Art Deco Architecture Given A Clement Windows Makeover!
Art Deco, the prevailing architectural style of the 1920s and 1930s, derived its name from the ‘Exposition Internationale des Art Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes’ which was held in Paris in 1925 and represented a reaction to the reduction of ornamentation in Modernist buildings.
Characterised by geometrical shapes, symmetrical design and stylised natural forms, Art Deco came to reflect the hope and fun of its era, a period during which a vision of a pleasurable world unspoiled by war or human hardship predominated.
Art Deco used state-of-the-art modern specifications of steel and glass as well as new materials such as plastic and concrete. Straight-headed slim line steel windows in regular repeated bands and with horizontal glazing bars were a mainstay of this architecture which quickly gained in popularity across North America and Europe.
Best expressed in the magnificent skyscrapers of New York such as the Chrysler Building or iconic structures such as Battersea Power Station in London, the Art Deco movement was short-lived with the Second World War and the austerity of its aftermath bringing it to an abrupt end. Thousands of Art Deco buildings survive today though, forming an important part of the UK’s architectural heritage and as a result many of them have been subject to sensitive restoration programmes in recent years.
As windows are often at the heart of Art Deco architecture it is good news that there have been great technological advancements in the manufacture of modern steel windows. New steel windows provide double glazed, thermally efficient, low maintenance matches to their Art Deco predecessors, meaning the latest performance requirements for insulation, weatherproofing and security demanded by Planning and Conservation are easily met.
One of the UK’s leading steel windows manufacturers, Clement Windows Group has been involved in many Art Deco restoration projects. Here are some of our favourites.
The Eldorado Building
The Eldorado building has been described as one of the finest Art Deco structures in New York City.
Constructed in 1929–1931, this magnificent 28 storey luxury housing apartment building was the fourth and largest of a sequence designed by Emery Roth along Central Park West. The building was planned around a U-shaped courtyard in order to let as much daylight as possible into the 1,300 rooms of the 186 apartments. Apartment owners in recent years have included Alec Baldwin, Fay Dunaway, Moby and Michael J Fox.
The Eldorado Resident’s Committee contacted Clement’s New York representatives, Skyline Windows, as there was a requirement to replace the original 1930s windows in a large number of the apartments. A strict brief was prepared by ‘Landmark’ (the US equivalent of Heritage England) to ensure that the building’s authentic appearance was retained. Bespoke windows by Clement were specified, as the replacement windows needed to provide an exact match to the existing fenestration and offer improved thermal performance and enhanced security.
Clement’s EB24 multi point locking steel window system was chosen, because it sensitively replicates the original windows. The windows were polyester powder coated with RAL 7022 grey/bronze matt paint inside and out. Unusually, due to the sensitive nature of this project and the preferences of the Resident’s Committee, single glazing was specified. Satin bronze FF02 multi point locking handles were fitted, which offer a similar appearance to the original fittings.
Of course a project of such magnitude will always bring challenges. The main challenge with the Eldorado building was that every apartment is owned by a different resident, so no two apartments have exactly the same detailed window requirements, but Clement’s bespoke service enabled Skyline Windows to deliver this high profile contract successfully.
Battersea Power Station
Built in the early 1930s, Battersea Power Station was created to meet the energy demands of the new age. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the man who brought the red telephone box to London, was hired by the London Power Company to create this power station, the first of a new generation of ‘superstations’, with the building beginning to produce power for the capital in 1933.
This iconice Grade II* Listed Buiding has been out of use since 1982. In 2012 administrators Ernst & Young entered into an exclusivity agreement with Malaysia's SP Setia and Sime Darby to develop the site. Later that same year the £400 million sale was completed and the redevelopment commenced.
Battersea Power Station and the surrounding area are now being transformed into one of the most exciting and innovative mixed use neighbourhoods in the world. The regenerated area will include luxury homes, offices, restaurants, shops, parks and cultural spaces.
Various Clement products were chosen by AreaSq, to create a series of both internal and external steel glazed partitions, walls and doors throughout the new area including the Battersea Power Station Estates Office. Three different colour options were used to suit the different requirements.
As Colin Pye, Corporate Accounts Director at AreaSq commented:
“We are really pleased with our decision to select Clement to provide new steel windows for this iconic power station development. We selected the EB24 range because their industrial Art Deco looks are in keeping with those of the original Power Station. However, being 21st century double glazed steel screens, they provide outstanding thermal and acoustic performance as well. The outcome is windows that are sympathetic to the original development but also meet the high technical specifications of the project.”
Melia White House Hotel
Part of the Melia Hotels & Resorts Group since 1999, Melia White House is situated in a striking Art Deco building close to London’s Regent’s Park.
Opened in 1936 as a luxury apartment building, it took seven hundred men less than a year to build it. With great facilities open to non-residents too it became known as the White House Club in the closing years of the 1930s. During the Second World War, the distinctive shape of the building meant it was used by the Germans as a compass and was consequently never bombed. In 1959, work started on transforming the apartment block into a luxury hotel which became the centre of the Swinging Sixties scene with many prominent guests.
The Clement EB24 range of new steel windows with welded G+ multi pane system was installed throughout the building. The regular repeated bands of steel windows are one of the most striking Art Deco features of this building - in total Clement installed nearly 800 windows in two phases.
Bonhams Auction House
Bonhams is a fabulously idiosyncratic 1930s building, situated on London’s prestigious New Bond Street. Viewings and auction sales take place throughout the year and it is here that buyers come from around the globe to find antiques and fine art of the highest quality.
The building is Art Deco in style, listed and within a Conservation Area. Architects Lifschutz Davidson & Sandilands led a £30million restoration project and sensitivity was key. The work included replacing the original steel windows on the front elevation facing Woodstock Street and Blenheim Street.
Clement W20 steel windows were chosen to match the design of the existing windows. The new windows were fitted with toughened, laminated glass and silicone fronted using dark bronze silicone (to replicate the early putty fronting).
A feature of the front façade is the set of fifteen curved on plan windows. Clement made templates so as to replicate exactly these fine windows.
All pivots, handle back plates and peg stays were polyester powder coated in RAL 8019 to complement the finish of the frames.
Clement Windows Group manufactures an innovative range of steel windows, doors and screens for both private residences and commercial projects. A complete service is provided, from the provision of technical drawings through to manufacture, installation and after sales support. All Clement windows are produced entirely from 100% recycled steel and generally Part L. Clement also manufactures a selection of conservation rooflights, which are available from stock in either a tile or a slate profile.