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Building: Caroline Luxury Apartments Location: Charleston, SC Product: Thermiser® Insulated Rolling Door
Project Background
Located in the heart of Charleston, SC, Caroline Luxury Apartments is an artistically inspired mixed-use residential community. Featuring a broad selection of customized floorplans and an amenity list a mile long, it has become a sought-after destination in the city’s WestEdge neighborhood. Known for its cafes, restaurants, art galleries and easy access to activities along the Ashley River, WestEdge is a popular neighborhood where residents expect a blend of safety, security, design and features.
New from the ground up, the “Caroline” features 237 units spread across five floors. While each apartment offers a unique combination of refinement and customization, the design and installation of the oversize rolling door serving the loading dock area stands out for its thoughtful integration and robust construction – something that has helped protect the building from back-to-back hurricanes.
Thanks to the design and engineering prowess of CornellCookson – and the ingenuity of ACME Doors – the facility has a safe, secure, temperature-controlled and weather-resistant access point that masks an unsightly yet very necessary part of the building.
Design Challenges
One of the major challenges in specifying a door for the facility’s loading dock and trash collection area was finding a product that could do everything well. It needed to be attractive yet durable, fast yet quiet, and stand up to brutal temperatures in the summer and extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tropical depressions in the fall. Since the Caroline is located less than 1/5 of a mile from the water’s edge, this was a major concern.
Another major challenge was the timeline of the project. The building was already under construction when bids were sent out to rolling door contractors. When companies started responding, it became clear that the structure and headspace surrounding the loading dock would not accommodate an insulated rolling door without major compromises or a serious redesign of the structure.
In order to find the right fit, the general contractor tapped the expertise of Ric Morsch at ACME Doors. The CornellCookson distributor, which has been in business since 1969, won the bid based on its experience and design capabilities. Morsch first took field measurements and adapted CornellCookson drawings to fit the opening. The new drawings were presented to the general contractor, who modified the original opening to match the new drawings. Since the opening was already completed, this meant modifying the structure to properly mount the door.
“The architect designed a thin slot that extended into the concrete ceiling of the loading dock area. In theory, this would make the head unit invisible and allow the door to retract into a small space – hiding it from view,” explained Morsch. “However, this design created nearly impossible constraints when it came to mounting the motor and head unit into the opening – not to mention servicing the door in the future.”
Morsch quickly involved CornellCookson to work alongside the building engineer and general contractor. Together they redesigned the structure to allow the door to fit into the header. They built headspace around the unit as well as developed access panels for any potential service or maintenance. This ensured that the large rolling door would fit and would provide ingress and egress for delivery trucks, garbage collection, and maintenance vehicles – in addition to protection against the elements.
A Sensible Solution
The solution to the series of challenges at the Caroline was a custom Thermiser® Insulated Rolling Door by CornellCookson. Designed for exterior use, this innovative product helps maintain different temperatures on each side of the door – a major necessity for a city that averages 90+ degrees during the summer months. “Thermiser was a good fit for the Caroline facility as it combines climate control with security, and complements the light brick facade,” said Morsch. “Since this is a residential and retail facility, visitors and residents don’t want to see a tractor trailer being unloaded outside while they shop or lounge by the pool, located directly above the loading dock on the second level of the facility.”
Thermiser doors offered additional benefits as well. They roll up compactly (critical for the small head space), require little to no maintenance and deliver a low life cycle cost. The door can also be configured to meet a maximum operational wind load of 20 PSF. Foamed in place insulation offers superior protection against the elements, improved security and reduced sound transmission. In fact, Thermiser features a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of up to 30 for the curtain and up to 18 for the entire assembly – helping seal the building envelope while keeping excess noise at bay.
“The performance and durability aspects of the new door are unmatched,” explained David Burke, maintenance manager for the Caroline. “It helps maintain the luxury aesthetics of the complex while being easy to operate – allowing the vast majority of maintenance and day-to-day activities of the commercial spaces to happen out of view of residents.”
The true power of the door came into focus not long after the completion of the project. As Hurricane Florence barreled up the coast in 2018, thousands of residents evacuated Charleston. Located less than 1/5 of a mile from the coastline, the Caroline was subjected to heavy wind loads and flying debris.
“The door stood up to the storm and had no damage,” said Burke. “The same thing was true when Hurricane Dorian hit Charleston this year,” he added. “We’ve never lost a day or minute of work thanks to this door. It’s helped make our lives easier and safer.”


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