Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Living with the Past: Doors

When you built a palace in the year 1275, say, or 1580, you wanted a door big enough to drive a horse and carriage through. A door 12 feet high, at least.

Later, maybe centuries later when you no longer have a retinue of servants opening and closing the doors for you, the thought occurs that it's a lot of work to move those massive portals. So you find a carpenter to cut a smaller door-within-a-door.

A very short carpenter, apparently. Almost every door-within-a-door that I saw would require major crouching to pass through. Some are only 60 inches tall. What were they thinking? The Italians are such masters of good design, I figure there must be some good reason for these inadequate doors-within-doors. But what?

Sometimes the shape of the cutout was clearly dictated by the design of the existing door, and a nice blend was achieved.

But other times, not so much.

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