Tuesday 26 August 2014

When is a door not a door?

The Imperial War Museum (IWM), London has reopened!  It's a great place for looking at innovative ways of getting from one space to another. These doors, hatches and openings often work to high performance design requirements, having to be air-tight, water-tight, or deal extreme structural loads etc.  I really enjoyed dragging my kids around, describing the high levels of innovation.

So, for any architect who has gone stir-crazy at some point, preparing door schedules, details and elevations, which are essentially the same basic product dressed up in different ways, here's a collection of some of the fun and clever alternatives on display.

Innovation in the design of doorways, from the basic openings of the air raid shelter to the blast doors of the tank.  Centre, the fuselage of a submarine is designed to create a person-sized space between chambers - a structural solution to a human scale.

The IWM London also demonstrates how design teams can work closely to integrate components so that each has several functions, maximising efficiency.  This is a subject of previous blog posts where design integration (as a progression from design co-ordination) is something seldom seen in the building industry.

The spigot on this Japanese war plane acts as the structural support for the wing and an exhaust duct from the engine: One item working in response to structural, environmental and aesthetic (aerodynamic) requirements.

On this theme there are lots of other cool places to visit with kids during the Summer holidays, to discover innovative ways of getting from one space to another.  We've spent time at The Science Museum, RAF Museum, the Transport Museum and HMS Belfast in London and the Imperial War Museum in Duxford.

Hatches, doors and entrances to a selection of innovative products.
Bottom left demonstrates the thickness of the monocoque fuselage of a 747 Jumbo Jet - the material which separates you and a six-mile drop!

Beyond museums, there's lots of useful references available on the internet from military sources,

It's amazing what an aircraft can do.


Imagine living in some of these environments for months on end.

Space stations and vehicles,

From the International Space Station and Apollo landing capsule.


Non conventional doors in buildings often lead to non conventional ways of using them...

and Sci-fi.

References from Sci-Fi.  Star Wars has lots of great ideas.

These examples are included as the start of a collection on a Pinterest board.

My kids tell me they are looking forward to going back to school!