Extract from Door Couture: Chapter One: Making an Entrance
By Elizabeth Assaf
DESIGN: CREATING AN OVERALL IMPRESSION
The first question to ask yourself about any entrance is how it fits into the existing building design and whether that doorway/entrance could have a strong impact on the balance of that building.
Creating buildings with a main focal entrance is accomplished with aluminium curtain walling, imposing porches, sizable overhangs, glass canopies and stone pillars. Double or triple height ceilings also impose a certain style on the frontage of barns and the more lavish building. With this type of construction, the entrance is already grand and choosing a front door is easier as the whole entrance has an existing structure and purpose.
Since many buildings designs are created with an entrance in mind, some have the entrance as just a means to enter, with the weight of the house located at the back of the building. Houses situated on hills for instance, tend to have a very simple ground level entrance with only one floor visible to the front or driveway and two or more floors visible to the back. If this is the case, creating an entranceway that has impact is crucial. This doesn’t take away however the need for simplicity where applicable. Simplicity can be powerful – especially when it doesn’t prepare you for what lies inside.
Materials used on the outside of the building like the windows, cladding, rendering, zinc, copper and stone are also closely related to the door choice. Cladding, for example, raises its own challenges because of the way it weathers and consequently influences the final look of the building. Copper goes green and therefore the building can look altered after a few months. Windows play an important part as traditionally they are matched to the doors on the building. This has changed over time with more and braver house builders opting for a targeted and fresher look for the doors instead of a matching culture.
Making the door the only focal point on an elevation is also significantly more popular. This is usually the case on buildings which are contemporary and plain. Although this type of design needs to achieve a very fine balance – it can be very successful. In the right size, the door and especially when it isn’t too balanced can be innovative and dynamic changing the perception of the building while remaining functional.