Fiberglass Fenestration: A Durable, Sustainable, and Economic Alternative for Windows and Doors

By combining the benefits of aluminum, vinyl, and wood windows, fiberglass composites provide aesthetics and longevity for any environmental condition.
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Barbara A. Nadel, FAIA

New England Multi-Family Residence: A Quiet, Coastal Design Solution
For this Art Deco-themed residential project on the New England coastline in Revere Beach, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb, the architect looked at budget, energy, durability, and acoustics during his window selection research. "We reviewed wood, vinyl-clad, and aluminum windows. Fiberglass windows are relatively new on the market, and we were among the first to use them. Fiberglass composite met our needs for size and configuration," says Walter Jacob, RA, principal, Walter Jacob Architects, Marblehead, Massachusetts.

The waterfront project, which contains 48 residential lofts, most with full ocean views and coastal exposure, is located under the flight path of nearby Logan Airport. Along with planes flying overhead, noise from trains and the street warranted an acoustic consultant to suggest ways to reduce noise levels within the units. "Our analysis found a competitive advantage for fiberglass composite based on cost, and meeting local energy code requirements. To our surprise, the sound qualities contributed quite a bit. We were able to get a lot of design mileage on a budget," Jacob adds. The project is slated for mid-2006 completion.

Nebraska College Campus Dormitories: Design for Durability
At Dana College, a small private campus in Blair, Nebraska, the college president wanted a residential, not institutional, character for the new dormitories. Due to the nature of a typical student population, and previous window problems on campus, durability and abuse resistance were important design criteria, along with budget constraints and energy efficiency.

"Fiberglass windows satisfied these needs, and provided flexibility in design, color selection, and custom muntin patterns. The suite-style student housing has sliding glass windows, and the college president's design goals were met, within our budget," said Steven Weber, AIA, project architect, RDG Planning and Design, Omaha, Nebraska. The project is scheduled for mid-2006 completion.

 

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Architectural Record
Originally published in June 2006

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