By the year 2000, the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia congregation in Nashville was filled beyond capacity and suffered from many structural and safety problems. Unless major improvements were made, insurance coverage would be withdrawn and the convent would have to close. The sisters embarked upon a massive renovation and expansion to save the building and gain more space.
Bids were sought for a three-phase project: a substantial three-sided addition of more than 100,000 square feet; a new chapel, forming the fourth side of what would become a cloistered courtyard; and, finally, the complete renovation of the 84,000-square-foot original Motherhouse, the earliest wing of which was built in 1860 and had housed Union troops during the Civil War.
One of the major components of the project involved building and installing approximately 750 new and replacement windows. While the new-construction phase was huge, involving more than 300 windows, the renovation project was the most complex with approximately 440 custom-built windows in a large variety of shapes and sizes, many of them of massive dimensions and requiring unique design solutions, including custom panning systems and replication details.
Dale Incorporated, Marvin Windows and Doors' Nashville distributor, consulted Marvin's Signature Products and Services and architectural departments and were assured that Marvin could build the windows. Marvin and Dale Inc. worked closely with the sisters to provide the ideal combination of products and services that would meet the needs of the enormously complex project. Thus began a relationship that would involve weekly, and often daily, meetings over the next couple of years, in a process known as "design/build" — where architects, contractors and owners work together on an early and ongoing basis to come up with optimal results.
The window specifications for the renovation included clad double hung and single hung windows, many with round tops. Custom Charles Street panning was used throughout the renovation, covering existing peeling and rotting sills and jambs of varying widths with a maintenance-free aluminum surface.
Many windows in the renovation project were Marvin's "Variation #6 Round Top" windows — an uncommon design with a round-topped sash and frame on the exterior and a round-topped sash and rectangular frame on the interior. Marvin's architectural department rose to the particularly unusual challenge of recreating 22 highly distinctive "angel wing" windows. Each of these Magnum Single Hung Variation #6 Round Top windows stands almost 12 feet high and features interior authentic divided lite in the upper sash; a 3½" beaded wood bar on the interior with 1¾" beading around the circular lite; and a decorative exterior one-piece milled upper sash. These specially designed windows uphold the highest standards of hand-crafted millwork and truly exemplify Marvin's capabilities.
The sisters have now moved into their renovated and expanded quarters. Understandably, having a sound infrastructure, better-designed spaces and ample room to grow has had an extraordinary impact on the community. With energy-efficient windows in place, the sisters were able to invest in new heating systems and, for the first time ever, to install central air conditioning. The sisters say they have been surprised and delighted by the functional and aesthetic difference their new windows have made to their Motherhouse.
Complete renovation of historic convent, plus new construction of 100,000-square-foot addition and chapel
Customization, craftsmanship and design ingenuity on a massive scale
Replication of 22 highly unique “angel wing” Authentic Divided Lite windows
Over 400 custom-built insulating Low-E with Argon gas windows in renovation phase
1860 brick Italianate convent/school with additional wings added in 1888 and 1904
Units and Applications
Magnum Double Hung and Single Hung aluminum-clad windows
Round Top Variation #6 windows
Custom Charles Street Panning