When is a door not a door?*

door-window-2.jpgPanda” is a good friend of the Made By Monkeys blog and he’s recently sent us this one.

He asks: “Are the doors wrong or the balconies? Conflict between planners, architects and builders?” A good question, as I’ve seen this repeated elsewhere (for example, modern flat blocks in Sutton, Surrey).

If door’s could speak, these would have an identity problem: “I am a door not a window…”

Can anyone shed light on the matter?

* When it’s ajar

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  1. May 06, 2009 11:26

    Stick a pipe out the wall, no one will notice

    “Just spotted this air con exhaust pipe coming out of the middle of the wall on our walk today,” he writes. “Very weird.”

  2. Ruaraidh Gillies
    March 12, 2009 11:42

    When is a door not a door?
    When it’s a French window.

  3. Ray
    March 12, 2009 08:04

    Also handy if the hot water tank needs to be replaced.

  4. David May
    March 11, 2009 15:27

    It could be a door for large furniture/pianos, etc which could be lifted in by crane if stair well is small and it could be a window for the rest of the time.

  5. March 11, 2009 12:15

    I’ve seen these type of features on many different buildings – not just modern ones. I’ve always regarded them as floor-length windows, giving you extra light and window space, but not requiring the extra structural requirements that a true balcony requires.

  6. February 18, 2009 12:21

    “The idea being that the fire brigade can put a ladder against these to help someone out.” That would be very practical, James. Never thought of that. I can’t help thinking, though, that fire regulations must allow full exit by other means anyway.

  7. February 18, 2009 12:16

    Thanks John, interesting. It’s kind of a poor-man’s “Juliet”, though. And, of course, the door must always open inwards or there’ll be no show (!)

  8. James Taylor
    February 18, 2009 12:16

    Are these not fire escapes? Is the rule for new windows that a certain number of windows on each floor open to a suitable degree (i.e. a full 90 degrees open) to allow emergency access (or escape). The idea being that the fire brigade can put a ladder against these to help someone out. Why use a full door AND railing I don’t know, and I’m sure as John points out, fashion has a lot to do with it.

  9. John Paschoud
    February 18, 2009 11:45

    As an engineer by day, and a local councillor on the Planning Committee in the evenings, I’ve seen lots of these on refurbs and new buildings.

    I think they’re sometimes referred to as a “Juliet balcony” and are (I’ve always assumed) designed by architects to satisfy the aspirations of developers and flat-buyers who aspire to that royal/Hollywood wave-to-the-crowds experience, but are building where a proper projecting balcony wouldn’t be allowed for planning, structural or cost reasons. Given that the door (not window) is there, and opens, the need for the railings should be obvious…

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