Entrances Meet Tough Luxury Apartment Specs

Entrances and two different doors meet non-standard design specs and fight Lake Michigan winds in a Chicago luxury apartment complex.

The 500 Lake Shore Drive apartment complex in Chicago is a sight to behold. At 57 stories, the 62,000-sq.-ft. building offers tenants two club rooms, a movie room, a library, a rooftop pool with a fire pit, and a landscaped terrace. It provides not only five-star service, but also captivating views.Each unit, from compact studio apartments to spacious penthouses, is equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows and open floor plans to expand the versatility of smaller spaces. As the complex was designed, every feature and component was carefully considered so they would be an aesthetic and functional fit.Developer Related Midwest, Chicago, and architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz, Chicago, selected Dorma Americas, Reamstown, PA, to provide and install the main doors for the project. Dorma had the product line to meet the design requirements and the expertise to fabricate the custom east and west entrances.

A high-end challenge

According to Angus MacMillan, Dorma national sales manager, “The primary design challenge that the architect presented to us was the need for a complex solid-metal entrance and vestibule on the west entrance—an area with vertical walls that have a slight radius/bowing on each side.”

“The metal that Solomon Cordwell Buenz specified for the east and west entry areas necessitated something more than a standard solution,” explained MacMillan. “Dorma couldn’t readily form and weld parts together to make it work.”

In addition, the west and east entrances have a specific subway-tile pattern that needed to be carried through in the solution.

A sophisticated solution

The east side of the building faces Lake Michigan and wind is a factor. To minimize air infiltration, a manual revolving door was used.

Dorma workers began by building a secure sub-frame assembly to which they clad the metal used in the building. That maintained the specific subway-tile design, while meeting all other requirements. “Because it was on a radius wall rather than a flat wall, each piece had to be individually cut and rolled,” MacMillan said.

For the custom vestibule entrance on the west side, the architect wanted minimal metal in the door area, so they decided on Dorma’s ESA Fine Frame with an ESA400 automatic sliding door. In addition to its aesthetic appeal, this combination provides excellent weather-sealing qualities.

“The architect wanted the header and carrier for the sliding doors to be concealed within the solid-metal vestibule structure, so we designed this entrance to conceal the headers and create access panels that would allow for installation and service of the doors,” explained MacMillan. The automatic sliding doors on the west entrance allow residents to enter and exit the building with ease when carrying luggage, toting groceries, or walking their pets.

At the east entrance, the Crane 4000 series manual revolving door was selected. With the east side of the building facing Lake Michigan, it’s prone to a lot of wind. The Crane 4000 provides easy access with minimal air infiltration.

“Both the aesthetic and functional aspects of the entrances were of the utmost importance on the 500 Lake Shore Drive project,” said MacMillan. “With the ESA Fine Frame, the Crane 4000 revolving door, and custom fabrication and installation, we were able to create access areas that uphold the sophistication of the complex while providing ease of use and convenience to residents and guests.”