The vision of the American Institute of Architects and AIA Atlanta and Georgia is “Driving Positive Change through the Power of Design.” When AIA Atlanta and Georgia moved into new offices, an exhaustive search led to the specifying of a bifold liftstrap door from Schweiss Doors at the entry on the main wall facing the front of the building.
Chartered in 1953, AIA Georgia consists of close to 2,000 members in seven local chapters. The new offices, located at the Woodruff Volunteer Center in downtown Atlanta, feature a bifold liftstrap door measuring 17 feet, 6-1/2 inches by 14 feet, 2 inches.
“We came up with the idea out of necessity for a transformative and flexible space,” says Aaron Albrecht, Designer at 5G Studio Collaborative, an Atlanta firm with nearly 50 design architects on staff. “It needed to accommodate both private board meetings and public lectures. We had not seen a display like this anywhere else. This bifold door fit the parameters for the space perfectly!”
The offices of AIA Georgia and Atlanta host many art/design and construction galas and galleries, as well as continuing education seminars for architects, builders and contractors. The office is also a venue for many design competitions for local architects and businesses, followed by awards ceremonies and open juries within the main space. The door is the main focus with its pivotal function in the versatility of the new office space.
The Schweiss bifold door has jambs on either side of the door in the shape of small flanges, custom-made by a steel fabricator. The bifold liftstrap door has gray straps and electric photo eye sensors. The exterior cladding is a forest-free product by Eutree. It was freshly milled from salvaged white oak trees, quarter-sawn.
Jamie Murchison, senior project manager of Structor Group of Atlanta, oversaw the interior fit-out for the office space. He and his superintendent, Ben Bennett, were crucial in securing a subcontractor for the install, scheduling the install with the landlord, tenant, architect, subcontractor and security. They guided the install and made sure the structure was in place to fit the door to within 1/16th of an inch for the best look and acoustic performance.
“The door was chosen uniquely for its bifold design to fit within the space requirements of the office,” Albrecht says. “There was less than a foot of clearance between the edge of the folded bifold door and 16-foot-tall exterior storefront glass. No other system would have worked to allow the space to open up 14 feet tall in a 7-foot, 8-inch corridor. We also needed to have a vertical lifting door in order to not lose program space to folding doors on the sides. Schweiss had the best solution for our unique challenge.
“The people at Schweiss Doors were tremendously helpful in identifying the limits of the door’s potential and how to match the architecture to the specific door size for the best fit possible.”
Accordion doors, vertical lift doors and others for interior and exterior use were researched for the project. Albrecht says he first learned of bifold doors while researching large-scale openings and closures in wall surfaces.
“The bifold door is in operation nearly every week, accommodating dozens of different seating configurations in the allowed space,” Albrecht says. “It is an excellent product with a broad selection of options for both indoor and outdoor uses.”
Each month, principals, executives and senior leaders from Atlanta architecture firms meet at the AIA Principals Roundtable to hear about and discuss matters of mutual interest and relevance to their business and industry. Each meeting includes a presentation/program followed by a Q&A or a moderated roundtable discussion relevant to the attendees’ work and positions. Program topics typically fall into the general categories of design, business trends/best practices, architectural education, local/political issues, environmental issues and technology and innovation.
Nearly 100 people attended the grand opening event at the new AIA headquarters, with a majority of attendees among architects and general contractors from the Atlanta metro area and the state of Georgia.
Cutlines for the photos at the left are below, in corresponding order, top to bottom.
AIA-HQ1: A Schweiss 17-foot, 6-1.2 inch x 14-foot, 2-inch bifold liftstrap designer door was chosen for its bifold design to fit within tight space requirements at the new AIA headquarters building in Atlanta, Georgia.
AIA-HQ2: The bifold door has custom jambs on either side of the door, gray liftstraps and electric photo eye sensors. The exterior cladding is a forest free product by Eutree, freshly milled, salvaged from white oak trees, quarter-sawn.
AIA-HQ3: Because there was less than a foot of clearance between the edge of the folded bifold door and 16-foot tall exterior storefront glass, no other system than a bifold door would have worked. Schweiss Doors engineers made sure the door would fit to within 1/16th of an inch for the best look and performance.
AIA-HQ4: The bifold door is in use constantly to accommodate dozens of different seating configurations for various meetings of senior architects and contractors and for public lectures.
AIA-HQ5: The Schweiss Doors bifold door, placed at the entry on the main wall, is facing the front of the building on Edgewood Avenue in downtown Atlanta.