Union Stables Renovation Featuring Marvin Ultimate Windows
Historic Seattle Renovation Using Energy-Efficient Windows
Built in 1909, Union Stables was once a commercial livery stable in the heart of Seattle. The building underwent several transformations over the years and after being damaged by a series of fires and earthquakes, it was effectively shuttered, gradually falling into a state of disrepair. Enter Ed Weinstein, principal of Weinstein A+U in Seattle. Weinstein had taken a special interest in the site. After presenting a number of renovation proposals to Union Stables’ owner, none of them came to fruition, until his own firm, and Crutcher Lewis—a prominent general contractor in Seattle—signed a lease to headquarter their operations in the building.
While much of the project consisted of fairly prescriptive renovations, when it came to the windows, the development team was starting with a blank slate, as all of the original windows had long since been removed. For a historic project like this, the preservationist mandate is to either repair existing windows or replace in kind. But since there were neither old windows to use as models nor original architectural drawings to rely on for reference, Weinstein instead used early photos of the building. From these vintage black and white photos, Weinstein was able to reach into the past to accurately replicate the essential patterns of the windows in the present.
He opted for aluminum clad, wood sash Marvin windows with large lites and applied mullions that closely matched the profiles, sightlines, proportions, and operation of the original
1909 windows. “We were pleased that both the Landmark Preservation Board and Department of the Interior accepted this window product because it was very cost effective and extremely low maintenance,” Weinstein said.
Strict state energy codes presented one final obstacle for Weinstein and the development team. Because Union Stables is an unreinforced masonry building, it doesn’t comply with current, stringent Washington state energy code. To preserve the building’s heritage, however, Weinstein was granted an exemption to keep the existing masonry, but under the condition he use the most high-performing products throughout the building, including windows. Once again Marvin delivered.
Bringing Union Stables back to life required the cooperation of the building’s owner, tenants, various government agencies, and the resources, capabilities, and expertise of key partners like Marvin that are adept at meeting the challenges of historic renovation. Marvin’s ability to deliver highly efficient and historically accurate windows, mostly based off of old photographs, was critical to the success of the renovation.