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In the Door Way

Memphis Heritage and the local AIA begin "Adapt-a-Door" design challenge.

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Recently, Memphis Heritage found a way to do some recycling and generate some green stuff at the same time.

With the local branch of the American Institute of Architects, Memphis Heritage held the first "Donut Door Dash" last week at the historic Marine Hospital near the National Ornamental Metal Museum. About 125 people showed up to pick an old door from Memphis Heritage's inventory and transform each one into an original piece of furniture.

Participants were allowed into the building 10 at a time to choose their doors. As they waited in line, they eyed each other nervously.

"It's the closest thing we've got to The Jerry Springer Show," Memphis Heritage director June West said.

As part of its mission, Memphis Heritage tries to preserve historic properties from demolition. When it can't, the organization often tries to save anything in the building that might be of historical value, such as windows and doors.

"We usually sell the doors at our auction, but we had so many that this was a way for us to involve the community, and it's also recycling," West said. "These doors would end up in the dump, so we see this as our green door event."

The teams have 11 weeks to produce their furniture.

"We'll go in the fourth wave," said door-dasher and architect Amber Fournier, "so we'll get what we get."

She plans to work with her husband. "We have a lot of ideas, so I don't want to commit to one. We'll come up with something interesting, I'm sure," she said.

So far, the fund-raiser is a success.

"It's the first, so we don't know how it's going to turn out, but we were thrilled with the number of people," West said. "I didn't dream we'd get more than 25 entries, and we've had well over 90."

Final pieces will be posted on the Memphis Heritage and AIA Memphis websites, including before and after pictures of the doors. Selected pieces will be on display during July's trolley art tour on South Main, and the final works will be included in a silent auction in August.

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