When New York City’s Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum underwent its redesign and renovation, it took the opportunity to address a major necessity: a substantial freight elevator for transporting monumental works. But the firms leading the project — Gluckman Mayner and Beyer Blinder Bell — needed to make the new lift accessible while preserving the landmark building’s exquisite interiors. Their solution: create a 2,000-pound “hidden” door clad in the original wall paneling and molding. In order to accommodate such a load, they looked to pivots.
Pivot hardware and doors offer a number of benefits, mainly taking the stress off of frame jambs, instead transferring the weight to the floor to provide firm footing and prevent the door-sagging and alignment issues associated with hinged doors.
"Doors fight gravity, inertia, and uncontrolled momentum. With a pivot set, gravity is not an issue," comments Lynn Kaiser, brand and product manager for Rixson, the Assa Abloy brand whose product was used for the special Cooper Hewitt door. "In the commercial and high-end residential market, pivots can accommodate larger doors, as well as the unusual or monumental ones."
Additionally, because pivots can be hidden from view, they can help achieve certain aesthetics.
Here’s a look at some pivot products — from hardware to complete door systems — that caught our attention with their performance, beauty, or both.
Various pivot-door styles by Weiland.
Weiland by Andersen: Pivot Doors
Weiland has a range of options, including entrance-grade doors that have been engineered and tested to meet weather ratings with flush sills that make them ADA compliant. Panels can be specified in sizes of up to nine by 11 feet.
Rixson hardware was used to create a hidden, pivoting wall/door at the Cooper Hewitt. Photo by Matt Flynn, copyright 2014 Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
Rixson: SPLO-3724 Center Hung Pivots
The heavy-duty SPLO-3724 commercial pivot hardware was perfect for supporting the 2,000-pound secret, pivot door at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
HOK designed Half + Half for Italian luxury door company Lualdi.
Lualdi: Half + Half
A collaboration with the product design division of HOK yielded this interior door collection geared toward small spaces where hinged-swing or sliding doors aren’t practical or even feasible. They’ve been engineered to both swing and pivot, resulting in a half-in, half-out position when open. The high-end slabs are offered in wood, painted, or combined paint-and-wood designs.
Seeds Marketplace at USC Medical Center – Health and Science Center in Los Angeles features CRL-U.S. Aluminum’s 1301 Series as well as the manufacturer’s PA100 L-S panic handle.
CRL–U.S. Aluminum: CRL-Blumcraft 1301 Series Entrance System
With the world's slimmest door rail profile (as lean as ¾ by ¾ inches), this commercial-grade pivot-door system boasts the most glass and least metal of any entrance door product on the market, making it ideal for projects where a clean, monolithic aesthetic is desired. The solid stainless steel or bronze metal components are offered in brushed or mirrored finish (the bronze is additionally available in an oil-rubbed finish).
Glass Pivoting Doors by Anyway Doors.
Anyway Doors: Glass Pivoting Doors
These made-to-order interior glass doors are well-suited for dividing space and providing privacy. The pivot hardware works in both swing directions, enabling the door to pivot a full 360 degrees when the hardware is installed at the door’s center. Glass options include clear tempered or laminated, etched, black tempered, and Lacobel high-gloss.
Series 980 by Western Window Systems.
Western Window Systems: Series 980 Pivot Door
Ideal for residential applications, this entrance and interior door series accommodates massive glass sizes and panels. The frame can be specified in anodized or painted aluminum or aluminum with a woodgrain powder coat. The standard ladder pull handles come in black or brushed nickel.
Dorma’s LM Series pivots accommodate the heavy entrance doors to New York City’s Dream Downtown Hotel.
Dorma: LM Series
For the Dream Downtown Hotel in New York City, Handel Architects implemented nautical-inspired porthole doors as the entrance. LM Series pivots support the huge, heavy doors, are rated for high traffic, and enable staff and guests to smoothly operate the doors. The hardware is designed to accommodate up to 1,000 pounds and can be installed as a center hung, ¾-inch offset, 1½-inch offset, or pocket pivot.