If you have contemplated using an aluminum storefront in a residential or commercial historic building, you may be faced with the quandary of how to maintain the building's architectural integrity while still capitalizing on this modern technology. Here are some tips for integrating aluminum storefronts in historic buildings, so you get the best of both worlds.
Why Use Aluminum Storefronts?
Aluminum and glass storefronts are gaining popularity with both residential and commercial building owners. Their larger window area affords increased light and visibility, more seamless transitions between indoors and outdoors, and the opportunity to have display areas for retail businesses.
Aluminum storefronts also offer better protection from weather and improved energy efficiency by virtue of thermal breaks in the aluminum mullions (frames) that prevent heat loss. The ability to use large glass areas with extra glazing or low-E glass further increases energy efficiency over original historic windows.
Modern aluminum storefronts are easier to integrate with automatic doors and security features. They also make adding storm- or hurricane-proofing elements simpler.
How Can You Integrate Aluminum Storefronts in the Building Facade?
The first thing you want to do is keep as much of the building face the same as the original. This will help if you need to get permission from a historical society or similar architectural governing body. You can use regular commercial aluminum storefronts on the first floor, for example, and custom window shapes and sizes above to mimic period styles.
Try to keep the front of the building faced with its original material, whether brick, stone, or wood. Use traditional paint colors and color combinations for all painted trim.
In some cases, you may even be able to disguise aluminum window frames with period details in cast iron or wood to make the facade look more authentic.
What Details Can You Use to Add Historical Authenticity?
Small details can go a long way in creating an authentic overall image, to the point where observers may not even notice the more modern aluminum storefront. Elements you can use to create a traditional look include
- window boxes and planters
- antique sculpture or artwork
Some of the most famous buildings in the world, such as the Louvre museum, have successfully managed to combine modern architectural elements with historic preservation. Take the time to find an architect or contractor who has experience working with storefronts on historic buildings, and sketch out or create computerized photo images for possible designs. When it comes time to select a window supplier such as Glasshopper Schor Glass, you'll know exactly what you want, and they'll be able to supply it for a fabulous end result.