Steel Window Replication, Lansing, Michigan

Constructed in 1916, the building originally served as the motor wheel factory for the W.K. Prudden Company. At the time, the company was the world’s largest producer of both wood and steel wheels. By 1924, the company employed as many people as the State of Michigan did in 2000. By 1934, they had control over one-third of the entire nation’s wheel business, far surpassing any other wheel manufacturer.

This building is a classic example of early modern American factory architecture with its clean, simple lines, ultra-minimalism aspects and cube-like composition. The entire building facades were dominated by hot rolled industrial steel windows.

BlackBerry found over 80% of the existing windows had failed due to rust and corrosion. The challenge of this project was to find a high-performance, narrow site line window that would match the existing steel windows historically. BlackBerry worked directly with Traco and designed a new narrow historic replica product, the NX-380 fixed and the NX-350 projected windows. The final result was a new high-performance window with insulated glass, simulated divide lite muntins and structural mullions, meeting the SHPO and NPS standards. The nearly 40,000 square feet of window area makes it one of the largest installations of its kind in the country.

The Motor Wheel Lofts building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and was a National Park Service Historic Tax Credit Project. The building was also a Platinum LEED project that is now fully occupied, featuring 15 different loft-style apartment floor plans.