Last Look

Door to door

How a well-crafted set of doors was built—and preserved.

Arnold Gold

Arnold Gold

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Next time you go past Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, better known as SSS, stop and admire the pair of doors facing Grove Street. They date from 1931 and, says millwork and painting supervisor Michael Pizzella, were built “the way they used to build.” All the joints holding the pieces of wood together were traditional wooden mortise and tenon (peg and hole) joints.

That’s still true, even though most of the outer doors on SSS are now virtually new. Yale’s recently formed on-campus millwork team replaced much of the wood—just one project in a renovation that will eventually update hundreds of doors on central campus. The team made a point of replicating the original design and “sticking to the same principles,” Pizzella notes. As for the door’s iron grillwork, it was removed, refinished, and reinstalled. “One hundred years from now,” he adds, “I want them to look at those doors and say, ‘Holy cow, who built those?’”

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