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Ornate bifold designer doors from Schweiss Doors are focal point to entrance of Seattle Passive House luxury apartments
FAIRFAX, Minn., November 4, 2021 – Architects, visionaries and artisans converged to create a one-of-a-kind building targeting Passive House Certification on Solis Luxury Apartments. The new project is named “Solis,” which is Latin for sun. All this is sculpting a new era in Seattle that aims to achieve better air quality and up to a 70 percent energy reduction for heating and cooling needs.

Solterra, an award-winning solar installation company, owns the apartment complex. The six-story project, designed by Weber Thompson architects and built by Cascade Built of Seattle, targeted the Passive House certification. Solterra’s passion for innovation, sustainability and making a positive difference is what motivates the company to be leaders in the industry.

Schweiss Doors played a part in this with its inclusion of two 12-foot, 10-inch by 15-foot, 7-inch custom made decorator designer bifold doors. The bifold liftstrap doors have top-drive motors, an automatic latch system and door base safety edge construction.

For quite some time, many in the architectural and real estate industries have been trying to make buildings “green,” replacing conveniently made materials with sustainable ones and installing energy-efficient systems that are less harmful to the planet. The Seattle architecture firm of Weber Thompson has been at the forefront of incorporating this into their building designs. The Solis Luxury Apartments, which were built to Passive House standards and are currently in certification, are a prime example.

The site on which this new urban apartment sits used to be home to Fran’s Chocolates headquarters and is located in the heart of the Capitol Hill’s Pike-Pine corridor. It consists of a 45-unit mix of studios, and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

“This is the largest Passive House-certified multi-family building in Washington,” says 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.”

Noelle Galicia of Weber Thompson 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.”

The materials used on the project focused on creating a unique detailed base with a supporting upper-level treatment focused on enhancing the pedestrian experience in Capitol Hill.

The design team used 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, you will find 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 also used Schweiss Doors bifold doors on 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 Doors is the premier manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doors. Doors are custom made to any size for any type of new or existing building for architects and builders determined to do amazing things with their buildings, including the doors. Schweiss also offers a cable to liftstrap conversion package. For more information, visit www.bifold.com.

Photo Captions:

Solis1: Solis Luxury Apartment complex in Seattle, Wash., is a truly unique building in a category all its own. It blends luxury living with uncompromising passive energy standards. Two ornate Schweiss 12-feet, 10-inch by 15-feet, 7-inch designer doors were used at the entrance point. (Photo Copyright Meghan Montgomery)

Solis2: The bifold doors remain open for most of the day and into the evening. When they are closed, they still provide a nice indoor/outdoor feel. There’s a bakery/coffee shop, chocolate shop and hair salon just inside the doors. (Photo Copyright Meghan Montgomery)

Solis3: The architecturally laser cut white metal lacey design on the doors allows lighting at night to cast a glow and shadow onto the sidewalk and street outside the building. (Photo Copyright Meghan Montgomery)

Solis4: A walk-through door to the left of one of the bifold doors gives residents an alternate entry point when the bifold doors are closed in the evening after the businesses inside are closed for the night. (Photo Copyright Meghan Montgomery)

Solis5: The ornate gridwork on the bifold doors and matching building gridwork makes for a nice place for people to congregate outside their apartments and enjoy a nice circulating breeze and filtered sunlight. Here you can see the top-drive motor and white liftstraps. (Photo Copyright Meghan Montgomery)

Solis6: The Solis luxury apartments are located in the heart of the Capitol Hill’s Pike-Pine corridor nightlife and social scene, just steps from the city’s best eclectic collection of eateries and global cuisine to suit any palette. Solis is within walking distance of grocery stores, schools, parks and more. (Photo Copyright Meghan Montgomery)

Solis7: The Passive-House certification for this 45-unit apartment complex means it is easy on the earth, easier on your wallet by lowering energy bills and better for your health by constantly circulating purified air through the apartment units. The two Schweiss bifold liftstrap doors here are shown in the closed position. (Photo Copyright Meghan Montgomery)