Historic Motorcycle Factory to Affordable Housing Featuring High-Performance Windows From Technoform

February 22, 2021 comm ARCH
Send this article to a friend

To provide better housing options for low-income families, a historic motorcycle factory was converted into an affordable housing with high-performance windows featuring Technoform. 

What? 

The Mason Square Apartments at Indian Motors provides affordable rental housing without a shortage of aesthetics, performance, and comfort. This reuse and renovate project is part of the Springfield, Massachusetts redevelopment program. The building features 45 units including one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. 

Who were involved? 

Owner/developer: First Resource Development Company
Architect: The Architectural Team, Inc. (TAT)
General contractor: NEI General Contracting, Inc.
Glazing contractor: Hannah Environmental & Energy, Inc.
Replacement window system – window and insulating glass fabricator: Diamond Windows & Doors MFG Inc.
Replacement window system – coated glass: Vitro Architectural Glass
Replacement window system – insulating glass spacer: Technoform

About the Building

Vacant for decades, the 55,000-square-foot, five-story, brick building's tall, arched windows had been boarded up for years. Today, these 4-by-8-foot openings feature Diamond Windows & Doors' high-performance, double-hung windows with Technoform's warm-edge insulating glass spacers. Beyond contributing to the building's energy efficiency and the residents' comfort, the windows were thoughtfully designed to match the property's historic architecture. Mason Square Apartments II is located in the McKnight National Historic District of Springfield at 837 State Street. The property also is listed on the U.S. National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places.

Originally built in 1890, the building is famously known as the Indian Motorcycle's former manufacturing mill facility. The company is credited with producing one of the first motorized bikes, and is considered to be the premier manufacturer of motorcycles in the racing industry. Their employees' efforts, and the motorcycles they made, contributed to providing agile transportation to U.S. troops in World Wars I and II. The motorcycles were distributed nationwide until the 1950s, and in 2011, the brand was reintroduced.

Mason Square Apartments II's owner and developer, First Resource Development Company, recognized the need to preserve the building's architectural legacy. In addition, it celebrated the property's significance to the community by incorporating "at Indian Motorcycle" as part of the official name.

"With every project we are mindful of neighborhood history; we are committed to building on the positives that each unique history conveys to a community," said First Resource's president Gordon Pulsifer. "We also look to the future, serving as a catalyst for improvement and change."

How was the building restored?

To retain the building's historic aesthetic and enhance its modern performance, First Resource worked closely with The Architectural Team and NEI General Contracting. Existing masonry was repaired, and the former factory's massive interior timber beams were retained.

The large window openings also were preserved, and approximately 1,300 new, high-performance, double-hung units from Boston-based Diamond Windows & Doors were installed. "This was an historic project requiring the windows to pass muster with National Parks and Massachusetts State Historic Agencies," explained Technoform's Matt Fralick.

"Diamond was chosen due to our expertise in replicating the historic look and feel of the building and specifically, the windows," said Erik Tseng, Diamond's project manager. "We were also able to engineer the opening/window interface to reduce labor costs and provide a significant enhancement to energy performance and building envelope performance."

Diamond Windows & Doors' installed its 8000 Series Commercial double-hung windows. Technoform's 1/4-inch-wide rigid bar, plastic hybrid stainless steel warm-edge spacers provided the important thermal break between the panes of glass in the insulating glass unit, to minimize unwanted heat loss.

Along with increased energy performance, the warm-edge spacer also improves condensation resistance. Fralick added, "Minimizing condensation lowers the opportunity for mold and mildew, which supports good air quality, health and wellness."

Honoring the building's architectural heritage, the aluminum frames were painted black to resemble old steel-framed factory windows from the early 20th century. Complementing the frame color and overall appearance, Technoform supplied its warm-edge thermal spacer in black. Fralick noted, "The dark spacer in the dual-glazed insulated glass units (IGUs) maintain the monolithic appearance of the original windows."

Honoring the building's architectural heritage, the aluminum frames were painted black to resemble old steel-framed factory windows from the early 20th century. Complementing the frame color and overall appearance, Technoform supplied its warm-edge thermal spacer in black. Fralick noted, "The dark spacer in the dual-glazed insulated glass units (IGUs) maintain the monolithic appearance of the original windows."

Why is the project important?

State Rep. Bud L. Williams, praised First Resource and Pulsifer for bringing new life to the area. Williams called it an historical day and expressed his hope that the project will serve as a catalyst for other developments in the surrounding area.

About Technoform

Technoform provides high-performance insulative solutions for façades, cladding and fenestration systems. Its best-in-class building envelope products are developed through collaboration with its customer partnerships to boost thermal performance of windows, curtainwall and opaque façades. The relative low cost and high performance of Technoform's components help building designs to balance energy efficiency with occupant health and comfort without compromising aesthetics. For additional information about Technoform and its solutions for the North America market, please email info.us@technoform.com, call 330-487-6600 or visit Technoform.com.

Transforming the RAFFLES Hotel

The RAFFLES Hotel in Singapore is a beautiful, luxury heritage building. commARCH speaks to Simon Thompson, Executive Director and Dennis ...

FREE Newsletters


2021 FGIA Virtual Annual Conference

The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) will hold its 2021 Annual Conference virtually due to the continued health concerns around the spread of COVID-19.

WHITE PAPERS


WHY DO WE FEEL BETTER WITH WOOD?

This commARCH White Paper focuses on how Wood shows psychological and physiological benefits, according to research.