Architects and interior designers often ask about their options for creating egress doors with Skyfold’s vertically retracting walls.

After all, it’s best to avoid any pass-through doors in operable partitions because an egress door, with its gaps on all sides, hinges, door hardware, and other aspects, can significantly affect acoustic quality. It’s acoustically advantageous to have doors in fixed walls adjacent to operable partitions instead, if that’s possible. 

If a pass door becomes necessary, read on for several effective and creative solution options

First, know the building code

Knowing building code requirements can help any designer simply avoid the situation where an egress door must pass through an operable wall.

If a flexible space must accommodate no more than 49 people, for example, it’s simple. No second door is needed.  However, if the capacity is for 50 people or more, a second egress door will be required. It will also be necessary to know how far apart the doors need to be. (Typically, a second egress door must be placed at a distance of at least one-third the diagonal measurement of the room from the other door).

By nature of their design, a vertical operable wall that folds up into the ceiling cannot have a pass door in the wall itself like a horizontal, sliding-type wall can (where a hole can be cut in one of the 4-foot-wide (1.2m) panels—and a 3-foot-wide (0.9m) door be fashioned from similar panel construction). 


If a pass door is essential—and a vertically operable Skyfold wall is chosen because of its ability to deliver superior acoustics, more usable floor space and quick, hands-free operability—the following seven creative options specified by architects and interior designers alike can provide highly effective solutions.


A small “stub” wall that allows for a pass door is a very efficient option. The wall juts out into the space, and is an inexpensive and simple solution—in fact, the wall juts out less than a stack of horizontal panels would.  Whether the Skyfold wall is up or down, there is a spacious opening to walk through.


The “flapper” option is similar to having a stub wall, but in this case, the door folds flat against the perpendicular fixed wall, creating more open space when the Skyfold wall is retracted into the ceiling.


With the column/door combination, the Skyfold wall folds down and becomes flush with a column, creating the passageway on the other side. It looks similar to the stub wall, but the column can add a pleasing aesthetic touch (or a structural necessity). This option was chosen for the Falling Water Conference Center, for example.


This straightforward option efficiently uses a sliding door that can otherwise remain hidden in the adjacent fixed wall until needed.


Like the name suggests, this option uses two Skyfold walls that are slightly staggered. With this clever orientation, a pass door is created between them—an option chosen by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, for example.


With the “alcove” option, three Skyfold walls are put into a “T” formation, creating a small alcove area with two pass doors. It is also further possible to substitute one or two of the Skyfold walls.



There is more than one way to use the flexible “door nook” option. The nook can already be a part of the room or simply be cut into the fixed wall, which is perpendicular to the Skyfold wall.

With a wide variety of egress options, Skyfold walls can create the design you need

In short, there are many options to choose from when creating egress doors with Skyfold’s vertically retracting walls.

Not only do they provide practical and effective solutions, but they can also be a thing of beauty and exactly tailored to the specifications you need.

Just take a look at the following projects to see how these options worked their magic!

Salvation Army Egress wall