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Curtain Door by Matharoo Associates, Surat, India

Matharoo Associates’ teak Curtain Door is a door like no other. Photography by Dinesh Mehta

Matharoo Associates was the architect behind the delightful House with Balls that featured earlier this year on the cover of the August issue of the AR. So the authorship of this Heath Robinson-like door came as little surprise. Whether using concrete balls as counterweights for flip-up screens on an aquarium/house, or creating a door out of timber railway sleeper sections, this sort of ingenuity attracted unanimous support from this year’s jury as one of four prize winners.

The door, in fact, forms the main entrance to a showpiece 1,700m² house, designed for Surat-based diamond merchant, Dilip Sanghvi. Featuring a number of equally quirky inventions, including a light-emitting onyx wall that would probably be more at home in a nightclub, this more muted component is described by the architect as the ‘curtain raiser’, presumably as an introduction to the exuberant architectural performance that lies beyond.

Interestingly, Gurjit Singh Matharoo did not submit the main event, but only submitted the curtain riser for consideration. This, however, proved a smart tactic as the jury was enthralled with this single remarkable element.

At a dominating 5.2m high and 1.7m wide, the door sits between what Singh Matharoo calls ‘bland’ concrete walls (presumably in comparison with onyx) and comprises 40 sections of 254mm-thick solid Burma teak. Each of these has then been carved to integrate 160 pulleys, 80 ball bearings, a wire-rope and a counter-weight hidden within the single pivot, that mysteriously combine to enable the flat plane to open up, like a billowing curtain, into a sinusoidal curve ‘with one effortless push’. Simply put, this is a door like no other.

Architect Matharoo Associates, Ahmedabad, India
Project team Gurjit Singh Matharoo, MC Gajjar, Chandan Suravarapu, Dilip Revar, Harita Salvi
Door contractor DP Traders

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