Is there an accepted term to refer to an exterior door in a building which is suspended above ground level so anybody exiting the building would immediately be met with a sheer drop? (Having been installed through miscommunication or building modification or deliberate design)

I've seen the term 'door to nowhere' or 'nowhere door' used to refer to a door that has an unusual position like this, but it also seems to refer to doors that open onto solid walls, and purely decorative non-functional doors set into walls, ceilings or floors.

The context is that I would like to be able to search for images and articles about these doors, their history and so on, but without a common term I haven't had any luck.

Is there a term specifically referring to elevated dangerous useless doors?

  • Is this really a common enough occurrence to warrant a name? – Barmar Mar 15 at 23:32
  • I've seen things like this in fantasy and dream sequences in TV/movie, I didn't know they existed in the real world. I'd call the outside of the door a cliff or precipice. I doubt the door itself has a special name. – Barmar Mar 15 at 23:34
  • This is an example. cynthiamvoss.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/… – Ketro Mar 15 at 23:36
  • Wow, weird. It looks like there used to be another part to the building, perhaps with a balcony that the door led to; the balcony was removed, but the door was left. – Barmar Mar 15 at 23:38
  • en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/… This is a deliberately installed door on the Winchester Mystery House, explicitly labelled 'door to nowhere' so that might be the closest to a real term unless somebody knows otherwise? – Ketro Mar 15 at 23:40

You may refer to it as an elevated entrance:

An elevated entrance is a type of entrance, common in the design of medieval castles, that is not accessible from ground level, but lies at the level of an upper storey [sic].

It is doubtful your examples are meant to serve as a security measure, but it sure seems to follow the same look and feel.

I did find one interesting justification for the existence of such an opening in modern structures. If the upper floor of a building has a need to load large items that cannot fit in the staircase or elevator, a large "door to nowhere" may be created to allow a crane to hoist the items up. See this death-door built into a public library.

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  • I've heard them called 'gantry doors.' No results for image search. – Hugh Mar 16 at 0:30

They are so stupid they defy definition but searching for architectural or engineering blunders or failures will usually throw up examples such as these


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