Vermont Gallery Replacing 19th-Century Skylights

Posted by jcashman

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) — For nearly 140 years, four metal-and-glass Victorian skylights have helped protect the prized art collection at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.

Now, they’re being replaced. And it’s no simple task.

After three years of design, fabrication and installation, work is nearing completion on a sophisticated triple-glazed window system with tintable insulated glass. Work on the construction phase of the $733,000 project is expected to be completed in mid-September, clearing the way for the gallery’s reopening in November.

The Athenaeum, a library and art gallery in northern Vermont that houses more than 120 paintings, sculptures and works of art. It dates to 1871 and is home to more than 120 paintings, sculptures and reproductions of Renaissance and Baroque pieces.

Among them: “Domes of Yosemite,” a 10-by-15-foot Albert Bierstadt work that is among the nation’s most famous paintings.

The skylights — one is 12 by 18 feet, one is 7-foot square and two others are 4-foot squares — had deteriorated to a point where replacing them was the only option.

“We were struggling to find a solution to block the UV rays without using a retract able screen that would have seriously compromised the aesthetic appeal of the Victorian-style gallery,” said Werner Heidemann, a member of the Athenaeum’s board of trustees.

Officials at the Athenaeum, a National Historic Landmark, worked with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation to evaluate the system developed by SAGE Electrochromics, Inc., of Faribault, Minn.

It consists of a triple-glazed window system that incorporates electronically tintable insulated glass, controlling light levels in the gallery and blocking solar radiation.

The glass can be switched from clear to darkly tinted and back at the push of a button, operated manually or automatically.

“To find energy-efficient solutions while maintaining the historic preservation standards is challenging, so we are pleased that by installing the new glass system, both the energy efficiency at the Athenaeum will be improved and its treasurer collection protected from the damaging effects of solar radiation,” said Judith Williams Ehrlich, director of operations for the Division for Historic Preservation.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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Posted by jcashman on Aug 21 2011. Filed under Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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