Replication of historic steel windows delivers the perfect balance between aesthetics and efficiency

April 5, 2017 by Laura Duran Guiles

historic steel window replication
Characteristics such as large openings and minimal sightlines are crucial in today’s architectural windows that replicate the look of historic steel windows.

With the industrial revolution, hot-rolled steel windows became common in building construction in the US until after World War II. During the early 20th Century, these fire-resistant windows became standard for commercial buildings as well as institutional and multi-family residential buildings. Fast forward to the early 21st Century, where many of these deteriorating windows are leaky, inefficient, and even dangerous.

Historic steel window replication

We can reproduce and replace these windows with highly evolved systems made of aluminum and insulating glass in which the profile replicates the look of the historic steel windows. For example, at our Alden Park historic retrofit project involving the replacement of 7,000 windows, we’re using a version of Graham Architectural‘s  SR6700 architectural window.

The SR6700 series provides the authentic look of steel windows achieved with a strong, reliable, energy efficient construction that allows for large openings, minimal sightlines, applied grids, and even a floating vent. Numerous projects have attained National Park Service historic approval with this series of windows.  Similar designs are also offered by Kawneer (TRACO) and Winco.

Our experience with historic window retrofits

We’ve had the privilege over many years to work with historic authorities in our region and beyond (such as the Philadelphia Historical Commission, the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, the National Park Service, and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission), familiarizing ourselves with many of their requirements. This experience allows us to support historic consultants, owners, and designers with conceptual designs and submittals. For example, we offer the ability to develop details of both the existing and proposed window sections, which is critical in the assessment and approval process.

The benefits of commercial window replacement

With these historically accurate window systems and components available today, and with the right choice in window replacement contractor, extensive benefits of architectural window replacement can be realized for ongoing success of these buildings. The benefits include potential tax credits, the improvement of building appearance, greater comfort for occupants, lowered vacancy rates, significant energy savings, downsizing of HVAC load, and an increase in real estate value.