Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A way with Doors

Every door has a story behind it. What is the purpose behind the mind-boggling variety available today? Let's open the door to the subject.


More than serving as a transition point, doors are objects of art — Pic. by Murali Architects captures a main door with antique silver-coating on art work.
THE OLD saying goes like this: "Doors and gates mark the threshold between the profane and the sacred, natural and the super natural, the living and the dead, and often such portals are guarded by the fabulous beasts and the monsters." Modern day doors are more becoming an art and a transition point between one point to another. The door can easily conceal the world behind it and just like the adventure of Alice in `Alice in Wonderland,' every door has a story hidden behind it. Contemporary doorways are more an architectural entrance, a transition area... and threshold to the next space
The factors that are the ideal decision makers in the design of a door and its sizes are:
Security: In olden days the doors and windows were narrow to prevent entry of wild animals and invaders. But in a civilised society, the doors could be designed according to ones usage by just providing enough security from dacoits and thieves.
Usage: According to the room and the type of traffic, the door can be widened or made of more durable material. For example, the main door can be of country wood or teak wood panels. Also, when the doors are meant to be used by physically challenged people, it has to be at least 3'6" wide for wheel chair movement.
Aesthetics: The general ambience around the exterior of the door most often decides the type of door and its architectural style. For an old classical style fa├žade, a door of the same era would be aptly suitable.
There is a spurt in the type of doors available also, with the development of technology and materials. Some of the options available are — swinging, sliding, side hinged, revolving, folding, louvre doors, flush doors, French doors, Dutch doors and the Kerala speciality ones. The main door creates the first impression and would be a lasting one. A well-planned door can have a dramatic impact. A solid wood panelled door with a wood framing provides for a strong door. Also, instead of the monstrous iron grill gates, in addition to the main door (as it is only the lock that keeps the gate safe) a wooden grill gate could be tried. For exterior balcony doors it is always preferable to swing the door outwards to prevent water from trickling in. The main door could be made with teak wood (Rs. 20,000 for a 4' x 7' door), Padauk ( Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 8000) rubber wood ( Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 8,000) or a completely moulded door made from wood pulp (Rs. 9,000).
Additional carving with the help of artists can be done at Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 5,000 (for a 4' x 7' door). Modern day artists use materials like beaten metal, glass inlays and brass beading, which helps enhance the artists work. Since all these aspects would make the door heavy, they would tend to sag. Hence four or five heavy duty anodised bronze hinges could be provided for extra strength.
When it comes to interior doors, they connect rooms as well as seal them off. Sometimes, a standard flush door is just fine, but there are other options - from traditional double parlour door to single or multi-glass panels. Interior doors need not be impenetrable barriers.
Glass panelled shutters would allow the peeping in of sunshine while sealing off noise and frosted or diffused panels extend privacy. For places where water is used extensively as in service area and toilets, paints (Rs.60/sft) that would provide a lasting finish rather than the conventional enamel paints would be preferable.
In toilets too, if the shower area is provided with a shower cubicle, it minimises the water contact for the toilet door. Also the toilet doors can be finished with malted laminate with proper lipping on all sides.
Sometimes during a function or a small party the requirements for one large hall is felt quite often.
Hence the separating wall between the living and the dining room can be designed as a foldable wooden partition. In addition the partition wall can be made as a glass sliding doors with some frosting or fine etching.

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