April 2011

Along with these historic renovation case studies, we present a roundup of the latest window developments, including a new line of custom tilt & turn options.

By Rita Catinella Orrell

Brewers & Baptisms: Two Case Studies
Featuring three pagoda- like towers designed to conceal grain elevators, the American Brewery Building in East Baltimore was originally erected in 1887. Abandoned for over 30 years, the building fell into disrepair, along with the neighborhood surrounding it.

American Brewery Building in East Baltimore
Photo courtesy Marvin Windows and Doors
View a slideshow of the latest window products.

After sitting in disrepair for over 30 years, the American Brewery Building in East Baltimore was recently renovated by architects Cho Benn Holback + Associates. This video shows how the project team tackled the tricky window renovation.

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A registered historic landmark, the project caught the eye of Humanim, a human services organization serving Maryland that hoped a renovation of the 60,000-square-foot building would kick-start a neighborhood revitalization.

Marvin Signature Products and Services was selected to tackle the project’s challenging window restoration. Created in 1997, Signature works on several hundred projects a year, ranging from very large to a single installation. For this project, they were chosen for their ability to meet goals of historic accuracy, energy efficiency, and cost.

Baltimore-based architectural firm Cho Benn Holback + Associates used historic photos and the project’s two remaining windows to determine how to replicate the original fenestration. As a significant number of window frames were repairable, sash replacement was a viable option. In total, Signature supplied 115 sash replacement units and 77 complete window replacement units. At least 20 different shapes of double-hung and round-top windows were involved, plus special casings, mouldings, and divided lite patterns. “The variety of historic detail made it one of the more interesting projects,” says Maura Williams, marketing communications project manager with Signature.

A little over a decade after the American Brewery Building went up, St. Mary’s Parish in Potsdam, New York, was busy with its own project — carefully installing stained glass windows into its new church. Last year, that glass was removed from the original pine windows and Signature was contracted to help replicate the decaying window frames, this time in Honduran mahogany. The project consisted of 15 exterior and interior Gothic Revival units, including a 14-by-23-foot rose window.

Precise measurements were critical to the project, as the large- scale wood window frames had to fit both the stone openings, which had weathered and settled over a century, and the original stained glass, which had been removed and would be replaced in the new units. “Realistic planning for this kind of project is crucial,” says Signature project manager Todd Dalen. “All the different processes need to have a realistic time frame, starting with getting accurate measurements and part drawing files from the designer.” Signature called on Halifax, Nova Scotia–based Jerry MacNeil Architects Limited to do a forensic inspection of the wood windows, and then measure and provide part drawings. The firm used tacheometric survey software in combination with rectified photography to capture measurements digitally.

BIM and CAD/CAM technology, cyber models, and cutter designs downloaded directly to Signature’s CNC equipment allowed the window fabrication to be a paperless (and prayer-free) process. Signature Windows and Doors, Warroad, Minn. [Reader Service: April 2011, #200]

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