Tivoli Student Union

Historic renovation projects often come with countless challenges. The recent makeover of the Tivoli Student Union at the University of Colorado’s Auraria campus proved no different.

Warped and rotting windows, leaking roofs and crumbling masonry greeted the project team tasked to transform the former brewery and shopping mall into a student union in 2005. The $20 million, 324,000-square-foot renovation, done by SlaterPaull Architects in Denver, was completed in 2006.

The project featured 260 window openings of which only 12 were the same size, requiring 180 custom-fitted, energy efficient and historically styled windows.

“Not only did we have a myriad of window sizes. We also faced different materials that would have been used over 100 years. Some original openings modified over time as well,” says Mark Wernimont, project manager for the glass installer Colorado Sash and Door Inc. of Fort Collins, Colo.

Kolbe Windows & Doors of Wausau, Wis., supplied the replacement windows using LoE2-270 glass from Cardinal Glass Industries of Eden Prairie, Minn. The custom-fitted windows feature extruded frames finished in steel blue and extruded sashes in camel, with pine interior wood trim.

“We replaced the historic wood windows with aluminum clad wood windows,” Wernimont says. “But the details of the new windows had to mimic the old. We had to make aluminum look like wood.”

The biggest challenge, literally, was the more than 700-pound, 70-square-foot window assembly that glaziers installed on the backside of the building, Wernimont says.

“For the huge window on the backside of that tower, we ended up having to take it up the front face with motorized scaffolding, getting it over the roof of the building and lowering it down to the opening with a lip boom,” Wernimont says. “We had reinforced the roof and made a dolly so the guys could get it across.”