Permanent Revolution
April 21, 2003 1:47 AM   Subscribe

Permanent Revolution It's a little Ph'D in tone, but it's a great topic: the history and significance of the revolving door. References everyone from Elmer Fudd to Kingsley Amis, Rem Koolhaas to King Vidor. One man invented them: Theophilus Van Kannel (of Philadelphia). Bizarre personal fact: my home county in Scotland makes bulletproof revolving doors. Ever had your revolutionary moment?
posted by theplayethic (2 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Great promo blurb for Van Kannel: "Here, in the Riviera Palace Hotel, the elite of the world pass through Van Kannel doors. How many thousands have come through this door at the beginning of a new day, buoyed up with the thought that today was the day of success. How many have plodded wearily back in the late hours of the night, after the casino had closed, sadder, but seldom wiser. Yet some there are who swing through with light step. Winners for the day! And wise old Van Kannel admits them all, giving each, winner and loser alike, the faultless service for which his door is constructed."
posted by theplayethic at 1:50 AM on April 21, 2003

That was worth it for two phrases, at least, in the first-linked essay: This curbside dispensary of womankind, and the mortal portal. I certainly would not have initially imagined one could get so much out of the social construction of just one particular type of building doorway. I find it interesting that the door continues to evolve (as well as revolve): modern accoutrements such as bulletproof glass, as well as the seemingly contradictory security-card activated revolving door (utterly trashing Van Kammel's streams of humanity), and the perhaps just-as-fascinating supersize automatically revolving door often found in hospitals (one was seen in Eyes Wide Shut, an ironically topical moment of reality in a film riddled with anachronisms by the long-expatriate Kubrick). After a lifetime of having to shove one's way through the "coffin-sized" door, these spacious siblings, which not only seem to part ahead of you but creep up on you in back, bring the experience to a new level.
posted by dhartung at 11:05 AM on April 21, 2003

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