I spend a lot of time with architects, and sometimes I’m put in the awkward position of having to talk them out of trying to do something with doors that hasn’t been successfully done before. Many times this involves glass doors, which are becoming more common, yet still have very few options for hardware. It’s tough to make a glass door do anything innovative, when all of the locking hardware is paired with a fixed pull handle.
Today I saw a couple of glass door applications at Regis College. The application on the entrance doors happens to be something I was just talking about with an architect earlier this week. The architect was trying to decide which pull handle to use – vertical, horizontal, or L-shaped. My advice was that when you use anything other than a vertical pull, people get confused about whether to push or pull. Most people will automatically push on a horizontal bar, even though it’s on the outside of an outswinging door.
These photos support that theory. They’re also evidence of something I’ve been telling architects for years…the facilities department or building occupants will do what they have to do to “fix” what the architect designs, if it doesn’t make sense from a functional standpoint. No kick plates? No problem! We’ve got some kick plates in the storeroom we can install! Confusing glass doors?! Just add some signage! The duct-tape signage isn’t visible enough? We’ll just print out some bigger ones!
The second application is actually pretty cool. It’s a curved bank of glass doors hung on center pivots that are centered in the door width. The doors can be pivoted 90 degrees to allow free passage into the space. They swing freely and are very easy to move. The only problem is that there’s nothing to hold them in the open position. In fact, they can swing 360 degrees so the etched logos are backward from the outside. Because they swing so freely, I’m sure that when they’re open they’re constantly in varying positions – probably not what the architect had in mind. What I typically do for this application is to specify floor strikes for the locking hardware to engage in the open position as well as the closed/locked position.
BTW…if you’re searching for Blumcraft glass door hardware, the product line is now owned by CR Laurence (here’s the press release).