Historic apartment building. NPS Photos.
The historic character...
This four-story apartment building was built in 1929 and is located in
a historic district. Possibly the most distinctive feature of the exterior
is its tripartite, multi-paned, wood casement windows (see close-up of
top portion of photo, below). These historic casement windows are, at
present, severely deteriorated and most likely need to be replaced.
...and how it was lost in the rehabilitation.
The apartment building was to be kept in continuing residential use. A
major component of the rehabiliation project was to replace the deteriorated
historic windows with new windows in a manner that would meet the developer's
requirements for the project, and also meet the Standards for
Rehabilitation. When the owner replaced the historic tripartite,
multi-paned, wood casement windows with new pairs one-over-one double
hung windows, the result was a radical change in the building's appearance
(see bottom portion of photo, below). Because the historic windows were
a distinctive and repeated feature of the building and played an important
role in defining the overall character, the very different looking replacement
windows resulted in the loss of that character, and the project—in
turn—did not meet Standard 6.
What should you know?
Window replacement is among the most common and difficult issues in rehabilitation.
During rehabilitation, developers frequently replace existing windows
with new sash for reasons of energy efficiency, ease of operation and
maintenance. It is a good idea to get help from qualified preservation
professionals, such as architects, architectural historians, historians,
and others who have experience in working with historic buildings prior
to installing replacement windows--especially where windows are on a primary,
highly visible, facade and are important to the historic character of
the building. Missing or severely deteriorated windows that cannot be
repaired should always be replaced with windows that match the historic
windows in material, size, muntin configuration, and reflective quality.
Historic casement windows (top). New one-over-one double-hung windows
Standard 6: Deteriorated
historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity
of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new
feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual
qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing historic
features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial
::go to the standards::