Re: Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

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But of course it is not the grand neoclassical buildings of the 1920s that are at risk of losing their steel windows, now being so prized as icons of their age – rather it is the average residential street that is being left bereft of one of their most striking features thanks to a merciless obsession with thoughtless window replacement in this country. ‘Getting the windows done’ is as hot a topic of conversation as the market for their host properties is. It’s a pity so much hot air couldn’t be diverted into the sensitive appraisal of the various options available.

As we’ve seen, steel emerged as a major alternative to timber in the 1920s and 1930s, but it didn’t really catch on for typical developer-driven residential applications in the suburbs until around 1950, when metal supplies returned to normal after the war. Previously its residential use in Ireland was largely confined to one-off modernist houses of the 1930s, unlike in the UK where developers were already widely using the material. It was only in the late 1930s that it began to take off here, by which stage the war had kicked in and supplies quickly dried up. It is these average suburban houses that are so at risk from losing their most interesting features to vastly inferior and insensitive replacements.

As pictured at the start, this is now a highly unusual scene in an Irish suburb – one would be very hard-pressed to see this replicated anywhere else.

@Devin wrote:

Indeed even by modern window standards, on uniformity alone, it is highly unusual to experience such a pleasing coherent streetscape.

I have been able to take some images up-close of some typical steel frames in an average suburban house built in 1951, and in spite of their poor (and fixable) condition, their beauty still shines through. One of the greatest ‘image’ problems that steel windows have is their tendency to be associated with old-fashioned homes, décor and net curtains. Stripping these aside reveals a wonderful clarity of design and proportion.

And for once you can now appreciate their slim and elegant profiles, and indeed the original imperfections of the drawn glass.

A typical 1950’s toilet/washroom division, with stippled glass.

No doubt many a football has gone through the panes, hence the patchwork appearance.

Inside the silhouette is striking – what a beautiful feature for any room. How could anyone even contemplate five inch plastic bars, and patronisingly toy-like moulded handles?

And of course, the handles: elegantly crafted and a joy to look at and use. Almost icons in themselves.

Also attractively moulded support arms.

And of course typical casement armatures][/IMG]

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