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Jan 28 2014

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – Bentonville, Arkansas

Category: Beautiful Doors,General Info,VideosLori @ 5:58 pm Comments (4)

Almost exactly 7 years ago I began working on one of my most beautiful and challenging projects – the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  I remember the start date because I had just returned from leave after having my youngest daughter.  The architect contacted me many months prior and asked me to act as the hardware consultant on the project, and to be honest, I didn’t want to do it.  I already had several “high-maintenance” projects on my desk, and with most of those fancy, prestigious projects, you also get frustrations and headaches.  You get architects with door-related ideas that have never been attempted…gigantic doors, openings that are invisible (codes be damned), doors made out of unusual materials, sliders that slide with the touch of a finger and no sound, and security applications that require variances from the local AHJ.  It was during one of those projects that I first stated, “Sorry, I left my magic wand in the car.”  On another I earned the nickname “the anti-fairy godmother” because I told an architect that the doors in his interior elevation would not look the way he had drawn them because of code-drive hardware requirements.

Crystal BridgesWhen the architect called to ask for my help with Crystal Bridges, I tried to let him down easily.  I offered up our spec team in the project location, Arkansas.  I told him they would write the spec at no charge (I charged a fee).  I said that if they needed to have a meeting in the Boston office, I would attend.  I would even review the spec for him.  In our final conversation of 2006, I told him that I would be away on maternity leave – so sorry – problem solved (for me).

A few months later I returned from leave, and he was waiting.  At that point I felt like if I could handle 3 kids I could handle anything, so I took the job.  And Crystal Bridges is magnificent.  Amazing.  One of my favorite projects.  The architects I’ve worked with would probably find it strange that I think of these buildings as *mine*; I was *only* the hardware consultant.  But many of the hardware specifiers and suppliers that I know refer to their projects with similar pride.  When I drive through downtown Boston it’s not unusual for one of the kids to point out one of *my* buildings.  Last week, one of them was flipping through the channels and I caught a brief glimpse of this video.  Check out my building.  🙂

What’s your favorite project?

Photo: John Horner

4 Responses to “Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art – Bentonville, Arkansas”

  1. cda says:

    Hob Nobbing with the Waltons, huh


    I forgot what I saw about that awhile back, maybe it was on tv?

  2. Rich says:

    A lovely building Lori.
    I can only imagine the challenges you faced on that job!
    I spent 15 years doing installations in new construction, primarily mortise locks and Multi-point locks on high-end residential properties
    in the Vancouver BC area before going to work for a local School District (Pension and benefits!)
    When my kids were still at home it drove them crazy whenever we were driving around town and I was constantly pointing out houses
    I had worked on and describing the hardware and doors. My constant critiquing of door hardware installations drove them crazy as well.
    Now that a big part of my work day involves code issues my long suffering wife has to put up with my pointing out violations to
    shopkeepers and building managers when we are out and about.
    I do have to say that I was quite proud to have sicced the fire prevention department on our local movie theatre
    after noticing that they had installed blocking devices on the fire exit panic bars. They had even painted them to blend in with the décor.
    I did get a nice follow-up from the inspector letting me know they had been given a talking-to after his visit to the theatre.

    • Lori says:

      Thanks! I like it too! 🙂 Yes – it was very challenging.

      I know exactly what you mean about your wife and family…it happens in our household too! The kids are even starting to notice hardware problems. They’ve been hearing about code violations from me for their entire lives. There have been a few times that they were not happy when I got the AHJ involved…they thought we would never be able to go back to that facility again. I take pride in that. Haha.

      Great job on the movie theater!

      – Lori

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