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Specified: Doors, windows & ironmongery Sept/Oct

Dramatic entrances, discreet door closers and slimline windows

Gloucester Services doors
Assa Abloy  

If you’re wondering why the Brits in this pic are looking shocked, it’s because they’re sitting in the UK’s only pleasant motorway service station. Visitors to Glenn Howells Architects’ Gloucester Services risk further palpitations with the discovery that the stop-off is environmentally friendly, including doors from Assa Abloy UK, and simple comfort eating of a Ginsters Pasty, Hula Hoops and a Pepsi Max is not an option as the provisions are all from local suppliers. So, the price can be relied upon to induce a minor stroke, as will the high quality of door finish.

Underfloor swing door operators

Access to the arts … A community choir put together by local careworkers with an orchestra of former young offenders playing percussion instruments assembled from locally-sourced recycled materials. Or sometimes it’s just making an art deco door from a much-loved theatre open and close automatically so that people with mobility issues and/or young kids can get in and out of the concert hall more easily. Such is the case with Geze UK’s automatic underfloor operator for the swing doors in the lovingly restored Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.


In the contemporary NHS, pretty much any free space is up for grabs. I wouldn’t be surprised if cramped cardiothoracic surgeons at Essex’s Colchester Hospital had bagged this island bathroom for the next heart transplant. Luckily for the patient, the impromptu theatre would have magic bacteria-busting doors. Hygidoor doors have a vision panel flush with the easy-to-clean door-face and antibacterial PVC cladding with silver ion technology.  And a handy lock for when off-duty surgical nurses are throwing a party inside.

Slimline windows

Darling! I lurve what you’ve done with your windows. You were looking a bit tired the last time I saw you – you don’t mind me telling you that, do you, darling? You know I love you, don’t you? Crittall Slim Line, you say? Well, at least something is slim line, sweetie! I’m joking, I’m joking. You’re so elegant now; by far my favourite arts centre... I mean Basil Spence and I were friends for ages. And if you fell from grace awhile, you’ve made a comeback in real style. Which is more than I can say for Warwick Arts Centre. You didn’t hear it from me but it’s time she had some work done… (Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, at Sussex University, just has.)

Powermatic door closers  
Samuel Heath

Mr Downey Jr, I have been asked to remind you that a car is waiting outside for you. I think it might be time to put down the Jim Beam, Mr Downey Jr, or I’m going to have to call the manager if you smear any more of those Big Macs over the duvet… Yes, I’m sure you can afford to replace all the duvets in the chain, but I really do need to change the room over. You should thank the fact that this performance is kept from the eyes of prying hotel paparazzi with Samuel Heath’s Powermatic concealed door closers – a steel detail that might save the day for you – like Iron Man.

Frameless sliding doors

A Special Edition Cadbury Creme Egg in Asda last week made me think gentrification had finally jumped the shark. Where to next? The answer is in the sublime Hopkins Yard House – with its infinity pond. I’m getting an image of decadent ducks sipping caipirinhas of a summer evening or gorgeous goldfish ordering extra flakes from room service at 3am. Is there a newt spa somewhere? Meanwhile, superlative sliding doors from Sky-Frame allows less fantastical human inhabitants to gaze luxuriously down on the scene of this Wallpaper*-like life aquatic.

Conservation windows and doors
Mumford & Wood  

All Bremainers are looking for an upside to Brexit. I’ve got one.  Surely, this crisis and the more serious mood signals the end of retro, of backward-looking irony and cutesy ‘Cath Kidston’ wartime gooeyness.  The kind of dreamy reclaimed space presented as ‘boutique’ hotel such as Artist Residence London suddenly looks like it belongs to a bygone era, good and proper. But until the Four Horsemen are actually saddled up, Mumford & Wood will still have a market for its fine planning-compliant double-glazed timber Conservation box sash windows and doors.

Tekno doors

It took philosopher-turned-designer Wittgenstein a year to design the handles of his Haus in Vienna – a project that nearly induced a nervous breakdown for everyone involved. If you think that was a house for the gods, you’re guaranteed to like these Tekno doors, which switch from noisy hinges to a smooth curve of brushed steel. You’ll find no itty-bitty interlocking metal parts holding these puppies to its almost non-existent door-frame. Now I think about it, door frames are pretty ugly things as well… I wonder what Ludwig would have done about them?


The Urchin Café was conceived and built as a sculpture for use as a café by Matthew Sanderson. It sits beside a 19th century gothic mansion, home to the Plas-Glyn-y-Weddw arts centre, close to Wales’ Llanbedrog beach. The sculptor teamed up with Mark Wray Architects and structural engineer Fold to realise the scheme

Sculpture and café are combined in the work of sculptor, engineer and architect

Exhibition reveals how political messages and militaristic or nationalistic images and patterns bring propaganda to a domestic level on clothes and fabrics

Exhibition shows the subtext in textiles

How do great architecture clients think? As the RIBA Client of the Year 2023 Award shortlist is announced, we get an insight into what the individuals behind these award-winning buildings wanted from their architects

As the shortlist is announced, we get an insight into how great architecture clients think

Want to design a Chelmsford housing development, pitch for work on a south Wales regeneration programme or refurbish a listed museum? These are the latest architecture contracts and competitions from across the industry

Latest: £55m affordable housing project, Essex

Approved Document O is up and running. Mark Taylor looks at the pros and cons of routes to compliance and what it means for apartment and house designs

How Approved Document O will cut overheating in house and apartment design