Wausau Helps InVision Architecture Bring Des Moines Condo Project to Life

A 90-year-old fixture of downtown Des Moines has been transformed from a former tire factory to a luxurious condominium tower. Opening the old brick walls to let daylight into the redesigned space and doing it within budget were keys in the success of the project. InVision Architecture enlisted Wausau Window and Wall Systems early in the design process to help bring Whiteline Lofts to life.

Wausau often partners with architects before a building design is complete to address any complexities with the design. In the case of Whiteline Lofts, several issues needed to be resolved to ensure a successful project. First, the building is part of Des Moines' Court Avenue District and had to follow strict design guidelines. It is also the tallest point for five blocks and has two floors added to the top of it for the penthouse units. Finally, the building's exposed concrete frame was not only a design consideration, but also a thermal concern.

InVision's project manager, Tom Feldmann, worked closely with Wausau's regional sales manager, Tim Nass, their engineering team, and Iowa representative Bob Syroka.

"I've lost count of the number of times they've visited us, the hours they spent talking to us," notes Feldmann.

"For decades architects have relied on us for their most complicated projects," says Tim Nass, regional sales manager with Wausau. "They trust us to make their project look good and work well. We can support their idea from a sketch on a napkin all the way through engineering, testing and manufacturing, until delivering a fabricated, finished system to the job site."

Early in the process, Wausau was able to help InVision identify a change that would help keep the project with budget. Instead of a custom curtainwall protruding from the building, the windows could be inset to maintain the shadow and depth that gives the building its distinguished characteristics.

This enabled InVision to specify its 4250 Series offset windows as part of the Advantage by Wausau line offering economically priced, pre-engineered products. These windows carry a limited warranty of up to 10 years and "with the litigious nature of condominium construction, we needed a product that will perform, but we also need a company to stand behind the product if something goes wrong," emphasizes Feldmann. "To us, this means our only choice is Wausau."

For Whiteline Lofts' balconies, Wausau provided its Terrace Doors, and for the two, new exterior stair towers, Wausau's SuperWall was used. The system's blue-tinted, low-e coating and argon gas-filled glass not only differentiates the residential building from the area's green-tinted office buildings, but also minimizes solar heat gain. "If clear glass had been used, I'm not sure anyone could have afforded the mechanical systems necessary to run this building," explains Feldmann. "We estimate the blue glass cuts the cost roughly in half."

"In the end... we took out nearly 20 percent from the building's original estimate," recalls Feldmann. He praises Wausau for their help, "They work with us hand-in-hand: What's the best way to flash this, the best way to install this, the most cost-effective system for this. By bringing them into our design process early, they've helped us solve problems that we weren't even aware of."

A total of 59 units ranging in size from 700- to 8,000-square-feet now fill the nine-story building. Situated close to the river and the rest of Downtown Des Moines, Whiteline's residents enjoy great views, as well as walking access to shops, dining and other entertainment. For leasing information, please see www.WhitelineLofts.com.

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