How can architects design entrance spaces that are both secure and visually appealing?

You only get one chance at a first impression, and the entrance area of your location is your public face. It’s also the most important part of your facility from a security perspective, which creates a challenge: how best to balance design and security when planning your lobby area.

Whether you are designing a new building that will need a security system, refurbishing a lobby area, or replacing an old security system with a new one that will need to complement your space visually, we understand the aesthetics of your design must never be compromised to achieve the security you need.

Choose the right turnstile for your specific needs

In high-security locations, there may be a need to psychologically deter and physically prevent events such as unauthorised access. That would point towards larger turnstiles such as the Fastlane Glassgate 400 or Glassgate 400 Plus, combined with a taller barrier choice. In other cases, such a solution might clash with design imperatives, so a more understated unit such as the Glassgate 150 might be ideal.

If there is a need for an open space free from imposing security systems, you may decide to avoid a physical barrier altogether. Fastlane offers a number of optical-only entrance control units. Authorised users can present credentials and pass through very smoothly, with your staff alerted to any unauthorised access.

Make sure you understand who will be passing through your security system

In principle, Fastlane turnstiles can process up to 60 people per minute, but of course, everyone must pause while a user searches for their credential.

We advise assuming 20 people per minute as the basis for deciding how many lanes you will need. You may also decide you need at least one wider lane for wheelchair users or deliveries. Don’t forget to consider wider sports wheelchairs and legal issues such as accessibility requirements covered by the UK’s Equality Act 2010, or the Disabilities Act in the US.

Make sure you know what your security system will need to integrate with

We would encourage those installing security to think of integrations as an opportunity for synergy; what might you get from integration?

Would it be useful to integrate with lifts, so that an elevator suitable for the user’s destination floor is already on the way the moment they present their credential? Perhaps building managers could take interior security data, and use it to assess which meeting rooms, common areas and so forth are overused, or underused.

As a minimum, our entrance control may need to integrate with access control. Additionally, more and more buildings use BMS (computer-based Building Management Systems). Fastlane turnstiles are designed as open systems, using industry-standard protocols to connect to any partner solutions, but each integration should be considered and planned in advance.

FM is a valuable source of information

Those responsible for facilities management have experience with the needs generated by staff, guests, workmen, equipment and so on. We would certainly suggest including them, as you address the points already outlined. For a new building, you might like to consider speaking to those who manage somewhere similar.

Make sure you are aware of every useful resource

To help clients visualise a security solution in place, we offer a free 3D rendering service. We visit your site free of charge, take photos of the location and incorporate into them 3D models of the product you are interested in, adjusted to the precise customisations you have in mind, so you can see ahead of time whether the systems will complete your design vision. This could assist owners, or those seeking design scheme approval.

Whatever your specific needs, we will happily survey your site to inform our support and recommendations. There are many resources on our website too, but we encourage you to think of them as useful for framing and informing your conversations with our team, not as an alternative to getting in touch.

As a start though, check out our Specifier Resources page, where you can find links to our Architect Lookbook, BIMobject models and more.

BIMobject models in particular can provide architects with a fast and powerful way to identify the solution that might work for their project, and then import it directly into their design.

We can also customise your turnstile with your choice of finish and material, including a variety of paints and lacquers, vinyl wrapping and other options. All of our units can be altered flexibly, so there is never any need to compromise on your design concept. For more on the many options available, click here.

Engage with entrance control partners early

The many possibilities discussed above may only be available if you leave enough time. Our bespoke options do have a longer lead time than the standard choices, for example. In general, the earlier you get in touch with your supplier, the easier they will find it to ensure you get the right unit for you, and that you understand how much time and space will be required for installation.

Consider value and total cost of ownership, not just price

Fastlane turnstiles are premium units with very long working lives. They offer advantages based on proprietary technology, such as low energy use and automatic detection of many security problems such as tailgating, “sidegating”, and unauthorised users forcing units, or trying to crawl under or clamber over units. The option that delivers the most value may not be the bargain basement choice.

In summary

  • Be clear on the security requirements: what level of security do you need and what are you protecting – people, assets or data?
  • Make sure you have a clear expectation of anticipated throughput
  • Think about what other systems entrance control must integrate with at your location, and what benefits further integrations might bring
  • Whoever is in charge of facilities management in the building (or similar buildings) is a great source of information
  • Use every tool your partners have available, including ones you might not know exist
  • Engage early to maximise your options and avoid hurdles
  • Consider value & total cost of ownership, not just price

We aim to answer many of the questions asked by our architect clients about how to secure corporate environments in our Architect Lookbook.  To download the lookbook click here.

For more information about our range of turnstiles and applications, or to schedule a private product demonstration at our showroom in Feltham, West London, please contact the team at +44 (0)20 8890 5550 or email