March 16, 2021
The Mason Square Apartments II at Indian Motorcycle project offers low-income residents affordable rental housing without compromising aesthetics, performance, or comfort. Part of a local area redevelopment program in Springfield, Massachusetts, the adaptive reuse and renovation project converted a former motorcycle factory into 45 apartments including one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. The building utilized high-performance windows for energy efficiency and occupant comfort.
Vacant for decades, the 5110-m2 (55,000-sf), five-story, brick building’s tall, arched windows had been boarded up for years. These 1 x 2-m (4 x 8-ft) openings feature high-performance, double-hung windows with warm-edge insulating glass spacers. Beyond contributing to the building’s energy efficiency and the resident’ comfort, the windows were designed to match the property’s historic architecture.
Originally built in 1890, the building served as the Indian Motorcycle’s former manufacturing mill facility. Their employees’ efforts, and the motorcycles they made, contributed to providing agile transportation to U.S. troops in the both the First and Second World War. 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. Additionally, it celebrated the property’s significance to the community by incorporating 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 Gordon Pulsifer, First Resource’s president. “We also look to the future, serving as a catalyst for improvement and change.”
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 1300 new high-performance, double-hung units were installed.
Additionally, 6-mm (1/4-in.) wide rigid bar, plastic hybrid stainless steel warm-edge spacers provided thermal break between the panes of glass in the insulating glass unit (IGU), to minimize unwanted heat loss.
Along with increased energy performance, the warm-edge spacer also improves condensation resistance which lowers the chances of ,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, a black warm-edge thermal spacer was used. The dark spacer in the dual-glazed IGUs help maintain the monolithic appearance of the original windows.
Further contributing to the windows’ thermal performance, the IGUs are fabricated with a clear 60 solar control, low emissivity (low-e) glass and argon gas fill. The high thermal performance of the new windows supports First Source’s energy efficiency goals, helping the building owner save on heating and cooling costs, as well as providing Mason Square’s residents with year-round interior comfort.
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