Parliament of Austria (AT)

The Galaxy Gate 1.1 from Wanzl ensures secure and fast access control for members of parliament, officials and employees

After almost five years of renovation and refurbishment, the Austrian Parliament building in Vienna reopened its doors for parliamentary business at the beginning of 2023. The parliament building, called the Hohe Haus, is one of the most important buildings on Vienna's Ringstrasse and was built between 1874 and 1883 according to the plans of architect Theophil Hansen. More than 130 years of continuous operation made a general refurbishment of the listed Parliament building necessary, including a comprehensive modernisation of the security technology. To improve the authentication of employees, the main entrance was equipped with the Galaxy Gate 1.1 access gate from access expert Wanzl.

© Parliamentary Administration/Michael Buchner

Fast access via facial recognition

Several hundred people enter the Austrian Parliament building via the main entrance every day. This includes both employees and visitors. The refurbishment plan included setting up a 'fast lane' for employees to allow them fast and secure access independently of the visitor entrance. Until then, access was controlled solely by security staff. "For this purpose, a Wanzl access gate was installed at the entrance as part of the overall renovation of the Parliament building. The Galaxy Gate 1.1 allows authenticated employees controlled and barrier-free access to the building while also reducing staff requirements," explains Daniel Elsner, responsible project manager at Wanzl Austria. Access to the building is fully automatic for employees using facial recognition. After a one-off training session with photo registration, employees can enter the building without losing any time thanks to facial recognition via the Galaxy Gate 1.1. Alternatively, the system can be opened by security personnel using RFID ID cards or a manual control panel.

© Parliamentary Administration/Michael Buchner

Accessibility and highest security standards

The Galaxy Gate 1.1 has a passage width of 90 cm which also makes it wheelchair-accessible. Accessibility was a particularly important guiding principle in the refurbishment of the Parliament building. The wide passage of the Wanzl access gate meets these requirements. In terms of security, the access gate impresses with its 1,800 mm high toughened safety glass swivel arms which, in combination with a ceiling sensor, prevent tampering attempts such as unauthorised climbing over, holding open, crawling under or pushing open the gate. Each of these violations triggers an alert. In the event of an emergency, the opening or closing movement is immediately interrupted in order to protect people and property and ensure greater safety. "The Austrian Parliament is an important state body, which is why particularly strict security standards apply in the building. The high security requirements were taken into account in every step of the construction and assembly of the Galaxy Gate 1.1 – a challenging task that our cross-border team of experts from Wanzl Austria and Germany was able to solve," explains Daniel Elsner and continues: "For example, the access gate was integrated into the Parliament building's security network by means of direct wiring of all installed components. “The access system is also connected to the fire alarm system. In the event of an alarm, it is de-energised. This means that the swivel arms remain open as escape routes."

© Parliamentary Administration/Michael Buchner

Heritage protection and timeless design

In addition to the extensive modernisation, special attention was paid to preserving the architectural substance of the Parliament building during the conservation repairs. Due to the nature of the floor, Wanzl’s access gate was therefore attached to the floor on specially manufactured mounting plates. With its timeless and stylish stainless steel housing and toughened safety glass barrier elements, the Galaxy Gate 1.1 blends discreetly into the entrance area. The entry systems also provide easily recognisable visualisation of the access authorisation with LED illuminated glass elements. The fully automatic and easy-to-operate Galaxy Gate 1.1 from Wanzl takes both the security and design aspects of access to the Parliament building to a new level.

© Parliamentary Administration/Johannes Zinner

Completion of a once-in-a-century project

"Design, functionality, competent handling and service - these were the criteria according to which Wanzl was selected. Our ready-to-go team on site in Vienna and the high quality of Wanzl's Access products also played a part in the award of the contract," says Daniel Elsner about the project assignment. "We at Wanzl are very pleased that we were able to participate in this extremely complex and unique project. This once-in-a-century project, the refurbishment of the Austrian Parliament building, took several years, which Wanzl was able to support and bring to a successful completion in close coordination with its project partner and system integrator PRONOVUM until the reopening at the beginning of 2023."