Integrating technology in a 41-story building
In the heart of downtown Seattle is a 41-story luxury condominium building. Dubbed Spire, the tower features luxury condos, penthouses, and five floors of amenities all showcasing built-in technology, which was designed and installed by Washington integration company, Wipliance.
“Design and implementation in a building like this is a massive undertaking,” said Cameron Alavi, product manager/design engineer for Wipliance, adding that Wipliance was brought in at the beginning of building development to design and install the technology. “From start to finish, the project took four years.” By the end of the project, Wipliance had designed and installed technology in all 41-stories of the building.
Collaborating on a Large-Scale Project
Wipliance began working with the building developer, Laconia Development, on the technology needs at the very beginning of the building design. The building owners had a generalized concept they envisioned for the space. The building needed to offer a high-quality experience for future homeowners and the overall look was very important. There were a lot of collaborative ideas discussed and designed.
“There were several designs that didn’t make it into the building, and there were designs created last-minute that were included,” said Alavi. “Wipliance was given a lot of freedom to bring the design to life.”
Due to the scale and magnitude of the project, the entire team at Wipliance was involved, including the employees in the Scottsdale, Arizona branch. “At times we were rotating teams in and out of the building,” Wipliance owner Lee Travis said. “It was all hands-on deck for the team.”
As construction began on the building, the developers needed to get started on the residential sales right away. Wipliance created a model unit at the Spire off-site sales center to help potential homeowners get a feel for what they would be purchasing. Within the unit, a visualization center was designed, giving a full-scale VR “window” of views from each condo, which provides a sentimental feel for the buyers. Wipliance designed eleven different floor plans for homeowners to choose from when purchasing condos. The packages included lighting control and window treatments from Lutron along with an easy-to-use interface with Control4, all at different levels with upgrades available.
Spire had five floors of amenities including a two-story lobby, co-working spaces, fitness center, private theater, social club, private dining areas, and several outdoor terraces all integrated with technology.
The vision of the developers is seen throughout these spaces as Wipliance made sure the technology was clean, invisible, and of high quality. Custom Leon Edge Media Frames were designed and installed on the TV locations to conceal the mount and wiring as well. “The frames were a finishing touch detail that truly gave the entire install the quality it deserved,” said Melissa Mitchell, the marketing manager for Wipliance, “that attention to detail is what the project was about.”
Wipliance designed a customized Control4 automation solution to control all audio, video, and technology for the amenity spaces in the building. In-ceiling speakers from Origin Acoustics were installed to provide great audio while also being a low-profile solution. Outside, the Sound View Terraces were integrated with outdoor speakers from Focal allowing the audio to blend into the views of Seattle. The theater room design was simple, yet elegant as well, featuring in-wall speakers from Triad, providing top-quality immersive audio. An Epson Projector and Screen Innovations screen were installed for premium video and visibility to round out the space.
Shading was one of the largest projects for the building that Wipliance designed. “There is a lot more work in shades than people realize,” explained Alavi, “There is no such thing as a spec window size, every window is measured and remeasured before the shades are ordered.” Over 3,700 Lutron shades were installed in Spire, not only in the amenity spaces but in every residential space as well. Control 4 was also used to control the shades throughout the building. “Our shade team manager Emily Drivstuen did a spectacular job,” said Travis, “this was a large, complicated project and she pulled it off seamlessly.”
During a project of this size challenges always arise, and Spire was no exception. Normal supply chain issues come up, especially when ordering at the volume Wipliance needed. In addition, pricing fluctuated during the tenure of the build. “Prices quoted at the beginning of the project were not always the same two or three years later when we were ready to order,” explained Alavi. Wipliance overcame these challenges by relying on its partnerships and always having contingency plans.