Fire protection in a historically preserved building: retrofitting window technology, for greater safety at the Gare de Montreux

On the shores of Lake Geneva lies the Swiss resort town of Montreux, where the railway station, listed as a historically preserved building, has been extensively renovated and modernised in recent years. GEZE is supporting the project by retrofitting state-of-the-art smoke and heat extraction systems as well as window technology, making a significant contribution to the safety of the building and its travellers. Applicable laws and regulations were implemented during the renovation, and custom solutions were found to do justice to the historical character of the building.

Fire protection and safety for the Montreux railway station

The Gare de Montreux impresses with its historically preserved architecture.

Numerous windows provide plenty of daylight in the station building. Particularly large windows were fitted with customised GEZE window technology. © Lorenz Frey / GEZE GmbH

The station was opened in 1861. It is a true rarity from an architectural point of view, particularly due to its hillside location: passengers reach the track beside the building from the reception hall via the first floor, while the other tracks can be reached via a subway on the first floor.

Extensive renovation and modernisation work began in 2017. In order to comply with the latest safety and preventive fire protection regulations, the architecture firm Tempesta Tramparulo Architectes from Lausanne relied on GEZE products, which can be easily installed and retrofitted.

In particular, the firm needed to fulfil the high requirements for fire protection and the smoke and heat extraction system (RWA), to ensure the safety of passengers when opening and closing the windows, while at the same time taking into account the historical preservation of the building and associated structural requirements. The project managers opted for proven GEZE systems that work together intelligently. To avoid interrupting the overall design of the building, the products also needed to be produced in special colours specified by the customer.

Automated windows for natural ventilation and heat extraction systems

The high-performance Powerchain chain drive is in use at Montreux station.

The Powerchain from GEZE opens heavy and large windows particularly quickly in the event of a fire. © Lorenz Frey / GEZE GmbH

The historic Gare de Montreux also impresses with its generous windows, which allow plenty of light into the station building. The Powerchain was installed 42 times on particularly large windows. The powerful window drive ensures that the windows open in the event of a fire. It is particularly impressive due to the speed with which it moves even large and heavy windows with a wide opening width. 

The Powerchain is also a practical choice: it can be used for natural ventilation , and the drive stroke and opening speed for ventilation and in the case of fire offer custom can be individually and continuously adjusted.

The advantages of the Powerchain at a glance

  • Tested to EN 12101-2 as a NSHEV (natural smoke and heat exhaust ventilator)
  • IQ windowdrive - intelligent drive control
  • Synchronisation of up to four drives without an external control unit
  • Smart fix installation system
  • Opens even very heavy windows quickly in case of fire
  • Special versions (stroke, cable length, colour) available
  • For inward and outward opening windows

Window security of the highest protection class 4

The Flatscan safety sensor monitors sensitive hazardous areas.

The Flatscan safety sensor monitors sensitive hazardous areas and ensures that the movement of the window is stopped or reversed as soon as there is a foreign object in the defined zone. © Lorenz Frey / GEZE GmbH

Not only the function of the windows, but their positioning as well were particular challenges in the Gare de Montreux. As the automated windows are at a height that passengers can reach, their safety must be guaranteed - these power-operated windows must not be operated in this way without additional protection.
As a building that is open to the public, the windows had to be fitted with window safety systems of the highest protection class (protection class 4) according to the risk assessment, in order to ensure that improper use or carelessness would not lead to injuries.


The solution: Closing edge protection and safety sensors

For this reason, all automated windows have been equipped with a safety module to protect hazardous areas on power-operated windows. The IQ box Safety secures the main and secondary closing edges. Flatscans as safety sensors detect foreign objects and ensure that the closing process is stopped or the movement is reversed. This can prevent fingers from being trapped, for example.  

The advantages of the IQ box Safety at a glance

  • TÜV-tested in accordance with DIN EN 13849-1
  • Fulfils the highest protection class requirements according to the risk assessment for power-operated windows
  • Commissioning is quick and easy
  • Simple wiring thanks to top hat rail housing with plug-in terminals
  • Four sensor connections for natural ventilation & smoke and heat extraction

Fast smoke and heat extraction thanks to NSHEVs

The K 600 joint blends harmoniously into the architecture in the special colour.

The K 600 F retractable arm drive increases safety in the station as a NSHEV and blends harmoniously into the window architecture in the custom colour sepia brown. © Lorenz Frey / GEZE GmbH

In addition to the Powerchain-Flatscan-IQ box Safety system solution, nine RWA K 600 F opening drives and six K 600 F+ Synchro model drives were also installed in the Gare de Montreux. As a natural smoke and heat extraction system (NSHEV), these retractable arm drives ensure that the windows open 90° in less than 60 seconds in the case of fire and guarantee rapid smoke and heat extraction. This keeps escape and rescue routes smoke-free. Here, too, the customer's request for a special design in the colour RAL 8014 sepia brown (dark bronze) was met.

The advantages of the RWA K 600F at a glance

  • As an NSHEV (natural smoke and heat exhaust ventilator device) in accordance with EN 12101-2
  • 90° window opening in under a minute
  • Powerful drive with high torque
  • Connector cable easily replaceable
  • Integrated synchronised module for up to two drives

Easy retrofitting of window technology - even in historically preserved buildings

Retrofitting smart window technology, which can also be integrated into the building management system if desired, is often not very costly and is worthwhile in several respects. It can help to improve safety - as it does here at the Montreux railway station - and can also have a positive impact on other relevant factors such as energy efficiency, sustainability and air quality in a building. It can often be used in historical preservation buildings, without compromising on building renovations. 

Further information on the topic of window safety