We use doors every day, but we almost never think about them. How many doors do you open without considering the centuries of technological development that resulted in the modern hinge, the ergonomic care put into designing a handle or the delicate finesse with which the door was hung? There’s a lot going on behind this elemental building component, and there’s a lot that architects need to consider.
Every kind of door has different challenges and opportunities. Often afterthoughts to larger ideas about massing, materials and plan layouts, doors rarely get the chance to sing as design objects, but when designers harness their power, there’s enough in these humble instruments to produce symphonies.
As is the case with a lot of building products, the simplest ones are often the most complicated. A frameless and hingeless door might not look too complex, but underneath that clean exterior is a menagerie of mechanisms and channels, all carefully orchestrated to make themselves completely invisible.