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Sesame Access featured on BBC 2 Architects Series: ‘Building Dream Homes’

Angelica Goodden Hidden Stair Lift

The Invisible stair lift in its three stages of operation. Stairs to platform, Platform to Lift, Lift to Stairs.

Sesame Access Systems Ltd is featured in a new BBC2 architects series called ‘Building Dream Homes’.

The series follows the journey of seven cutting edge UK Architect’s practices in delivering complex projects, many of which include ground breaking technology.

Programme nine features Sesame Access installing their bespoke access lift at a Category A Listed Georgian property in Edinburgh.

Sesame Access designs, builds and installs ‘invisible’ wheelchair access lifts into properties in UK and Europe, particularly Listed buildings. Their award winning, unique wheelchair lifts represents beautiful design and high quality British Engineering. Sesame prides itself on innovation and excellence and is pushing the boundaries what’s possible in disabled access solutions.

The Client, Oxford University lecturer Angelica Goodden, required a bespoke Sesame Access lift in the front external staircase, to enable her to transport her heavy electric bicycle into and out of her ground floor Georgian property. The Client has Multiple Sclerosis and also wanted to future proof her home.

To meet the Client’s brief, Sesame designed a bespoke access lift which matched the existing dimensions of the staircase, but then retracted vertically to form a platform lift. This was designed specifically to ensure there was sufficient room to enable the Client and her bike to travel safety on the lift.

The property, in leafy Gayfield Square on the edge of Edinburgh’s famous ‘New Town’, was built in 1807 by Hugh Cairncross. Cairncross was a pupil of Robert Adam (considered by many to be the greatest architect of the late 1700s) and was Clerk of Works to Adam on several prestigious building projects including Culzean Castle and Old College, Edinburgh University.

The property and railings are Category A Listed, and the Square is an important historical site showcasing Cairncross’s work. Therefore the alterations for the access lift needed to protect the architectural significance of the property, be of exceptional quality and required approval of Edinburgh Council’s Listed Building department.

To successfully deliver the project, Sesame Access worked closely with the Client, David Blaikie Architects, Dalhousie Construction and Edinburgh Council. The project was managed by the Architects.

The parties worked closely together to ensure the building works were of exceptional quality and the finish was beautiful. The existing staircase had to be carefully removed, supporting structures erected and the Sesame lift was designed, built and installed. Then the staircase and surrounding areas completed. Master craftsmen were used to re-instate the historic railings and to undertake the stonemasonry work. The Architects trusted Dalhousie’s craftsmanship and Blacksmith work, to ensure the historic architecture of the building was protected. Sesame’s high quality engineering is hidden within the building’s entrance steps. The steps were clad in natural sandstone to ensure the access lift is completely invisible until required.

Gayfield Moving Stairs

The completion of the works coincided with the Client’s publication of her book ‘Rousseau’s Hand’ which explores Rousseau’s involvement in and promotion of craft in the context of technological developments in the 1700s.

Angelica Goodden says “Rousseau was an 18th Century philosopher and the son and grandson of craftsmen. He won massive fame as a writer, but came to think that making things mattered far more than making books. He wanted to champion the practicality and usefulness of craft in the face of depersonalising technological advance, and was exercised throughout his life by the problematic mechanisation and materialism of modern life.

I have taught Rousseau throughout my academic career at Oxford, and I wanted to celebrate the combination of modern craft and engineering within a protected Grade A architectural environment. Sesame's design enabled me to do just that.'

Award winning architect David Blaike said “Heritage Buildings sometimes need to be changed to keep them alive. It is our view that anything we do to a Listed building requires to match its quality in design, materials and workmanship but in a 21st century manner. This pays respect to the continuum of architecture’.

Steven Lyons, Managing Director of Sesame Access said “We are really proud to have worked with the partners to deliver this high quality and historical renovation. The professionalism of all parties was exceptional and it was particularly enjoyable working with Edinburgh Council’s Listed Building department to ensure we delivered jointly on their specifications. I believe the project was a great example of high quality architecture, building craftsmanship and cutting edge engineering, to protect the architectural significance and history of the building, whilst incorporating 21st century technology for today’s modern world. The Client has future proofed her home for the next 25 years. We hope to do many more projects of this type in the future”.

Sesame Access’s lift installation in Edinburgh is featured on episode nine of Building Dream Homes, broadcast on Thursday 12th June 2014, 6.30pm BBC2. It can also be watched on BBC IPlayer until end June 14. Production Company was ‘Raise The Roof’ productions. Sesame Access is a surrey based lift company.

David Blaikie Architects

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b0467j0x

June 2014

Enquiries to Alison Lyons, Director of Commercial Development, Sesame Access Systems Ltd [email protected] 01784 440088

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