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Apr 29 2014

Art Institute Fire Doors

Category: FDAI,Fire Doors,Hinges & PivotsLori @ 2:13 pm Comments (9)

It amazes me every time I’m reminded of how small the world is (remember this?).  Usually these encounters take the shape of connecting with someone I went to hardware school with in Savannah back in the late 80’s, or having students in my code class that I worked with 20 years ago.  But I feel the same sense of “Wow! What a small world!” when two people send me a photo of the same door.  😀

Eric Maguire sent me some photos last week of 3-hour fire doors he saw at an art museum in Chicago.  I immediately recognized them as doors that I wrote about back in 2009, when an architect sent me a photo so I could replicate the doors and hardware for Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which I was specifying at the time (here’s that photo!).

In my initial post about the doors, my point was that swing-clear hinges had been used, when pocket pivots would have been a better application.  Although swing-clear hinges swing the door out of the opening like pocket pivots do, they also leave a +/- 2-inch gap between the frame face and the door edge, where pocket pivots leave almost no gap at all (here’s a post about pocket pivots, and the coordination of pocket depth).

This time, I would like to use these photos to point out (along with Eric), that wood wedges have been added to these fire door assemblies.  These are 3-hour fire doors which divide the modern wing of the museum from the older wings.  This is an award-winning museum which houses more than 300,000 works of art in its priceless collection.  The chance of a fire may seem unlikely, but if a fire occurs, the wedged-open fire doors will not protect the rest of the museum.  Smoke and flames will be allowed to spread freely through the open doors.  I can’t help but wonder what their insurance company would say, or why all insurance companies are not requiring annual fire door inspections.

If you know of an insurance company that DOES require annual inspections of fire door assemblies, I’d love to hear about it!

ARTIC Corridor


ARTIC Hinge  ARTIC Label


9 Responses to “Art Institute Fire Doors”

  1. Cda says:

    At least there are exit signs above them

  2. Lee Francisco says:

    Usually these types of doors have wall magnets holding them open. What happened to them?

    • Lori says:

      I’m sure the magnetic holders are there, but for whatever reason they’re not holding. I emailed the museum to alert them to the problem.

  3. Hal says:

    It’s much easier to spot the fire door labels with the swing clear hinges. 🙂

  4. Robert says:

    there is a question about the frame as the doors are tagged but none on the frames? as I can see. The swing clear hinges work great but the pictures are not clear to be sure if the hinges are BB. I wonder about the fire station as it inset and there is a 2D sign over it but it is not the right sign for a fire extinguisher station? the hold open for the door is standard for some buildings but not the fire code. 🙂

    • Lori says:

      You’re right – I don’t see a frame label either. I can’t tell if the hinges are ball bearing, but I’m guessing they are. Fire extinguisher? There was a fire extinguisher? 🙂

  5. Robert says:

    Yes there is an extinguisher but the wrong sign but the right type over the top as required by code. Sorry as I also do fire tests as well and this is always a problem but this one is funny as it has the washroom sign over top or is the sign for something else? 🙂
    Have a great weekend

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