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

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