The World’s Most Famous Doors
The front door is the focal point of any home and sets the tone for the overall building and its interiors. Throughout history, we’ve long held an obsession for buildings’ exteriors, whether it’s an ornate, intricately detailed church front with an intriguing background or a spectacularly contemporary structure with unique design features.
Here, we take a look at five of the world’s most famous and instantly recognisable doors.
221b Baker Street, London
Home to arguably the most well-known detective in fictional history, 221b Baker Street has been seen in countless TV and movie adaptations through the years. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes and his compatriot Dr Watson have solved many mysteries at the famous address. Funnily enough, when Conan Doyle originally wrote his stories, Baker Street only went up to number 85. However, in the 1930s the road was extended and the new residents of 221b soon started receiving a lot of mail – from Sherlock fans across the globe. Nowadays, you’ll find the Sherlock Holmes museum located at 221b Baker Street.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
One of the most striking doors in the world, the holy door at St Peter’s Basilica is only opened in a holy year, once every 25 years. The door is sealed from the inside with a brick wall to prevent entry. The door, designed by Vico Consorti and cast by the Ferdinando Marinelli Artistic Foundry of Florence, features intricate detailing and is visually striking. When the jubilee year comes, the Pope strikes the brick wall behind the door with a silver hammer to open it. The wall is then demolished fully and pilgrims can enter through it.
The Columbus Doors
At the entrance to the Rotunda in the US Capitol building sit the Columbus Doors. They are the striking gateway to the library of American myths. Standing at nearly 17ft tall and weighing over 20,000 pounds, the Columbus Doors, created by Randolph Rogers, are reminiscent of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s work, namely the Gates of Paradise, in Florence. The narratives within the door’s design are based on The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Washington Irving.
The Gates of Paradise, Florence
Lorenzo Ghiberti and two of his colleagues spent 27 years designing and creating one of the most famous religious doors in the world. The entranceway to the Baptistery di San Giovanni is created from 10 panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament. Ghiberti’s work is famous for the first-known use of the principles of perspective and resulted in Michelangelo referring to the doors as the ‘Gates of Paradise’. These doors have provided the inspiration for many others, including the Columbus Doors in the US Capitol building.
10 Downing Street, London
British politics has had its ups and downs and been fronted by many faces throughout history – but the one consistent element is the polished black door of number 10, Downing Street. It’s provided the backdrop to interviews, news broadcasts and famous statements about world events throughout the years and is possibly the most televised door in the world. The prime minister’s residence is constantly guarded by police and can only be opened from the inside. The original door was removed during the Second World War. It is made from bomb-proof metal with a high-quality gloss coating, hence why it appears so shiny. The old black oak door was removed in 1991 after a bomb attack by the IRA.