Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, March 7, 2011

Making a grand entrance

Doors are endlessly fascinating. Heritage organizations often produce wonderful posters with a series of 6 or 8 door portraits - they are so appealing. Doors are the focal
point of any house facade, and the builder does his best work there. Doors put our best face forward.

Entrances say so much about who the
owner is, and about the welcome he wants to offer, the impression he wants to make.

Different architectural styles do doors so very differently. The austere Georgian doorcase differs from the elegant Neo-classical which follows. The imposing Greek Revival, the exotic Gothic Revival, the slightly pompous Victorian double door, the Edwardian Gibbs-surrounded entrance, the curvaceous Deco entry, the cave-like Frank Lloyd Wright inspiration. And there are so many more times and styles and statements I haven't mentioned!

And so many components - cornice, transom, sidelights, round-headed and elliptical fanlights, chinoiserie, colonettes and entablature, stained and bevelled glass, panelling, moulding, pilasters, columns, entablatures, height, width, porches, porticos and verandahs.

There is so much lore attached to front entrances.I find it very interesting, for example, that Loyalist/Georgian style door did not have an exterior latch or knob. The expectation was that anyone coming to the front door would be invited in by the lady of the house, or a servant. And then the Regency Cottage doorway - deliberately down-played from the stately impressive classically styled entrance to redirect attention to a series of French doors inviting a flow of traffic into the inviting landscaped gardens.

This line of thought is dragging me back through all my photographs and resources to focus on doors and what they tell me. And on the next sunny day, as I try to give my full attention to the doors in the neighbourhoods I travel, won't I be a threat on the road?

1 comment:

  1. I'll go with you that day and stand watch. So nice to have all those features named and pointed out to those of us who haven't a thought beyond, 'That's pretty.'