These very different renovation projects all relied on finding the right wood window solution to maintain the historical integrity of the building. 

The second in a four-part series on wood window design challenges, we spotlight four different renovation projects that relied on finding the right window solution to maintain the historical integrity of the building. 

Designers and homeowners alike have long loved wood windows for their beauty, warmth, and design versatility. Popular though they are, they do not come without their challenges, and manufacturers have over the years sought to evolve and improve upon the traditional wood window. 

In our four-part series, we’re exploring how to best incorporate today’s new, innovative wood window products into your design. In the first installment, “Replacing Historic Windows,” we addressed what goes into renovating historic windows with high-tech wood. 

In part two of the series, we want to look at some examples of how builders used newly fabricated windows that were custom-built to meet historical requirements. These project spotlights include everything from a university to an actual ghost town. 

1. The Center for Architecture, American Institute of Architects (AIA); Portland, Oregon 

For years, the AIA in Portland had been located in a rather small, dark, and dreary downtown office. So they decided it was time to move. The challenge was they wanted their new location to reflect architects’ focus on design and efficiency. 

The AIA took on a daunting remodel challenge: Turn the oldest building in Portland’s Pearl District into its new office.  

After a careful search, they settled on a unique structure that also happened to be one of the oldest buildings in Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District in the northwest part of the city. The real hurdle was they didn’t just want to update it — they wanted to make it the world’s first LEED Platinum AIA office. To make good on that goal, they would need to earn the points necessary for the certification. The window specification would play an important role in that effort. 

Today, the 10,000-square-foot center features a lineup of JELD-WEN® windows and doors that helped the facility earn LEED® points for energy efficiency, as well as ventilation and day lighting and views. The windows went through a non-VOC treatment and provide high-performance glazing via Low-E argon. 

The AIA’s historic remodel used JELD-WEN windows and doors to help the building become the world’s first LEED Platinum AIA office. 

2. Voth Residence; Lafayette, Louisiana 

Rick and Connie Voth had set their sights on moving to a beautiful two-acre wooded property in Lafayette, Louisiana. For their “new” home, they decided to renovate the 150-year-old former sharecropper’s cottage that had been moved to the site a half-century earlier. Therein lay the challenge: how to preserve the historic structure —an extremely important goal to the Voths and the project team. 

The windows were central to the revitalization. The Voths selected JELD-WEN®’s Custom Wood windows in the simulated French casement style with nesting crank hardware, a nod to European design influence. The windows, built with exterior cladding and a natural pine interior finish, are easy to open and echo the operation of French doors. Important for the humid Louisiana climate, the windows are also guaranteed against wood rot, include coastal hardware in a satin nickel finish, are ENERGY STAR® certified, and feature Low-E 366 glazing.

The completed home boasts a vast, lodge-inspired design true to its original Cajun style. The large windows act as a unifying feature, working in harmony with other elements. The home’s 500 feet of river frontage views offered many opportunities for window placement, with their 24-inch transoms providing lots of natural light and stunning views of the Vermillion River and surrounding landscape.

Finally, the home’s floor plan is resistant to “stacking,” or building rooms back-to-back. As a result, most of the windows brighten rooms from two or more directions to create a feeling that one is actually living within the beautiful scenery. 

The JELD-WEN® windows chosen by the Voth’s bring in lots of natural light and connect the room with the beautiful surroundings. 

3. Willamette University; Salem, Oregon 

Founded in 1842, Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, is the oldest university in the Western United States. So it’s not surprising that the university determined that the original windows in one of its buildings were in such poor shape that they required replacement. 

The university’s design challenge straddled two important considerations. First, they had to ensure that the new windows fit the historical look of the building. Second, they wanted to guarantee that whichever window was selected would allow for seismic upgrades to hold the structure together in case of an earthquake.

The solution included historical replica windows with horizontal steel reinforcements that permit structural support between the windows. Stud pocket covers were added for interior and exterior trim pieces that slip over a steel or wood post. Mull posts were then integrated to cover and hide the steel structural upgrades. 

4. Privately owned ghost town; Crazy Mountain, Montana 

Even ghost towns need to thoughtfully consider their historic renovations. The private owner of one such property wanted to get the buildings refurbished with the goal of making it a place for family and friends to gather. Among the challenges with such an undertaking was finding accurate replacements for the badly weathered windows. 

For this project, the answer would be found in sourcing and using reclaimed wood to create what looked like 100-year-old windows for the desired historic impact. JELD-WEN also understood that the updated window should not only fit the building and era, but it must also align with the design of the town’s other buildings for a historically cohesive look. 

The use of reclaimed wood in this project shows the flexibility window manufacturers have when it comes to creating new products with an older style. In the relatively dry Montana climate, the reclaimed wood would face fewer weather-related challenges than it would were it in a hot and humid or rainy environment. 

Windows for any need from JELD-WEN 

The JELD-WEN wood window offerings are designed to durably fit almost anywhere. They are also available with AuraLast® pine, ensuring that they will withstand rot, termites, and water damage. See all of the JELD-WEN® window offerings

ENERGY STAR is a registered trademark of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

LEED® is a trademark of US Green Building Council. Use only with rights. 

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