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Window replacement can be sensitive.

Replacing the windows in a 75-year old landmark academic building is a formidable challenge, especially when detailed historic components require restoration to retain the aesthetic character of the structure.

This situation calls for thorough condition assessment and planning to minimize loss of critical classroom space during the implementation.

Wank Adams Slavin Associates recently completed the window replacement project for Keating Hail, a grand Gothic style collegiate building on the Rosehill campus of Fordham University in the Bronx. The 900 original double-hung wooden windows were in such terrible condition that they were beginning to fall out. Although the academic hail is not yet a designated landmark, the building has been proposed for landmark status. Historically, it serves as the focal point of the Fordham campus and a symbol of the venerable college.

Although restoration of windows should always be considered initially, the results of this condition assessment indicated that restoration of the wooden windows was impractical. Because the 900 windows had to be replaced, a sensitive approach was formulated through an analysis of the condition of each window type and each element of the window in order to prescribe specific treatment for the various components. Thus, a total rip-out was avoided.

To preserve the significant historic fabric, all of the unique architectural details were salvaged. These included the elaborate wood decorative tracery on the window exteriors, the leaded glass metal casements in the interior, courtyard, and the stained glass windows. The configuration of the new window replacements was designed to address the specific job conditions. This resulted in a triple-hung window with a double-track frame. A prototype for the new design was fabricated and factory tested to insure that it complied with the architect's specifications.

The installer, Skyline Windows Inc. of New York, assembled a team for the project, which included a window fabrication shop, Graham Windows, York, Pennsylvania, and their dedicated onstaff restorers. Working with this team, the ornamental trim on the wooden double hung windows was replicated in aluminum. the metal casements were refurbished, and the historic elements were restored.

In addition, Skyline Windows was creatively able to minimize the rip-out of the existing windows by leaving the portion of old flaming embedded in the wall. The shop drawings for the re. placement were carefully reviewed by the owner and the architect to insure that the completed work did alter. the original sight lines; what we saw before, we see now.

The new windows are painted aluminum with thermally broken flames and include clear insulated glass units. All sash are operable and tilt in for cleaning and maintenance.

As a result of the minimal rip-out, the restoration work and the window design, the project was completed in eight months, saving Fordham University a significant amount of time and money. Not only are the replacement windows a dramatic improvement over the appearance of the old weathered windows, but they will also provide significant long term energy saving benefits.

As this project demonstrates, careful planning and analysis can go a long way when reconstruction work is necessary on historic buildings. The process, though difficult. need not prove any more costly than a less comprehensive approach.
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Title Annotation:Architecture & Interior Design; window replacement for buildings deemed historical landmarks requires special planning
Author:Franco, Leonard
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Dec 16, 1992
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