The ins and outs of revolving doors

Specifying a revolving door
As a recap, properly specifying a revolving door depends on numerous factors, including:

  1. Determining the capacity needed for each entrance and considering the benefits of a larger-diameter door.
  2. Deciding if a manual or automatic revolving door is necessary.
  3. Making specifications consistent with architectural details and with the manufacturer’s door model selected as the basis of specification.
  4. Choosing the number of door wings—two, three, or four—and detailing the plan view consistently.
  5. Indicating the desired dimensions for diameter, door opening height, and height under canopy as well as canopy height.
  6. Specifying a finish for the canopy of the revolving door system. The basics to consider are whether the canopy will be visible from above and whether it is exposed to the outside elements.
  7. Determining security needs. Will night sliding doors be required, or prevention of tailgating or piggybacking? Do security concerns warrant remote locking and card readers?

With rising energy costs and clients’ growing demand for comfortable, safe, and environmentally sustainable buildings, revolving doors can be a true asset. The ‘always open, always closed’ principle of a revolving door ensures conditioned inside air and unconditioned outside air remain separated, preventing drafts, dust, and noise from coming into the building. As less energy is required to maintain the conditioned climate inside the building, revolving doors help reduce the carbon footprint of a building and save both energy and cost—key assets in today’s building environment.

Revolving doors are an opportunity to enhance the drama of a building façade. Available in a wide variety of heights and widths, with different canopy heights and heights under the canopy, an all-glass revolving door complements the appeal of a glass façade.

Minimal stainless steel trim and patch fittings contribute to a clean, sleek look. However, it is critical to note all-glass revolving doors are typically manually operated in Canada. This is because automatic doors require safety sensors on the door wings per ANSI/BHMA A156.27-2011, American National Standard for Power and Manual Operated Revolving Pedestrian Doors, and all-glass revolving door wings typically do not include the metal framing elements to mount the safety sensors.

The diameter of the door, the width of vertical stiles, and the height of the door opening, canopy, sidewall enclosure base, and bottom rail sideline can also be optimized to create the desired look and complement surrounding building elements and doors. When these dimensional elements are specified with consideration of surrounding features, a fluid and harmonious sightline is created. For dramatic appeal, an additional curved glass enclosure can be constructed above the revolving door to greatly elevate its visual impact.

Glen Tracy grew up in the revolving door business with his father, Richard Tracy, who manufactured revolving door systems in Chicago for more than 30 years. After nearly 13 years working for his father, Tracy branched out briefly in the automatic door business before joining Boon Edam in 2000. He has held various leadership roles within the company’s outside sales group, including regional sales manager in the Midwest and Southeast, national distribution manager, and his current role as national sales manager for architectural revolving doors. Tracy can be reached by e-mail at

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