Midcentury lakeside renovation creates a glass box to take advantage of southern views and the beachfront.
Northern Michigan—with its blue skies and distinct seasons—is wonderful year round. The climate of Michigan is largely affected by the surrounding five Great Lakes—including Lake Michigan—the largest freshwater lake (by area in one country) which lines the west coast of Michigan. Glen Lake is just a few miles from Lake Michigan, connected via the meandering Crystal River, where several hamlets and villages lie along or near its shores. Located on Glen Lake in a setting of wooded rolling sand hills just east of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is a midcentury modern renovation that makes the most of this year-round paradise.
Huge walls of glass frame picturesque views of the iridescent indigo blue water just a few yards away, while bathing the addition with natural light, enlivening the space in the summer and giving it a soft, warm glow during the northern Michigan winters.
Windows and doors in dwellings play a vital role in keeping the inclement weather out, while bringing the natural light and views in at the same time. Michigan has fairly even precipitation of snow during the winter while showers and thunderstorms are common during the spring and summer months.
“Our approach was to create a glass box to take advantage of the amazing southern views and exposure to the site,” says Ray Kendra, owner-architect of Environment Architects. “As we are typically working on very scenic sites with great natural attributes, the indoor-outdoor connection is something we are constantly embracing in our designs. Aluminum windows and doors with clean, slim-framed sightlines offer that connectivity.” Material choices are worthy of careful consideration for anyone looking to build or remodel in Northern Michigan.
The architect, Ray Kendra, chose Western Window Systems aluminum thermal barrier windows and doors at the midcentury modernist home on the beachfront at Glen Lake. Other similar residential and light commercial projects were designed, built or renovated by Environment Architects in the Traverse City area, northern Michigan and Lake Michigan coastal locations creatively including energy-efficient thermal barrier aluminum fenestration products.
Compared to other materials, aluminum windows with an insulating thermal barrier polymer are stronger, yet inexpensive and have clean, thinner profiles that many architects prefer.
Completely customizable, a limitless array of openings—from single-panel doors to openings that span an entire wall—allow the architect to create views from various sizes and shapes of glass. Aluminum thermal barrier windows are perfect for cold (or hot) climates and will hold up to stresses, weathering and look great when used in large openings.
The Western Window Systems Series 600 Window Wall incorporates energy-efficient thermal barrier in the aluminum framing. Dual-paned low-E glass reflects heat while allowing light to pass through. The Series 600 increases energy performance, and aluminum is low maintenance too. And because the Series 600 is designed to integrate with various ventilating window styles as well as the Series 900 hinged and sliding doors—also used in the renovation—it’s flexible as well as functional and built to last.
Dubbed “Storm of the Century,” residents and visitors faced a catastrophic 100-year storm in Northern Michigan, when 100 mph straight-line winds raced through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore like a sledgehammer in August 2015 downing and twisting thousands of trees in the popular tourism and agriculture area—its landscape altering affects can still be seen today.
“Just two weeks after completion, the owners were inside watching the extreme weather with concern, however the exterior of the newly renovated home had no damage,” according to Ray Kendra.