Post 188 –by Gautam Shah
New technologies for doors arrive more frequently due to developments in materials technology, and also occasionally due to design innovations. Improvised doors are offered by building components’ manufacturers, and sometimes devised by creative designers. But ideas for radically different types of doors have been adopted from literature like scientific fiction, children’s stories of adventures, media such as scientific movies, television serials, and from video games. New doors have been modelled on various gadgets and industrial equipment. Unusual opening systems have come from submarines, space capsules, cameras, chemical reaction vessels, dams, dykes, deep sea drilling units etc. Such opening systems may not be recognized as a door, but rather function like a valve or controller of opening.
Openings serve some basic functions, individually and collectively. The individual functions remain add-on technologies, becoming bulky and spatially sequential, whereas collective systems are integrated and so efficient. Individual systems can be adopted as per the needs in both, time and space, but integrated systems are mass produced and one must accept whatever parameters the manufacturer offers.
Opening systems, in traditional buildings serve many purposes like vision, ingress, illumination, ventilation, degrees of privacy, security, etc. These required an assemblage of multiple solutions. Such solutions had many mechanically moving components. Each movement system needed its own operative energy, controls and often lubrication. Electronic or digital systems are local, the controls could be wired or through electronic waves. These are too small, without moving components and cheap enough to be replaced easily. Digital components are rationally designed and so have inherent ports for replacements.
Isolation areas in research laboratories and nano technology plants require hermetically sealed zones need doors with a positive seal (completely leak-proof). Very large and light weight structures, such as domes and roofs require openings for access to external face. Such circular flexible doors of membrane or skin thin materials diverge to edges for closing, but bulge or sink to a concave or convex form due to suction or pressure. Heart valves are implants that beat, but function like a door. Air curtain fans and showers create a wall of cascading air and water, but a breach-able door opening. Similarly sonar zones, in industrial plants remove particulate matter from the things that move in or out are also a door system. Offshore or deep sea marine structures such as oil-gas drilling platform and recovery or collection centres, coastal protection barriers such as dykes have doors for water. The water gates were once devised as very large geometric or space structures but are now built as membrane or shell structures.
Industrial doors are very large and intensively used openings. Normal sliding, folding or swinging shutters take a lot of time to close or open and with every such operation the interior environment gets corrupted. Air curtains are noisy and cold. Flap curtains of non tearing polymer or composite sheets have proved a better option. Ion charged openings and sonar barriers are not very satisfactory in many applications. Some radical solution is required.
NEW CONCEPTS for OPENINGS’ SYSTEMS
A door is perceived to be an opening in a barrier, an open-able component of the barrier system. However, if whole of a barrier were to disappear, collapse (physically shrink) or become non-functional for a while, then it can serve the function of an opening. A barrier will have to collapse to its edge or perimeter, away from its centre, almost like the folding leaves of a camera shutter. Here the leaves could be of gaseous or liquid substance, or a field of energy. Games, science fiction and movies explore such radical concepts.
A door has traditionally served the purpose of entry and exit to and from a space and one world to another to another (earth to heaven or hell). Egyptians painted an image of a door but new modes of transfer, transport or travel such as in movies and TV serial Star Trek. Tele-porting may entirely change the shape, size and configuration of the door in future, perhaps it will be a controller of opening rather than a door. An opening that can be cut anywhere in the barrier or membrane, a self seaming door is a sci-fiction concept emulating the biological healing.