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Milwaukee War Memorial

The Project

Milwaukee War Memorial's iconic "Birdcage" staircase, which shelters the Eternal Flame in the Veteran's Courtyard, has been fully restored using Pilkington Spacia™  Vacuum insulated glazing.The steel-framed staircase, designed by renowned Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, had not undergone any major renovation work since the building was dedicated in 1957. With this restoration, the framework has now been completely stripped and painted and the hundreds of original wired glass panes replaced by 3,000 sq feet of the thin Pilkington Spacia™ units.

"The project had been delayed for some time because standard IGU units would be too thick for the steel sashes and the cost of replacing or reconfiguring the steel glazing bars was prohibitive," said Business Development Manager Kyle Sword.

"Single glazing would fit the frames but did not meet the targeted  the thermal insulation and energy performance targets set by the owners.. When Pilkington Spacia™ was reviewed as an alternative, it ended up being a perfect fit for the project and enabled the restoration."

Typical commercial IGUs are ~1” thick whereas Pilkington Spacia™ units are just ~1/4” thick, so they fit the original frames plus provided the required energy improvements.  They were fitted by window restoration company Restoric, with a very small amount of Pilkington Energy Advantage™ being used for some small corner panes.  With the breadth of available products, Pilkington has shown through this project they can be a key solution provider in the historic restoration field.

The project was completed in time for Memorial Day in May 2017.

  Project ReferenceUSA302R
  View Project Location Map
Project Details
Opening Date
May 2017
Building Type
  • Public
About the Architect/Installer
- Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc.
Benefit Led Categories
  • Thermal Insulation