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DCD Design Cost Data

Solace Apartments

Retnauer Baynes Associate Architects

Posted: April 7, 2021 | Projects

Solace Apartments replaced an abandoned motel that was once a haven for drug dealers and the homeless. The original site was well known by the police as an unsavory nexus for numerous illegal activities.

Photo Courtesy Jonathan Edwards, Tom Retnauer

With the marsh backdrop and the Virginia Beach Town Center on the horizon, the Solace site lived up to its revival as a crossroads for multi-family living in Virginia Beach. Sited on a main travel corridor, yet situated to enjoy early sunrises over the estuary, the project has become a favorite of many people moving to Virginia Beach. 

Designed as a contiguous structure, the building twists and turns as it meanders along the site. Developing the parking areas along the travel route allowed for the building to hug the river and provide exciting vistas from all angles. The interplay of the apartment blocks allows those living here privacy and respite, while aiding in forging a complete community.

The architecture reflects the coastal nature of the site. Broad overhangs, large windows to enjoy the views, dormers reminiscent of historic beach cottages, and the casual colors of the project all combine to create a design that feels at home with the beach. Using planar architectural rules, each plane of the building receives a certain color and material combination. Using these rules, the building defines the façade on all sides, creating true 4-side architecture.

The building footprint meanders along the site, allowing for the majority of units to enjoy the surrounding natural environment. Using a concrete podium design under a portion of the building allowed for the parking field to be greatly reduced, therefore increasing access of the remaining portions of the site to the environment. The site plan is extremely efficient, with double-loaded drive aisles and head-in parking along the roadside portion of the site. Entrances dispersed around the perimeter allow for easy entry, while providing the necessary security. The efficiency of the site layout allows for a higher density while decreasing the impervious area. The recreation area is sited to take advantage of the natural sun path, and allows for the pool area to receive the maximum amount of sunlight during the day.

Building materials were selected for their durability and economics. The base of the building utilizes a split-face CMU veneer, which grounds the building and provides the durability and protection needed to withstand the climate. Above this veneer, the planar design dictates the use of materials around the façade. Using mostly durable synthetic materials, the façade is designed to withstand days of bright sunlight while staying in place during a hurricane.

The interior design is all about welcoming the tenants home at the end of the day. The use of large openings, informal colors, and high-quality materials provides a respite for people trying to forget about the day’s headaches. Taking advantage of the roof area on the top floor, the uppermost apartments utilize an open loft to create warmth and volume. This volume -- when combined with the dormers -- is unique in our area, and allows one to go back in time when ceiling shape was a leading design tool.

Building Envelope: Mitten Vinyl Siding
Roofing: CertainTeed
Windows: Ply Gem
Flooring: Shaw
Interior: USG
Lighting: Lutron
Elevator: Otis

Retnauer Baynes Associate Architects
432 Battlefield Boulevard, S., #101
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Structural Engineer 
Sinclair Pratt Cameron Structural Engineers
1630 Donna Drive, #103
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Mechanical & Electrical Engineer
PM&E Design Group
291 Independence Boulevard, #423
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Civil Engineer
5033 Rouse Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

General Contractor & Cost Estimator
Home Associates of Virginia, Inc.
3780 Shore Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23455

Landscape Architect
RDA Landscape Architecture
173 7th Street
Saint James, NY 11780

Date Bid: April 2013 
Construction Period:  April 2013 to July 2014          
Total Square Feet:  331,681
Site: 10.61 acres.
Number of Buildings: One; 252 units, 1 garage. 
Building Sizes: Garage,14,739; first floor, 61,437; second floor, third & fourth floors, 76,176 each; fifth floor, 26,977;  total, 331,681 square feet.  
Building Height: Garage, 11’ 9.25”; first floor, 11’ 9.25”; second floor 10’ 9.25”; each additional floor, 10’ 9.25” each; total, 71’.  
Basic Construction Type: New.
Foundation: Reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade. 
Exterior Walls: CMU, vinyl siding.
Roof: Asphalt shingles. 
Floors:  Wood. 
Interior Walls: CMU, wood stud drywall.

Click here to view the full cost details for this project in the March/April 2021 issue of DCD