Dumb as a Doornail? Nope, Way Smarter.


Submitted 5 months ago
Created by
Anita Hamalainen

#15 Railroad Row

The old adage "You only get one chance to make a first impression" applies to the entrance of a building. Following that logic, most commercial buildings around us convey the message: "The architect needed to specify a door for this project and s/he chose this one. It was on budget. It didn't make too strong of a statement, so there's that. Whatever. It's door. Welcome... I guess."

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Geesh. Let's have a little fun when planning a building's entrance! This is the first element a visitor experiences when entering your space. It shouldn't look like the designer chose the door with the same enthusiasm he or she selected the automatic shut-off switch for the boiler.

Which is why I want to tell you about my favorite door in downtown White River Junction. You'll probably want to sit down for this! (Full disclosure, it's the door to the offices of DailyUV. I'm not getting any kickback for plugging their building's cool entryway, but I wouldn't say no to one. Ahem, Mark.) I first noticed, for lack of a better term, the door "handle".

(Beware the Ghost Stroller)

The teak or ipé wooden handle stretches along the length of the door glazing, widening in the middle for easy grasping, dimensioned perfectly for the very tall and the very short and everyone in between. It's so nice to touch a natural, wooden material when opening a door, especially when the weather is very hot or very cold. Have you ever touched the metal door of Starbucks in Hanover on a really hot, sunny day? I'd like to order an iced macchiato, please, in which to dip my singed fingertips. Extra ice.

And with a playful spirit, the long wooden is carved away, following the curve of the door lock.

Why not have a little fun? It's just a lock, after all.

The simple ceiling of the exterior vestibule is covered in, I believe, sheets of stained plywood. It's an affordable finishing material, while adding a modern, warm vibe. Not only will it hide dirt and most moisture stains, but any scuffs or marks will add to its patina.

This is no glass ceiling.

Technically the entrance that I'm describing is the back door to the Railroad Row building. But rather than feel like an afterthought to the structure, the entrance feels like a special little surprise tucked around the corner. The covered entryway is the negative space created by carving out the corner of the building, revealing a charm and an intimacy thanks to the tall glass, metal doors, and low wooden ceiling.

The entrance is all the more delightful when the little tree has leaves.

The crisp final touch is the structural column at the building's corner, encased with a floating metal fin and a huge street number: 15.

That's one aerodynamic column.

The back entrance to #15 Railroad Row is a thoughtful transition from sidewalk to building. It tells the visitor that someone took a little bit more time designing the arrival sequence. He or she didn't specify the usual standard-issue door found on every other building, one which meets code and the budget, but is completely devoid of imagination or creativity.

As they say, the devil is in the details, and this is one helluva door.

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