The Bank of America Tower not only houses the company's headquarters but also its flagship branch. The expansive super-bank showcases prototype computer tellers, concept technology, and impressive interior design, making it a powerful selling tool. Employees tour potential corporate clients and partners through the branch, which is attached to the office lobby by a 30.5" tall set of stairs. For the convenience of these VIPs the branch office is accessible by means of a custom vertical platform wheelchair lift designed and built by Handi-Lift.
The challenge was to provide a reliable, code compliant, quiet and easy-to-use lift that looked like it belonged in this space — in other words, to provide Accessibility with Dignity.
The architects wanted as much bare-edged glass as possible to minimize the impact of the lift on the space. Code requires a solid runway, flush and smooth on the inside, to 42” above the upper landing. Therefore the lower glass door and the glass side of the enclosure separating the lift from the stair all rise to the height of the 42” upper landing gate.
Our main design objectives were to bury the mechanism in the adjacent wall and maintain as much glass as possible in the runway. In order to increase the amount of glass in the enclosure with minimal hardware we incorporated patch hardware at the top and angled the frame of the enclosure to follow the slope of the stairs, giving the impression of a stringer. We aligned the height of this stringer element with the top of the shoes of both glass entrances to unify the design.
To achieve proper running clearance, provide for interlocks on entrances, and coordinate with all trades from electricians to carpenters to stone masons we provided detailed coordinated shop drawings showing the dimensions of the other trades work impacting our lift installation.
Time constraints were another challenge. Since the enclosure work couldn’t be released into production until the floor and wall tradesmen were finished (or at least until construction was far enough along to field verify elevations) we had very little installation time, finishing the installation a few days before the grand opening.
The end result was a wheelchair lift that all everyone involved can be proud of. Bank of America's critical clients and partners who uses the lift can feel that the company cared about providing Accessibility with Dignity, and didn't compromise their aesthetic to do so.