pic_case studies

Darwin Centre, Natural History Museum

Accessible for every visitor


C F Møller Architects


HBG Construction




London, United Kingdom

Image copyrights

Steve Townsend

The landmark £78 million Darwin Centre is the most significant development at the Natural History Museum since it moved to South Kensington in 1881.  
With over four and a half million visitors passing through its doors every year, choosing the right door products was crucial if this popular tourist attraction was going to stand the test of time.

dormakaba’s contribution to the project
dormakaba TS 92, TS 93, and ITS 96 cam-action door closers were specified due to their low opening forces in accordance with BS8300 and their aesthetical design, which is in keeping with the overall style of the Darwin Centre. The TS 92 and TS 93 cam-action closers have been installed with the electro-magnetic hold-open feature and have been designed to remain open, closing automatically if the fire alarm is triggered. Offering the illusion of an invisible closer, the ITS 96 is a concealed cam-action closer hidden within the door leaf and frame, complementing the overall modern and sleek design of the new centre.
As part of the brief, a wall of glass was to surround the technology and displays within the Darwin Centre, only accessible by staff through glass doors. Due to the small diameter between the wall and the glass door, specialists in glass interior products, Harbrine, overcame this by using dormakaba’s EA pinch free patch fitting which allowed safe access with a clear view of the museum display.
dormakaba BTS 75V and BTS 80 floor springs also feature at the redevelopment. These floor springs feature a hydraulically controlled closing cycle, adjustable closing speed and mechanical backcheck.
Also installed is dormakaba’s ED 200 – an automatic swing door operator that offers an optimum solution for safety in high traffic areas. During an emergency, fire doors and exit doors must continue to open for people to exit, but close firmly to prevent the fire or smoke spreading. 

The ED 200 is particularly appropriate for internal fire door applications and has been successfully third party fire tested to EN 1634-1 on timber doors. Its unique package of safety, security and interfacing features means that when a fire alarm is actuated, or when the power is cut, the closer will revert from automatic to manual operation with a hydraulically dampened spring close action.

Featured products in this project