Design Workshop: Thinking Differently About Doors

The huge doors of the excellent cathedrals in Europe were deliberately made as humbling structures. That is because door size and therapy in design are strategies to shift scale with very little effort. By contrast, residential building has historically employed essentially one size door: 3 ft wide and 7 feet tall, drawn in the rough proportions of its own inhabitants.

With average ceiling peaks in the 8 to 9-foot selection, these doors behave as apertures in wall airplanes — framed openings, touching neither the ceiling or adjoining walls. Although this size of door functions nicely, enabling us to bring in our groceries, keep cool and warm atmosphere inside or out, and have both openness and privacy — doorways could be so much more.

Dick Clark + Associates

Subtly shifting our thinking about doorways as just apertures or openings to thinking about them as wall elements that pivot or slide can create myriad layout possibilities. These possibilities can transform the proportions of spaces and much more seamlessly integrate the humble door into the design of a room.

Onyx fills a thick steel frame that spans the whole entryway here, challenging the notion of what a door could be. Pivoting hardware sets the door in the floor and ceiling, which suggests passing through a secret wall. An individual can imagine that when closed, the door acts as an elegant, luminous art item.

Andrew Snow Photography

The door here reaches touch the ceiling. It’s clearly bigger than it must be functionally, and thus is playing with a different set of principles.

Notice it matches exactly the ratio of the glazed opening. I particularly like the strong mass of the island contrasts the glazed opening, while the open walkway contributes to the solid door. These reversals and contrasts are complex and engaging experiences enhanced by the fearless door choice.

Andrew Snow Photography

Large sliding doors span floor to ceiling and move entirely clear of the opening to make a smooth connection between indoors and out. The color and frame size of the doors fit the window system above. It’s difficult to differentiate what’s wall, what’s door and what’s window, as each is treated as part of a compositional whole.

By raising the height of the door to match the ceiling height, the architect has hidden the sliding an eye on the door elegantly within the ground thickness above, effectively trapping the boundary between inside and out. Many types of spaces can benefit from thinking about the elements of buildings as part of a bigger system. Doors specifically tailored to room measurements are strong statements of intent in layout.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

By contrasting the frame of the door with the entrance hall it presides over, the architect has represented this as a significant threshold linking inside and out. The scale denotes “front entrance” and, even more important, sets up the experience of the space beyond. (The job is suitably called Sunset Overlook.)

The entrance door becomes a frame for those perspectives that unfold upon entrance. In a house full of layered axial perspectives and transitions, front door sets the stage with this particular adventure.

Andrew Snow Photography

Relatable size and substance tie these elements together. The designer has handled this passage door similar to the cabinetry as a fine furniture piece. Whether open or closed, this door feels like part of the overall composition of the shelving unit.

Integrating passage doors into walls of cabinetry establishes a frequent terminology between elements. This can be an advantage in areas where lots of disparate elements are tightly positioned.

Moroso Construction

This door becomes a different planar component in the room’s makeup. Notice how everything in this space supports this remedy: The cabinetry crosses wall, floating above the ground; the mirror fills the alcove; the plane of the floor is a contrasting material. Each component is treated as a plane which extends into an adjacent plane. These gestures, while easy, all work to fortify one another.

The floor-to-ceiling pocket doors effortlessly alter the essence of a room. When they’re open, space and light flow freely between chambers. When they’re closed, the large pane of etched glass offers privacy when staying luminous.

AT6 Architecture : Design Build

Straightforward cabinet doors conceal clutter and storage. However, because they’ve been extended from floor to ceiling and wall to wall, and have no trim, they shape clean planes that fit together with the aesthetic of the room. When closed the doors turned into a warm, wood accent wall. Small spaces, where each surface carries more weight, can benefit enormously from this therapy.

Michael Abraham Architecture

Here’s another example of a sliding door working as a wall. The architect created a conscious decision to hide the sliding path in the ceiling to permit the proportions of the room and the adjoining stone wall to dictate the panel size, rather than the opening its meant to hide.

So the wall panel has come to be another tonal component in the architectural substance palette, together with the wood floor and stone wall. It’s left here in wood, but a sliding door like this could be almost any substance — cast glass, perforated metal, etched stone — and be either a sliding art item and a door.

Architecture Workshop PC

A transformer loft illustrates the degree to which a space could be manipulated and altered by the use of doorways as sliding walls which separate room. The door trail, hardly visible in the ceiling, enables this large room-dividing door to make a personal sleeping area inside the larger living quantity.

Architecture Workshop PC

The living room side of the same panel is painted to match the adjoining white walls, whereas the bedroom side receives the warmer wood tone to match the bed alcove.

Charlie Barnett Associates

The arrangement here ordered the scale of the pivoting door. A door sized to the ratio of a individual would’ve meant more branches in the wall and also much more separation between inside and out in this layout, which is based rather on breaking down those barriers. Care has been taken to match the size of the stone threshold into the size and reach of the pivoting door, giving the open board a natural stage of repose.

Glen Irani Architects

The sliding entry door panel here matches the ratio of the outside wall openings, reinforcing the translucent, light-filled toilet. When closed it finishes an all-glass wall which divides the bath in the room, while windows separate it from the outside.

Robert Nebolon Architects

Commercial and industrial door systems are great devices for altering perception of scale. Inside this shower wall, small mullion divisions stack to make this space seem taller than it is. Bringing an exterior door and window system inside has produced an interesting people counterpoint to a very personal space. The door this is one part in a bigger ordering system, and also the system itself brings a refined industrial flair into the space.

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