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Solis Luxury Apartments

Ornate Bifold Designer Doors From Schweiss Doors Are Focal Point At Seattle Passive House Luxury Apartments

Solis is no ordinary apartment building. Located in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood, on property where the headquarters of Seattle-based Fran's Chocolates once stood, the project is the end result of efforts by designers, visionaries and artisans to create a one-of-a-kind building targeting Passive House Certification. Not surprisingly, the doors marking the building's grand entrance are one-of-a-kind too. Featuring ornate custom grilles, they were manufactured by Fairfax, MN-based Schweiss Doors.

Solis is Latin for sun. The name is especially fitting since the building is owned by Solterra—an award-winning solar panel installation company whose projects can be found throughout the Pacific Northwest—and utilizes fresh air to improve the building’s air quality and significantly reduce its heating and cooling costs. The six-story building was designed by Weber Thompson architects and built by Cascade Built of Seattle. It features a mix of 45 studio, one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments.

For quite some time, many in the architectural and real estate industries have been trying to make buildings “green” by replacing conveniently made materials with sustainable ones, and installing energy-efficient systems that are less harmful to the planet. Seattle-based Weber Thompson has been at the forefront of this move to green and Solis is a prime example.

The firm’s Noelle Galicia says the project scored a perfect Energy Star 100 rating and was built using simple design strategies and conventional materials for a mere 10 percent construction cost premium.

“Weber Thompson and Solterra are pursuing Passive House level certification under the PHIUS+2015 requirements and have achieved very rigorous levels of energy efficiency,” Galicia says. “By moving circulation and common area to the exterior of the building, we were able to further reduce the volume of air-conditioned space.”

“This is the largest Passive House-certified multi-family building in Washington,” added Marc Coluccio, Solterra owner. “It used 70 to 80 percent less energy for heating and cooling. We are now over 60 percent occupied. This is like the healthiest place you can live in Seattle. Passive House buildings have better air, temperature control, etc. All the air is pulled in and filtered from the roof at 75-plus feet, where you get better air. The air inside is then replaced with fresh filtered air 12 times a day.”

Schweiss Doors’ role in the project included the fabrication of two 12’-10” by 15’-7” custom made designer bifold doors for the building’s main entrance. The bifold liftstrap doors have top-drive motors, an automatic latch system and door base safety edge construction.

The design team used the large bifold doors to create a “feature outdoor space.” This space holds the corner, provides interest and creates an extension of the adjacent 3,000-square-foot retail space at ground level. The doors are clad in laser-cut metal screens that, when open during the day, provide overhead weather protection and fully connect the space to the street with outdoor seating.

“We thought the bifold doors looked really cool when open and they provide a nice indoor/outdoor feel,” Coluccio says. “There’s a bakery/coffee shop there that has access to the outdoor space. There’s also a hair salon and wine and chocolate shop inside.”

The roof features a sundeck, green roof and dog run. Throughout the project are other sun-inspired touches such as sun-glazed Spanish tiles and Mediterranean lighting elements.

“The architectural design takes on a modern aesthetic that pays homage to the previous character structure by maintaining the original corner pedestrian scale with this featured protected open space,” Galicia says. “The white, lacey metal screen is reminiscent of ghosted brick and is supported by large wood columns that reveal themselves along the exterior façade.”

Weber Thompson was no stranger to the quality inherent with doors manufactured by Schweiss Door. The firm also specified the company’s products for its Pike Motorworks luxury apartment project at Seattle’s historic auto row on East Pike Street.

“Schweiss doors are a reliable and sturdy product and we like that they provide the ability to apply different finishes to customize them further,” Galicia says. “The porosity of the screen created layers of light to draw visual interest and views into the space. In addition to providing overhead weather protection during the day, lighting will be provided at night to create a lantern or beacon on the corner, allowing the screen to glow and cast a shadow onto the street.”

Peter Leonard of Overhead Door Company of Seattle oversaw the ordering and installation of the Schweiss bifold doors. “The bifold doors are mechanically great and they look sharp,” Leonard says. “One issue arose that was electrical related; one of the motors was fried due to incorrect wiring, but Schweiss sent out a new motor at no charge to us.”

About Schweiss Doors

Schweiss-logoBased in Fairfax, MN, Schweiss Doors is a leading manufacturer of bifold and hydraulic one-piece doors, and is an established leader in the design and manufacture of designer and custom doors for all types and sizes of buildings. No door is too small or too big for Schweiss Doors. The company has more than three decades of experience and has sold its doors worldwide. Key markets for the company’s doors are aviation, agriculture, commercial and industrial, but its products have been used in theaters, major league ballparks, homes, exclusive hotels and buildings of all types. To learn more, visit www.bifold.com or www.schweisshydraulicdoors.com.

And to learn about Schweiss' new Build Your Own Door Kit, which gives customers the plans and essential components to build their own Schweiss Doors, visit www.bifold.com/build-your-own-door.php.

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