AMC Vallco Fashion Mall Fire Door Entrance Solution
The challenge was a mighty one while the solution was relatively simple.
Owners of the property at the AMC Vallco Fashion Mall located in the heart of Cupertino, California, wanted to put a theater complex atop the two-story mall, creating a third story attraction that would revitalize the enterprise by bringing new and more customers through the existing mall and to the movies.
It would require that, in case of a fire or similar emergency, the mall and the theater levels — the old and the new — would be physically separated but still linked by double escalators.
Movie customers would be guided to use fire stairwells to exit rather than converge back down into the mall on the escalators in a crisis. Mall customers would conversely be protected from a fire on the upper floor. No one would be trapped.
Won-Door Corporation had the solution, a 3-hour, fire-rated steel accordion door — the Fireguard 180 — an elegant, folding, bi-parted door that ultimately stretched 93 feet 3 inches along three curves and stood 28 feet tall.
The crème-colored, uniquely fashioned door added beauty as well as protection to the movie entrance and met the strict California building code that existed in 2006.
At first, the owner of Landmark Properties was less than enthused about paying nearly $400,000 (actual cost: $390,200) for the door.
"At first, we were trying to figure out how to solve the problem without Won-Door because it was such a large unit and such a large cost," said Mike Rohde, general manager of Landmark Properties. "Once we realized it really was the only solution, we were happy to go with it. We couldn't not do it."
Rohde said the door and its smooth operation has been a great program and has performed perfectly. (Sometimes it performs so well, it closes when there's only a hint of trouble such as a false alarm," he said.)
Rohde appreciates the door and the fact that Won-Door technicians have voluntarily come out to make routine adjustments.
"Our only concern was if we couldn't get Won-Door to build as big a door as the space demanded, " said Ronald Bernhardt, the project manager with Perkowitz+Ruth Architects. "Won-Door really came up with the door we needed. We're very pleased with the result."
Bernhardt said at the time Won-Door was being asked to make the largest door they had ever tried to create.
"It really stretched their capability and taxed Won-Door's engineering ability," Bernhardt said. "Fire and life safety, of course, was our biggest concern but without Won-Door, we wouldn't have been able to do as nice a project, as open and visible."
Because the Won-Door engineers produced a large enough door to close off the 93-foot span, the design for the theater complex retained a dramatic and inviting open feel.
The door went through eight different changes before the final design was approved for construction. The door was ordered in August 2006 and installed in late 2007.
"Everything we do is customized to the job. We have no doors sitting around," said Mike Carter, district manager for Won-Door Corporation. "We designed this door with the architect and the engineers involved every step of the way."