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    Specifying doors for multi-res projects hinges on many factors

    Nicholas Rider

    In a multi-residential project, doors are more than just a mere entry to a unit or its individual rooms. They also provide a number of functions for its residents.

    Doors keep the elements out, provide acoustic insulation, and offer security, privacy and safety. While addressing this, the choice of door will depend on its location within the building and its greater context. This ultimately means, that performance and durability are key when choosing the correct door.

    Woods Bagot associate, Yow Choong, suggests that there are two main type of doors in a typical multi-residential project: the unit’s main door which is usually a solid core door, and a sliding glass door which opens the unit to its views.

    In addition to the technical functions, the aesthetics of a door are integral in the design of a multi-res build.

    “Doors… provide the first impressions for a project, which affects marketability. The aesthetics to a front door and entrance lobbies are important to buyers/owners of apartments, for branding and status,” says Choong.

    “[For example,] Woods Bagot’s projects pay special attention to [the] placement of entrance doors and the finishes and detailing around these (e.g. timber finishes, full height doors, integrated doors with wall panelling, apartment numbers and signage).”

    All of the above is no different when specifying the correct door hardware either.

    “Door hardware, handles and locks are also selected for robustness and quality for long operating life,” says Choong.

    DOORS IN ACTION

    Finger Wharf Apartment by Architect Prineas

    Finger-Wharf_2-Photography-by-Chris-Warne.jpg
    Photography by Chris Warne 

    Doors were a key aspect of an alteration project to an apartment within the heritage-listed 1915 Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf on Sydney Harbour. Designed by Architect Prineas, the Finger Wharf project included a general reconfiguration of the interior to better address the apartment’s connection with its harbour setting, within the constraints of stringent strata and heritage requirements.

    The existing sliding doors to the living area were reconfigured and replaced to be more practical but look identical when closed. The width of the track was also increased to allow the doors to operate as double stacking sliders rather than a single opening.

    In addition, dark panels were also implemented throughout the unit, which the architects say allow the interiors to “strive for a level of ambiguity where a door can be a wall and vice versa”. 

    “Within the language of screens and walls, a theatrical motif is developed of an over-scaled handle – a cue to reveal a threshold to bathrooms, bedrooms and storage.”

    41 Birmingham by SJB

    41-Birmingham-Photography-by-Felix-Forest.jpg
    Photography by Felix Forest 

    External glazed doors were specified for the SJB-designed 41 Birmingham apartment project in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria. These doors were supplied and installed by Zebrano Windows.

    “Zebrano Windows were willing to work closely with us to achieve the design intent and performance we intended,” says Jacqueline Connor, architect at SJB.

    “They were able to customise the profiles, configurations and hardware to achieve flush thresholds from inside to outside, narrow aluminium section sizes, full height doors – up to three metres to meet the concrete beams – and very large panels that were easy to operate.”

    The apartment entry doors were supplied by Pyropanel, who were able to do fire rated doors and frames made of timber to 2.4m in height.

    “We wanted the apartments to have the level of detail and the feel of a single house, while working within the issues of multi-residential construction,” says Connor.

    “The entry doors are important as they give a sense of arriving at home and a sense of personalisation that is not often seen in standard multi-residential projects.” 

    President Avenue Apartments by Candalepas Associates

    President-Avenue-Apartments-by-Candalepas-Associates.jpg
    Image: Candalepas Associates 

    According to architects Candaelpas Associates, door openings are important to the architecture of a building because they are a way to connect to the outdoors.

    The architects specified external aluminium-framed sliding doors for its President Avenue Apartments in Sydney’s Sutherland. These glazed doors from Ullrich Aluminium maximise the connection between balconies and external spaces, while also taking advantage of views to the National Park.

    Solid block core doors (both pivot and butt hinge doors) were picked for the unit’s entry doors.

    The doors were chosen for their compliance with Australian Standards, as well as their use in previous multi-residential projects.

    PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET

    Among the door products on the Australian market is Stegbar’s Alumiere range, which is offered in hinged, sliding and stacking configurations. Alumiere is available in three frame widths (80mm, 113mm and 136mm) that fit together modularly to create numerous configurations and comes in a range of powder-coated and anodised aluminium colours. In terms of hardware, the doors are equipped with a convenient ‘one key’ solution that will lock and unlock all doors.

    Stegbar.jpg
    Stegbar's Alumiere range is offered in hinged, sliding and stacking configurations 

    Another product on the market is Allegion’s surface mounted track-arm door closers. Suitable for both timber and metal doors, the Briton 1120 and 1130 Series door closers are non-handed, slimline and fully reversible. Door closing is hydraulically controlled, with adjustable backcheck and valve regulators to provide the desired balance between opening force and closing speed. One finish the hardware is available in is matte black, which Allegion says, “works well in most interior settings, as it blends with many elements, materials and finishes”.

    Allegion.jpg
    Allegion's surface mounted track-arm door closers 

    Vitrocsa offers a range of custom-made sliding doors, which can accommodate glass panels up to 18sqm, and an unlimited number of panels or tracks. Fixed panels are not required as all panels can slide allowing greater flexibility in design – meaning doors can open at both ends, the centre, at a corner, or slide into a cavity or pocket within the wall. All aluminium tracks and frames are built into the structure and are hidden from view with only the slimmest interlocks visible. SJB has specified Vitrocsa sliding doors in its 10 Wylde Street and Coast Apartments projects in Sydney. 

    While the choice of doors and door hardware are essentially endless, a multi-residential building and its individual units will benefit from a door that considers its context within the project. A well-performing and durable door will also keep the elements out, provide acoustic insulation, and offer security, privacy and safety

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