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Preserving The Window On History

A university building in Washington is renovated with special attention paid to its arched-top historical windows. It’s the school’s laudable effort in preserving window history.

George Evans
Dec 06, 202324 Shares23536 Views
It may not be a priority nor a requirement for some, but for one American learning institution, it places significance on preserving window history.
The 120-year-old McDonald-Smith building, located in the Union Station Historic District on the campus of the University of Washington-Tacoma (UW Tacoma), underwent reconstruction and renovation and opened for Academic Year 2015-2016.
The renovation included Mission Glass from Tumwater, Washington, installing more than 116 4250i-XLT INvent Retro series simulated double-hung, arched top, fixed windows by Wausau Window and Wall Systems from Wausau, Washington.

University Of Washington-Tacoma

Established in 1990, UW Tacoma provides an 18:1 faculty-student ratio for an enrollment of 4,629 students.
The 46-acre campus consists of 21 buildings with a total of 627,664 square feet (sq. ft.) of active space.
Much of the space is nestled in converted landmark structures built in the late 1880s through the early 1930s at the western terminus for the transcontinental railroad system.
Today, many of these structures are overseen by the Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission to ensure renovations meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings.

UW Tacoma’s Preservation Efforts

The historic, four-story McDonald-Smith building was erected in 1892 for E.A. McDonald and F.C. Smith who were in the wholesale hay, grain, and feed business that flourished along Pacific Avenue at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Like several of its neighbors in Tacoma’s Union Station Historic District, the Younglove Grocery Co. later acquired the building for its operations.
Most recently, the building had been converted into mixed-use artists’ housing and retail spaces.
In 2006, UW Tacoma purchased the McDonald-Smith property.
In 2014, it was one of two remaining landmark buildings on the campus awaiting renovation.
As part of an $11-million renovation project, the university modified the existing historic building for additional office and meeting spaces to support the continued campus growth.
Connection to the adjacent, renovated Cherry Parkes building integrates the space within the Tacoma campus.
Planning and design for the project started in 2014, led by Bassetti Architects from Seattle, Washington, and guided by the campus’ master plan.
Along with the window replacement, the building renovation includes:
  • a new roof
  • a new mechanical and electrical system
  • code-required structural upgrades
  • structural openings to tie the building into the neighboring Cherry Parkes building
  • a renovation of approximately 30,000 sq. ft. on floors one through three, with faculty offices and seminar space
Jordan Kiel, AIA, LEED AP, an associate principal at Bassetti Architects, explained:
The single-pane wood windows were original to the building and were in poor shape, especially on the west side of the building.- Jordan Kiel, AIA, LEED AP
Kiel continued:
As the building owner, UW Tacoma wanted something with more modern performance that met the historic requirements, but wasn’t an operable window.- Jordan Kiel, AIA, LEED AP
He added:
The Landmarks Commission was particularly concerned that the profiles of the new window frames matched the historic windows as closely as possible.- Jordan Kiel, AIA, LEED AP

Landmark Status

The Landmarks Preservation Commission uses the Union Station Design Guidelines to evaluate the appropriateness of proposed alterations.
To meet the guidelines and address the commission’s concerns, several options were researched.
Those who presented their recommendations to the commission were:
  • Bassetti Architects
  • general contractor M. A. Mortenson from Kirkland, Washington
  • Jeannie Natta, project manager of major capital projects
  • UW Tacoma’s Milt Tremblay, director of physical planning and sustainability
Jeannie Natta said:
This was the first project using extruded-aluminum framed windows that had been approved by the commission. In past campus renovations of similar heritage buildings, UW Tacoma used an aluminum-clad wood window.- Jeannie Natta
Natta continued:
In this case, given the unique arch of the McDonald-Smith windows and that 17 different custom arched window openings exist on the building, the team was challenged to find the best product to use.- Jeannie Natta
She added:
We pursued approval to use the Wausau aluminum window for the advantages identified.- Jeannie Natta
Those advantages included: “superior craftsmanship, similar sightlines, closer brickmold profiles” and “fewer long-term warranty issues.”
Natta emphasized that the “continuous clean edge” of Wausau’s extruded-aluminum windows was especially appealing in matching the historic look.
Jordan Kiel further explained:
Wausau’s simulated double-hung fixed windows were able to meet all of these needs and match the arched openings. They have offset glass planes to give the appearance of historic double-hungs.- Jordan Kiel, AIA, LEED AP
He continued:
You wouldn’t know it without studying the building, but each of those arched tops is slightly different, including some very complex curved radius designs. Wausau rose to the occasion.- Jordan Kiel, AIA, LEED AP
Jeff Nickel, president of Mission Glass, agreed and said:
I am highly impressed with Wausau’s historical windows. Wausau’s ability to take a .dwg file of the shop drawings and fabricate from those was incredibly valuable considering the custom radiuses on the project.- Jeff Nickel
Nickel added:
Their product is first rate, and so was the service. Their product was fantastic in terms of quality and lead time.- Jeff Nickel
Wausau’s product-pricing specialist, Kyle Wilkowski, said:
If it wasn’t for the help of Mission Glass and Mortenson Construction, we would have not had this great opportunity to display a beautiful product that can present a pleasing historical look inside and outside of the building.- Kyle Wilkowski
Wilkowski continued:
The cove profile and black color finish also played a factor in creating the historical look.- Kyle Wilkowski
He added:
When we can do windows in these larger sizes, correct profiles, and use a finish from Linetec [from Wausau, Washington] to keep the look, it will impress many along the way.- Kyle Wilkowski
Nickel also said:
Wausau had a variety of trims and moldings to match existing conditions and its insulated thermal products offer significant savings in all areas.- Jeff Nickel

Metal Finisher Linetec

To fabricate the windows’ arched tops, Linetec handled the stretch forming to curve the 4 7/8-inch-deep aluminum frames.
It painted the frames and trim in a Black Panther color.
Using a two-coat, 70 percent PVDF resin-based coating, Linetec helped extend the window-systems’ lifespan and reduce maintenance costs.
It also provided the extra-wide polyamide thermal barriers.
Combined with high-performing glass, this helps Wausau’s INvent windows achieve NFRC U-Factors as low as 0.35 BTU/hour per square foot in Fahrenheit with Frame Condensation Resistance Factor (CRFf) of 61 and higher.

Wonderful Wausau Windows

Wausau’s INvent Retro series windows are AAMA AW-100 Architectural Performance Class rated.
These products are tested to meet or exceed AAMA 910-10 lifecycle testing to 4,000 operating cycles and stringent requirements for:
  • air infiltration
  • water resistance
  • life cycle testing
  • structural integrity
They also offer acoustic performance with Sound Transmission Class (SC) ratings of 31 to 42, further improving the university students’ interior comfort and concentration.
Part of the Advantage by Wausau standard product offering, INvent series windows are competitively priced and available on an accelerated delivery schedule to meet schools’ value-focused budgets and condensed construction schedules.
All of Wausau’s INvent windows are backed with a warranty of as much as 10 years.

The Legacy Continues

Reconstruction of the McDonald-Smith building at UW Tacoma follows a master plan established for campus in 1997.
It has earned nationwide recognition for architectural excellence and historic preservation.
The campus received the 1999 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design from American Institute of Architects (AIA) and an award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, both Washington-based organizations.
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