“Best doors in the world”

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Carved door in Transylvania, Romania. (Chendu Stock Photos/Almy)

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The Art Nouveau doors to the left offer entry, according to a caption, to a building called the Maison aux Grenouilles (frogs) in Brelsko-Biala, Poland.

The doors are near the beginning of a collection of photographs labeled “Bejaroti ajtok: a village mind,” which arrived in my email inbox from my dear mother-in-law, Agnes, who received it from a friend of hers back in the old country – that is, Hungary (the friend now lives in Canada).

The doors in the topmost image are a set from Transylvania. I include them because Agnes’s friend, in her note sending the collection, had regretted that it had none of the carved wooden doors they’d seen together on a trip to Romania.

These are all marvelous doors, and I will point out, at the risk of a good tut-tutting from Agnes, that whoever assembled this collection did not feel obliged to include any “modernist” doors. Their forbearance is admirable.

The doors open a passage into the infinite creativity of sculpture in wood, stone and metal that extends back many, many centuries, to artists and craftsmen on every continent. They needed no boost from the machine aesthetic of our age. The imagery that decorate these doors is largely figurative. Like today’s mapmakers and today’s renderers of proposed buildings, along with today’s artisans in every art and craft, today’s door designers seem largely to have abandoned the effort that shines forth from the doors in this collection of photographs.

Are today’s artists less creative, less talented? I do not think so. They are in the clutches of modernist ideology, for whom creativity means designing something completely unlike anything ever designed before, rather than advancing, in ways large or small, existing methods of embellishment. That strikes me as equally if not more creative.

By the way, this collection arrived in a strange format. I cannot find it on the internet but it is (I hope) accessible by clicking on the following “Keynote” application. I hope it works also for those who do not have Apple computers.


About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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2 Responses to “Best doors in the world”

  1. Pingback: “Best doors in the world” — Architecture Here and There – Naked Cities Journal

  2. shedguy says:

    We noticed a curious thing walking around the streets of Bergen, Norway recently. Whether fronting a manse or a ‘mouse house’, (Bergen has some tiny houses,) no two doors were alike. Even the most modest houses, all carpentered, different lites, moldings, etc., not a HomeD slab in sight.


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