Adam Štěch The Doors of Modernist Architecture

Meet the Curator Who’s Made Documenting #Doorporn His Life-Long Mission

Today we’re featuring nearly two dozen of the coolest doors across Europe, designed by Modernist architects and photographed by the Prague-based curator and editor Adam Štěch, who considers uncovering the hidden gems of Modernist architecture his life-long passion. In some ways, this series could be considered something of a sequel to one of our favorite stories of 2017 — but while that piece focused strictly on entryways, Štěch here pulls the lens back even further to focus on what he calls the “canvas” of a facade. “Architects paid so much attention to doors during the 20th century, and their solutions were almost expressions of abstract art,” explains Štěch. “Today, those elements have been replaced by standardized products in most cases.”

Since 2006, Štěch has been traveling around Europe, USA, Latin America, and Japan visiting architecture sites dating from 1900 to 1990 and documenting them in their current conditions. An exhibition this fall at the London Design Festival saw Štěch selecting hundreds of photos from his archive and presenting them as “an atlas of architectural and interiors details, which were created by architects as a part of the overall design concept of the buildings. Lighting, seating, storage, tables, handrails, doors, windows, fireplaces, and other decorative or functional elements celebrated the Modernist idea of total work of art — the so-called Gesamtkunstwerk — and remind us of the fantastic skills of Modernist architects, creating everything from the structural solution of the building to the very last built-in.”

The examples here range from the famous — a bright yellow door by Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, and Pierre Jeanneret for the 1931 Swiss pavilion — to the obscure (an expressive, angled white gem by the 1950s Belgian architect Jacques Dupuis. Scroll through, and pick your favorites.


Top: Bruce Goff, Door, Al Struckus House, Los Angeles, 1982-1994


Ado Chale, Door to his own studio, Brussels, 1970s


Cassiano Branco, Door, Apartment building, Lisbon, 1930s


Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret, Door, Swiss Pavilion, Paris, 1931


Le Corbusier, Door, Maison Blanche, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, 1912


Luigi Moretti, Door, Bonificio Thermal Batch, Fiuggi, 1964-1965


Willy van der Meeren and Léon Palm, Door, Evere Social Housing, Brussels, 1962


Luigi Moretti, Door, Palestra del Duce, Rome, 1936-1937


Amedeo Luccichenti and Vincenzo Monaco, Door, Palazzina in via San Crescenziano, Rome, 1959


Marcello Belleri and Mario Bianchini, Door, Apartment Building, Milan, 1949


Jacques Dupuis, Door, Maison Everaert, Brussels, 1954


Casson Conder Partnership/Karl Schlamminger, Door, Ismaili Center, London, 1985


Hans Hollein, Door, Schullin I Store, Store, Vienna, 1974


Peter Malacrida, Door in Dining Room, Eltham Palace, London, 1933


Michel Polak, Door, Louis Empain Villa, Brussels, 1934


Hans Scharoun, Door, Schminke House, Löbau, 1930-1933


Ricardo Legorreta, Door, Hotel Camino Real Polanco, Mexico City, 1968


Frank Lloyd Wright, Door, V. C. Morris Gift Shop, San Francisco, 1948


Raoul Brunswyck and Odon Wathelet, Door, Apartment Building, Brussels, 1965


Jacques Dupuis, Maison Bedoret, Brussels, 1957


Denis Van Impe, Door, Apartment Building, Ghent, 1980