Before you enter the majesty of a palace, the coziness of your home, or the solemnity of a small stone chapel in the mountains, that step from the outside world to the interior one is made through a door. A door can be a very simple element, but it can also make us feel a deep sentiment, or even have a deep and mysterious symbolism. This is not because the door itself is important, but instead ties into the meaning of that one step we are about to make, that small transition that could bring us to an unforgettable experience.
Read on to see the history, purpose, and artistry behind some of the doors of Las Catalinas. To see what actually lays behind each of these doors, browse the full selection of Las Catalinas Collection homes.
One aspect that makes doors fascinating is that they respect hierarchy. A door to a house can be beautiful in its way, but it will rarely be as grand as the door to a town hall or a place of worship. That hierarchy is what gives us a wide variety of doors, materials and sentiments.
The Holy Door at the Vatican is as impressive as it is meaningful; a door in a residency in London is simple, yet very elegant; a door in a cabin may not be graceful at all, but it is very welcoming; a door to an emergency room could either bring us hope or despair.
The door itself is just a functional architectural element, but the expectation that we have of what is behind gives doors meaning. By engaging with this meaning, and doors’ important role as transitions between places, the artistry of doors creates unique value, inspiring awe and emotion.
To learn more about the traditional purpose of doors, we sat down with Juan Carlos Avelar, Town Architect at Las Catalinas. He explained to us that:
“Doors are important in traditional architecture as they have many purposes. First, they help us identify the kind of building we are about to enter. A town hall will have a large and elaborate door, but a house will have a colorful, playful, yet welcoming one. Doors are intended to be a gift to the street, meaning that pedestrians should enjoy the variety of colors, materials and proportions they have.”
He went on to elaborate that doors are not always alone, and work in tandem with other elements. They may come with other features accompanying them, such as stone frames, elaborate cornices, lattices, and other elements that can enrich the pedestrian experience and provoke curiosity. Some doors may even be designed to intrigue the spectator, and make them wonder where that door is leading us to.
You can see these careful considerations in real life while walking the streets of Las Catalinas, a timeless tropical traditional town where each door brings something new to the street.
The architects in Las Catalinas are careful to consider the many facets of doors in their designs. To learn more about how the team at Las Catalinas brings the streets of town to life, we spoke with Sara Bega, Town Architect at Las Catalinas, who told us about the many functions of doors within town:
“First and foremost, front doors at Las Catalinas are seen as “Gifts to the Street”, and encouraged to be of surprising shapes and sizes. In this way, they form an instinctive way to navigate the town, serving as landmarks.”
She went on to share that even within these surprising shapes and sizes, there is a sense of unison. There are some doors that are very simple, others that are very elaborate, and yet all of them have the same spirit, despite being so different. The predominant material for doors in town is wood, but they have accents with forged iron, copper and glass. Simplicity and good proportions make them pleasing to the eye, and the same principles of hierarchy used throughout the world can be found, with some exceptions.
“There’s a particular focus given to the front doors of homes in town, as these entryways serve as the transition between the public and private realm, as well as the first impression and the welcome to the home.”
They can be porous, such as the entry gate for Casa Piper or they can be solid, giving privacy like Casa del Alba or Casa Plumeria. Often, you'll have a small window to see who's at the door, with and sometimes door knockers or bells like at Casa Pinita. Doors are primarily made from stained wood, but we also have some examples of painted doors, like in the new Cartagena Flats where each door for each family is a different color.
Flat 28 Avenida la Antigua's Front Entrance
She echoed Avelar in explaining that doors are often paired with entry steps/stoop and a light fixture, and covered from rain and sun to give visitors a respite from the elements. Typically, doors in town are a single panel, but you will also find some examples of double doors. Stone frames and surrounds are not uncommon, like at StuCasa or Casa Nola. Simple doors, if well-proportioned, are elegant and noble, and doors can also be playful and friendly like on Casa Indigo.
Pura Vida Ride's Side Entrance
To sum up, she commented that the doors of homes offer an interesting contrast to the commercial doors, like the spaces of Central’s commercial entrances or those to Pura Vida Ride, which offer an entirely different character than residential.
Still, the best way to truly understand these doors is to come walk the streets, see how people interact with them, and even open some yourself.
Camino Flats, Retail door. Bright colors are attractive and catch your eye. What kind of store will we able to find?
Copper & Stone, Service door. Modest compared to the rest of doors in the building, yet very well designed and made.
Flat 26 Avenida La Antigua, Front door. A simple door with an elaborate frame and roof. A nice composition for a residential unit.
Casa Estrella, Front door. Doors that are porous inspire anticipation for what lays inside.
Casa Nola, Front door -- Doors can also call to mind the influences of precedent towns, like Casa Nola
Casa Indigo, Main door. An arch, a square? Why not a seashell?
Doors can be as creative as we want them to be.
Casa Miramar, Balcony doors. When you have tight spaces for a door to open,
you make them fold.
Avenida La Antigua Flats, Service doors. A great example on how to make doors modest and
appealing even though they are not the main entrances to a building.
Casa Brewer, Courtyard Entrance Door. Why not an arch with a gateway
to add to the appeal of the street?
Casa del Alba, Door to studio apartment. The vegetation adds a halo of mystery and
timelessness to this door.
20 Calle La Ronda, Door to studio apartment. A good example on how the forge iron is
used as ornament to compliment the design.
Casa Teja, Back door. Stained glass allows for creativity and the right amount of color.
Santarena Hotel, Door to Plaza Danta. Hospitality gets a door that is welcoming and
brings plenty of light to the interior.
Santarena Hotel, Fire exit door. A great example on how hierarchy works, the door is white as it is intended to “blend” with the wall and not take attention.
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