Crystal Window & Door Systems recently added another historic property to its portfolio of projects with the renovation of a former industrial property in Milwaukee.

Crystal supplied 576 new energy-efficient commercial and heavy-commercial aluminum windows for Shoe Factory Lofts, a total gut rehabilitation and repurposing project converting two adjoining former factories into residential apartments.

Crystal was asked to join the project team by its customer Gulfeagle Supply, which has a distribution center in Milwaukee.

“Previously we had worked on several very successful projects with Gulfeagle, they knew our engineering, design, and production capabilities, and they recommended Crystal for this project,” said Scott Anderson, Crystal’s sales manager for the region.

Located in Milwaukee’s historic Walker’s Point neighborhood, The Shoe Factory Lofts building was completely rehabilitated in accordance with National Park Service standards for historic properties.

“Crystal worked very closely with the architect and Gulfeagle’s regional sales representative Scott Bartelt to replicate the look of the buildings’ original windows,” said Anderson.  “We quickly developed detailed shop drawings to submit to the standards board at the National Park Service for review, and once approved we were able to move into full production to meet the owner’s construction schedule.”

Crystal’s multiple manufacturing facilities enabled it to meet the aggressive timetable for delivery of new windows to the site.

“We fabricated the new windows at both the New York and the Chicago plants to take best advantage of material availability and production scheduling, which were key to staying on target,” said Anderson.

The majority of the products Crystal supplied were architecturally-rated aluminum Series 8500 and 8600 project-out awning and fixed picture windows, many in common master frames for stacked pairs or in mulled configurations for the building’s larger window openings.

Some of the mulled multi-window configurations also used the aluminum Series 5100 fixed picture windows.

Other openings on the historic façade were supplied with the Crystal Series 2000A double-hung and 2100 fixed aluminum windows.

A key challenge to the restoration project was maintaining the true-divided-lite appearance of the buildings’ original windows. Through the use of special grid configurations with the new windows’ IGUs, Crystal was able to deliver modern, energy-efficient windows and replicate the original historic look of the buildings. For the involved windows, Crystal utilized a multi-component muntin system with an exterior applied grid, an exterior muntin frame (replicating the original glazing putty line), a between-the-glass grid, and an interior tape grid to accurately simulate the profile and shadow of true divided light required by the architectural standards.

In addition, all the windows’ IGUs were fabricated for increased thermal performance using Intercept Ultra warm-edge spacers, Vitro Solarban 60 low-E glass and argon gas filling. To further enhance the historic restoration, an aluminum panning system was used on certain window openings, as were three-piece mullion systems and fin expanders.

The developer for the Shoe Factory Lofts project is Keystone Development of Oshkosh, Wisc., which secured federal tax credits and incentives for the historic restoration project. Design and engineering services were provided by Excel Engineering, and the General Contractor was Northcentral Construction, both of Fond du Lac, Wisc.

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