Of all the hallmarks of the Louis XIV or French Baroque style, its curved lines and complex shapes are perhaps the most challenging to architects and builders alike. The term baroque is derived from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning “imperfect pearl” and relates to the trends in jewelry, interiors and fine arts of early-1600s Paris. As an architectural style, it is most famously defined by the ostentation of the Palace of Versailles, but it evolved into different geographical strains, incorporating Italian, Spanish and influences, and its more subtle cousin, Rococo, which was popular throughout Eastern Europe. Constant to all, however, are curvilinear forms and freedom of shape – neither of which are easy to achieve in glass. When Larry E. Boerder Architects of Dallas, TX, designed a Louis XIV-inspired French limestone chateau in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood, its turreted backyard-facing breakfast area was a crucial style component. To meet its specifications, the firm turned toCrittall Windows Ltd., and became a highly commended runner up in the first Crittall Prize.
Founded in 1884, the UK- and US-based steel-window manufacturer counts the Houses of Parliament and HMS Titanic among its former clients, and founded the first steel-window factory in the U.S., in Detroit, MI, in 1907. This year, the firm recognized three projects for their applications of Crittall Steel fenestration in North America. First place was awarded to Northwest Peach Farm, a Modernist family home by Bates + Masi Architects in upstate New York, while the judges were also impressed by 1100 Architect PC’s Hudson River House and Boerder’s St. John’s Residence.
The 2014 Crittall Prize judging panel, which met in London to review all 36 entries, thought the project a “highly technical design” that “looked like it had been there forever.” “This was indeed both a challenging, and equally rewarding project for our designers and factory” says Darren Joyce, head of international trade for Crittall, “Even with our 165 years’ experience behind us, the incredibly tight tolerances involved in curved glazing and frames means that there is absolutely no permissible margin of error when using slender mild steel profiles. However, with our designers and our established Dallas based-distributors, Grand Openings, Inc. working closely with the homeowners and architects, we ensured that the final product not only was ‘mechanically’ perfect, but also met the stringent aesthetic requirements of the homeowner.”Situated in Dallas’ Highland Park neighborhood, the latter was voted one of the “10 Most Beautiful Homes in Dallas” by D magazine. Its 12,857-sq.ft. footprint is partially concealed by the property’s mature trees, which general contractor Sebastian Construction Group was careful to conserve. The turret to the rear is glazed with Crittall’s Corporate W20 window profiles; the large paned, curved-glass lites are offset by custom fabricated crémone hardware. The result allows the homeowner to experience almost panoramic views of the rear gardens.
Ken Harbert, RA, associate at Larry E. Boerder Architects, added, “Crittall provided solid, dependable upfront information on the delivery of the solid, dependable and detailed shop drawings that were used early on in the design development phase for the homeowner review and approval process, and a thorough scheduling delivery date commitment for the builder for the window installation.”
Entries to the 2014 Crittall Prize ranged from private residences to schools, commercial premises and hotels, and were of such high quality that the competition will become a permanent fixture in the company’s calendar. The judging panel comprised Peter H. Miller, Hon. AIA, publisher and president of Home Buyer Publications; Andrew Hunter, principal, Hunter Price Architects; Mark Kelly, principal, Hassell Studio; and Chris Foges, editor, Architecture Today. For more information, visit http://www.crittall-windows.co.uk/content/3/103/the-crittall-prize.html.