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Aug 16 2016

WWYD? More Big Doors

Category: Beautiful Doors,WWYD?Lori @ 12:31 am Comments (10)

Large WindowMichael Pederson of Pamex sent me a link to this story about the “world’s largest pivoting window.”  They look a lot like doors to me, but either way – they’re amazing!  I love how they allow the garden space to become part of the living space of this home.  Click here to see more photos.

I’ve written hardware specifications for a lot of projects with unusual applications, and quite a few oversized doors.  By “oversized” I mean more than 4 feet wide and/or 10 feet high.  To be honest, I don’t like big doors (or doors with brick or stone attached to them, or invisible doors).  I mean, they look really cool, but how well do they function over time?

For a home, I wouldn’t worry as much about trying something out of the ordinary.  The doors will not get a lot of use or abuse, at least not in comparison to an institutional or commercial opening.  There aren’t the same code requirements to worry about in a single family home either.

Some architects I’ve worked with were not happy with my reluctance to specify hardware for the oversized doors they designed.  On one of my museum projects the drawings showed a 21-foot-high swinging door covering the service elevator.  When I said this wasn’t a good idea, the architect told me that he had seen a similar door at another museum.  I went to that museum and asked to see the door.  It was actually quite a bit shorter, but it wasn’t holding up well; a wheel had been added to support the lock edge of the door.  I spoke to the facility manager and he told me how much trouble he had with that door.  He said that he had people out on disability because of the door, and that he would change it if he had money in the budget.  Luckily, the 21-foot door was eventually value-engineered out of my project.

Although big doors can make a statement and add the wow-factor, we need to keep in mind the function of the doors for years to come, and any relevant code requirements.

WWYD if asked to specify/supply oversized doors for a commercial or institutional project?  How would you hang doors like this?  What are the other concerns?

Photo: de zeen magazine

10 Responses to “WWYD? More Big Doors”

  1. BobCaron says:

    Any idea if the diagonal cables were designed into the doors from the start or added after problems started?

    • Lori says:

      I have no idea…hopefully the cables were part of the engineering rather than an afterthought!

      – Lori

      • Bob Caron says:

        It’s funny that humankind has progressed to the point where we have screens to keep the biting insects out of our homes and then some bright architect figures out a way to make a primitive lifestyle acceptable. They probably end up with stray birds in the house too.

        • Lori says:

          In Mexico, we live with the doors and windows to the outside wide open, and yes – we do get stray birds inside on occasion. When the hummingbirds get in and keep flying up against the skylight, it’s a mad dash to guide them out before they knock themselves out.

          – Lori

          • Bob Caron says:

            Living in the woods of New Hampshire, I can’t imagine not having screens on the windows. When I first moved there, it was the height of mosquito season and having the doors open during the moving of furniture and stuff, there were so many mosquitoes in the house that I couldn’t sleep at night. I went out and bought netting and my sister-in-law sewed it into a tent to put over my bed. It was so cool, I kept it there for many years until I moved my bedroom from upstairs to downstairs.

  2. Fred Rudiger says:

    I did a few when I was with SOM NYC and San Francisco offices. The doors has a aluminum honeycomb core with bronze sheet face with a embossed design. They were hung on special designed floor closers for the project. I think I had some type of locking bolt that went into the floor.


    Got to love the architectural gods who believe that their design is best, and it really takes another act to convince then that bigger is not always better.

  4. H. M. KANG says:

    I wonder which model of the pivot hinge used for it.

  5. Richard Wright says:

    glad someone is finally thinking about the maintenance issue down the road, we see so many instances of this in our hospital, no one takes in account the issues and cost down the road, as long as it has the WOW factor.

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