IF security is a consideration – and why wouldn’t it be? – in the design of apartment blocks, then, inspired by examples especially on the continent, a two-door ‘solution’ is worth exploring.
For a rectangular block along the length of a street – perhaps set back from the pavement, with a deep moat surrounding it, offering a glimpse of an underground car park? – it could be simply two entrance doors, the outer one leading to a vestibule (which might accommodate letter boxes) and then to an inner door.
Then again, a series of apartment blocks in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, offers a variation on the theme.
These blocks (main picture, and below – peeking through the gate) are set perpendicular to the street (actually, a public footpath, by the city’s lakes), with the gaps between them creating a garden / seating / storage space. And it is between the gable ends of two blocks where the first secure entrance is to be found (the second one being the main door to the block itself).
Moving south, to many locations in, for instance, Spain and Italy, there is the street-sitting apartment block, access to which is via a gated courtyard (the second secure entrance being the main door access from the courtyard). In many places, the courtyard doubles as a green oasis of calm.
These days, gates and doors can be opened and closed not with a metallic key but a digital key fob, which can be ‘switched off’ as required (say when a resident moves on) and is less easy to duplicate than a piece of ironmongery.
Mike Wilson is a member of the Place Design Scotland team
Picture credits: Place Design Scotland
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