Designing and engineering a glass door in Miami’s High-Velocity Hurricane Zones comes with many challenges, especially when a clean aesthetic is one of the architect’s top priorities. The team at Dash Door, based in Miami, rose up to the challenge despite initial concerns about design requests for the Jade Signature Condos.

To achieve a narrow profile, Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron requested that the door leaves be mounted directly to the curtainwall without any door sub-jambs.

“There were tight tolerances as far as levelness and plumb. The door could drag and bind,” says Steve Sanko, CEO of Dash Door. “There was a lot of back and forth. We saw it as an unnecessary barrier in the early design phase, but I’m glad we pushed through because it’s an attractive detail.”

Creating hurricane-resistant doors without a threshold that could meet Florida Building Codes was another major hurdle.

According to Sanko, the architects wanted to preserve the entrance floor’s terrazzo pattern. Eliminating a threshold would also prevent people from tripping and allow for bags to roll through the door smoothly. Dash Door coordinated with the terrazzo subcontractor to create a flush, removable terrazzo cover to conceal auto operator units built in-ground.

Dash Door requested that a pole be installed on the property to provide wind data to a programmable logic controller. The controller sends a signal to each operator when winds are at unsafe speeds. At high wind speeds, doors can act as sails, and in extreme cases, be ripped off their hinges. The programmable logic controller will turn a wind dampener on to prevent the door from being opened or closed by the wind in a way that is unsafe to pedestrians.

Hurricane conditions were simulated in a lab to ensure that the custom locking receivers worked in testing.

The project’s storefront features an inswing with a panic device. Dash Door’s manufacturer, Enviralum Industries, created a custom panic guard to prevent a large missile or projectile from hitting the panic device and opening the door during a high-speed wind event. The guard takes the impact as a removable cage.

“The guard is temporarily installed on the door so it won’t open and the envelope will be less likely to be damaged,” says Sanko. “We trained the facility mangers on how to install the device, then go through another door to re-enter the building.”

The Jade Signature Condos were completed in January 2018.

“The owner was committed to pushing the envelope on every detail and the architects pushed for seamless cladding,” says Sanko. “It was difficult in the beginning, but when you look at this building aesthetic you can tell it’s different and was created with attention to detail. When I see the doors, I get it.”