Columbia Elevator Cabs and Entrances

Home > About  > Company Profile  > Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr.  > Lou's Lessons

Lou's Lessons

Have a comment, question, additional knowledge to share, or a suggested topic for a future “lesson?”

About Louis "LJ" Blaiotta >> |

Columbia Elevator Used Innovative Design Expertise at 56 Leonard, NYC

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, November 26, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

Comments (0)


56 Leonard Street, NYC

56 Leonard Street, NY, NY

Zero Clearance Door

Zero Clearance Door

Imagine walking into the ground floor of your condo complex, brushing past the concierge desk as you make your way toward the elevator. You press the button to take you up to your unit on the tenth floor. Seconds later, the door opens and you step out into your foyer. You are immediately greeted with breathtaking views of the NYC skyline through your 14-foot tall wall-to-wall windows and you think to yourself, “It’s good to be home!”  

Columbia Elevator helped make this imagination a reality at New York’s 56 Leonard St. condo. This luxurious building was designed by one of the world’s most renowned architects, Herzog & de Meuron, and has garnered the nickname, “the Jenga building.”

Looking back, we also made the job a reality for Schindler; initially, they didn’t think they could sell it. The architects’ design called for elevators with 36” openings, but Schindler only builds door operating equipment for openings that are 42” or wider. Schindlers internal sales reps were conditioned to just look at their quotation chart, say, “Sorry, we don’t carry this” and move on to the next potential job. A call to Columbia led to a little out-of-the-box thinking to use Schindler’s 42” wide equipment but restrict the doors to open just 36” on the 42” track.

There were several features that Columbia had to consider when designing elevator solutions at 56 Leonard.

For the Penthouse Floors with a single elevator entry to each apartment:

  • Allow private elevators to open directly into the upper-level penthouse units. We used secure, zero-clearance doors so that there is no space between the elevator door and the swing door.
  • Allow for an unobstructed, breathtaking view of the NYC skyline as soon as the door opens. This was also resolved by use of zero-clearance doors.
  • Provide UL label protection for all entrances. Columbia engineered a drywall swing frame that contained the UL label right on the swing entrance, as opposed to the sliding door. The sliding doors became simply decorative.

For the lower-level floors with two, or even four, units per floor, the elevators have regular, fire-rated UL entrances on the sliding door. Here we were able to provide support with a different design puzzle: include a built-light fixture into each entrance by using a “reverse” transom.

  • With traditional transoms, all you see is a jamb and two doors, and the transom is located right above the doors.
  • To reach the architect’s desired effect, we hung the transom down from the frame’s trim placed the transom one foot in front of the doors thereby hiding the light fixture and giving this fire-rated entrance a glow.
  • We replaced the typical 2-inch trim around the door with a hardly visible eighth of an inch-thick trim.
  • To maintain fire rating on this innovative design, we worked with UL and to get this jamb profile added to our procedure. Columbia Elevator was the first to ever built a reverse transom.

All of this was possible because Columbia Elevator was involved early on in the design phase. The architects liked the sleek and modern look so much that they decided to carry the look throughout the rest of the building. Everywhere - from the concierge desk to the pool and fitness center - features the same trim. In fact, my Estimating, Engineering, and Production teams like to say that the interior of 56 Leonard in NYC, was “elevated” because of Columbia’s creativity and design expertise!

If you have unique design issues for your elevators, contact our Customer Service Director or your Account Representative early in the process and we can successfully support your next project.









Leave a Comment