Traditional Building Conference


Traditional Building Conference Series

New Orleans, LA, May 7-8, 2014

New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA

Windows: Old, New, Historic and Traditional

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A collaboration with the United States Department of the Interior, National Parks Service.

Windows are the eyes of a building, the architectural features that help define the style and importance of historic and new buildings, alike. Windows perform critically important functions: daylighting, ventilation, comfort and protection. Their preservation or replacement in historic buildings excites more debate amongst practitioners than almost any other restoration treatment. Their design for additions and new construction raises an equal amount of contention!

The Traditional Building Conference and the US National Park Service have joined efforts to convene the second Annual Windows Conference.

Windows: Old and New, Historic and Traditional creates a dialogue about repair, replacement and windows that convey a traditional character. Those who restore, replace and build new need to work collaboratively. The Traditional Building Windows Conference encourages the collaboration between builders, architects, building owners and their window suppliers.

The construction industry is confronted with new laws concerning lead safety, storm damage, mid-century modern structures, and energy efficiency. This conference brings together leading practitioners from manufacturing, the building trades, government, and industry to offer practical advice when answering the question, "what should we do about the windows?"

Wednesday, May 7

8:00 am - 9:00 am - Networking, Sponsor Exhibits and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:15 am - Welcome and Introductions

9:15 am - 10:15 pm
How Industry Revolutionized Window Design and Construction

Speaker: Sally Fishburn, S.A. Fishburn, Inc., Danville, VT

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

Learning Objectives for this session include the following:

  • Explain the history of materials and methods in sash construction
  • Describe how technological advances changed window design in the US.
  • Determine whether sash is original to historic structures based on architectural evidence.
  • Identify historic sash by architectural period details.

This lecture will cover how window construction, design, and style were the product of our industrial heritage. How did industrialization influence window construction? The speaker will discuss materials including wood, glass, and paint, along with the architectural details in the window units such as single vs. double-hung units, balance systems, and hardware.


10:15 am - 10:40 am Break

10:40 am - 12:15 pm
Wood Window Repair Techniques- Selected Best Practices

1.5 AIA HSW Learning Units

Learning objectives for this session include the following:

  • List several trade “best practices” when repairing or replacing historic wood windows.
  • Address the pros and cons of materials and methods for historic window preservation.
  • Apply time-saving tips and cost conscious decision-making to any window repair or replacement project for historic buildings, additions, or new construction projects.
  • Improve communications between the whole construction team when repairing historic wood windows.

After project design, planning, and production, the success or failure of any window project rests in the hands of the carpenters, glaziers, fabricators, artisans and painters who finish the job. Join a team of America’s leading tradespeople for an informative discussion of their best practices to restore, repair, and maintain historic windows. They will share their insights in brief presentations on such topics as material selection, repair methods, putty, glazing removal and installation, weather stripping, budgeting scheduling, and worksite safety.


12:15 pm- 12:55 pm – Lunch

12:55 pm- 2:30 pm
Trends in Wood Window Design and Manufacture

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

Learning objectives for this session include the following:

  • Consider and apply the challenges of wood window design and manufacture to historic and traditional projects including but not limited to energy efficiency, minimal maintenance, ease of operation, code compliance, appearance and affordability.
  • Identify the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches to installation and the products appropriate to each when working on historic buildings or historically inspired buildings.
  • Improve your ability to estimate costs and production needs for historic preservation and new projects.
  • Work with manufacturers’ representatives to design new windows that reflect important historical features for replacement on and additions to historic buildings and traditionally inspired new construction.

This session will feature brief presentations by leading manufacturers of wood windows on design, energy and code requirements, regulatory issues, and commercial pressures that drive the industry today. A Q&A session will follow the presentations.

2:30-2:55 pm Break

2:55 pm - 4:30 pm
Bronze, Steel, and Aluminum:-History, Repair and Fabrication

1.5 AIA Learning Units

Learning Objectives for this session include the following:

  • List several trade practices when repairing or replacing historic metal windows and installing new windows.
  • Address the pros and cons of materials and methods for historic metal window preservation and installation of new windows.
  • Improve the processes of window preservation and new window installation from ordering materials through scheduling and completing the job.
  • Apply time-saving tips and cost conscience decision-making to any window repair or replacement project for historic buildings, additions, or new construction projects.

Metal windows are an important part of the history of windows, particularly when working on late 19th and 20th century historic preservation projects. When it comes to new, traditionally inspired work-whether residential, commercial, or institutional, metal windows have many advantages. Join a team of industry leaders for their insights on repair, replacement, substitute materials, and installation and maintenance.


4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Stormy Weather: Hurricanes, Codes, and Efficiency

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

Learning objectives for the session include the following:

  • Explain hurricane zones and the requirements for windows in each.
  • Discuss options in storm windows and secondary glazing for historic and traditional projects.
  • Consider regional historic window design and construction details and what they tell us about storm response.
  • Analyze different approaches to improve safe window design, installation, and rehabilitation.

For whatever reason, the United States is experiencing more extreme weather. Windows are part of the building envelope which defends against the elements. This session will feature practitioners who balance codes, energy improvements, performance factors, and historic preservation. Information about storm windows will be included in this panel discussion as well. Special attention will be paid to weather patterns in the South and Southeast.

