Windows: The Eyes of a Building

Windows: Eyes of a Building

Windows are often described as the “eyes of a building.” Their size and spacing create rhythm and balance in the façade; their materials and operation type may reflect the state of technology for their time. For many building types and styles, windows are a key character-defining element. However, as interest in energy conservation and sustainable development increases, and building owners look for ways to improve energy performance, old windows are a common target. Window replacement is often mistakenly identified as one of the top energy saving improvements that can be made. Since windows are important character-defining elements to a building’s architecture, heritage homeowners are encouraged to repair rather than replace character defining elements.

Fortunately, it is possible to improve thermal performance and operation of old windows while at the same time respecting heritage character. Selective repair or replacement of parts and the implementation of a maintenance program are sometimes all that is needed. The first line of defense is to tackle sources of air infiltration. Making windows air- and weather-tight is often the most effective and least expensive step. Another option is retrofitting windows with storm windows or removable glazing panels. This option is generally less expensive than replacement and retains the greatest amount of historical material. The North Shore Heritage Society is an excellent resource for information on restoring heritage windows and other heritage projects.

Turner, Susan. D. “Windows in Historic Buildings: Sustainable, Repairable.” The Magazine of the Heritage Canada Foundation. Spring 2006. National Trust for Canada Web. 2 Nov. 2016.

Heritage Spotlight

Edington ResidenceRogers/Craig Residence
442 East 18th Street. 1931.
Register Ranking: B

This residence was built in 1931 for Catherine Rogers and Margaret Craig, who lived in this residence together before eventually moving to Summerland, where Catherine became a fruit orchardist. This house, with its steeply-pitched, gabled roofline and multi-paned casement windows, reflects the Period Revival aesthetic that was popular in the two decades that followed the end of World War One.

This was a time of entrenched traditionalism, when houses were expected to reflect known historical revival styles in order to display the good taste of their owners. This was also the time that more modern, progressive ideas were becoming acceptable, sometimes resulting in a blended approach that simplified and abstracted Period

Revival elements without completely abandoning a historicist approach, as seen in this handsome

North Vancouver Market Update

Due to uncertainty in the market, prices are dropping and the market is shifting from a seller's market to a buyer's market. The benchmark price for detached homes peaked in July at $1,699,200 and has slowly been decreasing every month to $1,658,400 in October- a decrease of 2.4%. The detached market, especially luxury homes and building lots, has seen the largest reduction in buyer demand. The number of sales of detached homes in October is down 66% from its peak in March and down 52% from October 2015. The apartment market has also seen a decrease in price and number of sales. The benchmark price for apartments peaked in August at $467,100 and decreased 3.3% to $451,600 in October. The number of sales of apartments in October is down 55% from its peak in March and down 40% from October 2015. However, there is a silver lining! The benchmark prices for detached homes and apartments are still way above October 2015 prices: up 34% for detached homes and 18% for apartments. We look forward to seeing what the spring market holds- hopefully an active and more balanced market.

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