, providing a flush threshold access for all visitors to the gardens.  

This enhancement of visitor experience was an important essential part of the renovation project. The design and layout of the café was important to ensure the flow of movement for all visitors through the sliding glass doors.  

Each sliding panel of the cafe sliding doors weighed 211kg, measuring 2.3m wide and 2.3m tall. The overall sliding door opening was 9.5m wide.  

The sightlines of the slim sliding glass door to the café was designed to line up with the interior steel supports, required to support the wide span of the café.  

The sliding door to the café was a four-pane minimal windows configuration set on a two-track frame. The four-pane sliding door was a bi-parting opening with a coplanar meeting style (meeting on the same track). This type of bi-parting configuration results in a 95mm central meeting style where the sliding glass doors meet.  

Using polyester powder coating, the sliding doors to the café were finished in RAL 7022 which is also known as Umbra Grey.  

Internally, a thrust lever handle locking system was used (type 1 lock) which allows the sliding glass doors to be locked and unlocked internally via a simple handle. The locking handle was set at 1.1m from the FFL for enhanced access.  

For more information about using minimal windows® as sliding doors for a café  get in touch with the teamtoday.