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Networking Reception


Thursday May 8

8:00 am - 9:00 am - Networking, Sponsor Exhibitions, and Continental Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:15 am - Welcome and Introductions

9:15 am - 10:15 am
Sunny Weather: Awnings, Shades, and Shutters

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

  • Identify the variety of shutter and awning designs and their development through time.
  • Use the architecture of a building to guide the selection and design of an appropriate shading device.
  • Place the benefits of shading in a building’s larger energy picture.
  • Choose materials and details to ensure the durability of shutters.

Before the advent of high-tech glass coatings we added shutters and awnings to windows to manage the impact of the sun. As these traditional devices have become distinctive decorative features contributing to the historic character of many buildings, their functional benefits are often forgotten. This session will look at the history of shutters, awnings and shading devices and the variety that has developed over time in both appearance and construction. We will use this information to understand how to add them appropriately to historic and traditional buildings. Their potential contribution to the energy efficiency of a building will be considered as well as issues of durability.

10:30 -11:00 am - Break

10:40 am - 11:45 am
Testing Windows in the Laboratory and in the Field

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

Learning objectives for participants in this session include the following:

  • Apply industry standards and testing protocols for windows to both historic preservation and new construction projects.
  • Compare and contrast factors such as solar gain/loss; air tightness; infiltration; climate response, weather stripping and glass selection.
  • Use third party testing or self-directed field testing of windows.
  • Evaluate the performance of historic and new windows.

Getting good verifiable data to document the performance of windows whether new or old is important when advising clients about energy efficiency, climate response and durability. This session will provide an examination of contemporary standards, field testing, and laboratory analysis of windows.

11:45 am -12:25 pm Lunch

12:25 am - 1:30 pm
Big Windows: Geometry for Traditional New Windows

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

Learning objectives for this session include the following:

  • Apply traditional geometric proportion to the design and fabrication of new windows.
  • Explore regional historical window patterns, construction details, and placement to inform contemporary traditional window design and construction.
  • Consider the impact on heating, cooling and daylighting afforded by careful location and sizing of windows.
  • Increase your use of classical proportions to contemporary traditional architectural design.

Join an experienced architect for a discussion about and exercise in the application of classical and traditional geometric proportions to satisfy the demands of today’s clients for more light and bigger windows in new contemporary residential buildings inspired by history, classicism, and tradition. Get the geometry right, and the appearance will be right.


1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Windows and Wood Technology: Exterior Finishes, Treatments, and Durability

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

Whether protected by storm windows or not, wooden windows face the harsh realities of exposure to sunlight, moisture, and pests. This session will examine surface preparation strategies and preservation treatments for old and new wood. Considerations for the use of paint, stain, and varnish will be discussed. Wood treatments including acetylation and water repellents will be reviewed as well. Learning objectives for participants in this session include the following:

  • List environmental factors working for and against durability for wooden windows in situ.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of finishes applied to wood to extend its life.
  • Identify the value and limits of paint removal to prepare historic wood windows for repainting.
  • Cite the pros and cons of applying water repellants to promote durability.


2:30 pm - 3:00 pm Break

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Glass and Windows: Past, Present, and Future

1 AIA HSW Learning Unit

Learning objectives for this session include the following:

  • Identify character defining features of historic glass that are important to historic preservation projects.
  • List what new glazing can and can’t do for historic projects.
  • Explain some of the energy efficient features of contemporary glass.
  • Describe some important design features and repair techniques that improve the performance of glass in both old and new windows.

Much attention is paid to the structure of windows through consideration of muntin profiles, sash materials, size of opening, etc. Nevertheless, glass or glazing is critically important to preserving historic character, making compatible additions to historic buildings, and in creating an authentic appearance for traditionally inspired new construction. The use of glass in windows reflects the technological advances of building history in general. New technology applied to glass manufacture is making all kinds of sizes, shapes, colors, tints, and efficiencies possible. So what should a building practitioner in the 21st century know about glass? Attend and get some answers.

4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Repair and Replacement: Making the Crucial Decisions

1 AIA Learning Unit

Learning Objectives for this session include the following:

  • Apply information learned from the sessions at the Windows Conference.
  • Evaluate context, character, condition, and cost to aid in making this decision on historic preservation projects.
  • Compare and contrast factors that favor repair of historic windows and factors that favor replacement of windows.
  • Discuss options and technical details with craftspeople, contractors, and manufacturers’ representatives for historic preservation projects.

This will be an interactive session between the audience and presenters at the conference to discuss, debate, and clarify the sessions presented. The purpose of this session is to have participants leave with some clear guidance on making decisions about repair versus replacement in preservation projects on a regular basis. Attendees may submit case studies for consideration and discussion.



Please note: The schedule is subject to change.


Learning Units:
For more information on Learning Units, click here.

The Traditional Building Conference Series is a registered provider of AIA continuing education units and it has applied for education provider status with the Green Building Council Insititute. Credits for NARI, AIBD, and certain NAHB classifications are available. We plan to submit the programs for review for IDCEC credits as well. Check the website for updates on specific learning units for each conference. Typically the event is approved for 10 learning units but more or less is possible and classifications for HSW and SD are approved based on the content for each conference.


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