Commercial Buliding Products: Serving Low- and Mid-Rise Construction – Article
Windows, Doors Add New Urban Distinction
To convey a small-town feel to each of the New Town planned community’s 10 unique neighborhoods, Whittaker Homes selected Kolbe’s windows and doors.
Walking to the store for a gallon of milk, playing a quick pre-dinner game of ball at the park, biking to the coffee shop for a quick lunch with friends, visiting with neighbors on the front porch. These are the picturesque results of new urbanism exemplified by Whittaker Homes on the massive, 750-acre, New Town site under construction in St. Charles, MO.
|New Town’s residences will feature a variety of Kolbe’s windows and doors to help each of the 10 distinctive neighborhoods project its unique style.|
Developers and designers around the world watch with interest and awe as the first residents of New Town transform a philosophical plan into a living, working reality. Already sensing its success, Whittaker is looking to duplicate the ‘New Town’ concept in other areas around the country.
In December 2005, New Town celebrated the completion of Year One in the construction of this 15-year building project. Phase two is underway and at least eight more phases are scheduled before 2020 when the former farmland will be covered with 10 distinctive, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.
Designed by Miami-based new urbanism champions Duany, Plater-Zyber & Co. (DPZ), New Town will feature civic green-space and lakes, community centers and churches, specialty shops and general stores, and small restaurants and cafs. Residence options range from single-family homes and cottages, to senior courtyard homes, live/work units, and townhomes.
Every building embraces a modern interpretation of the familiar, small-town comforts and presents high-tech amenities with 19th Century styling. Differentiated from other mixed-use, multi-family subdivisions, New Town’s construction relies on high-quality materials-such as Wausau,WI-based Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co. Inc.’s windows and doors-to articulate DPZ’s unified, yet personalized design plan for Whittaker Homes.
“When the Kolbe representative presented the windows, the first thing that caught my attention was the bottom window sash; it was more traditional than anything else on the market and perfectly complemented the architecture at The New Town at St. Charles. Once I researched the quality of the construction and the variety of trim colors, I knew Kolbe was the right supplier for New Town,” said New Town’s developer Greg Whittaker.
“Kolbe also allows for the flexibility that is necessary in a new urban community. We have several different housing types in New Town. We need a supplier that can work with us to provide a vast array of window sizes and colors,” Whittaker said.
Reviewing Kolbe’s near-limitless options, Whittaker was especially intrigued by the dual-color finish options, which allow for separate colors for the frame and the sash. Along with the seven-color palette of prescribed finishes, Kolbe’s aluminum-clad wood windows and doors were selected in specified sizes, trims, and grille patterns to communicate New Town’s architectural aesthetic across all of its buildings and homes.
“Even with the narrowed selection, this still is a lot broader range of options and a much higher quality product than we see most developers offer,” said Jack Meldrem of Jefferson City, MO-based distributor E-Blok. Ensuring Kolbe’s quality craftsmanship could be delivered at an accelerated pace, E-Blok worked closely with Whittaker, his architects, and his purchasing department for nearly two years before placing the first order.
Meldrem and his staff remain flexible and available, reviewing each order for accuracy, and talking almost every day with the Kolbe’s sales and fabrication representatives. He noted that this collaboration is essential, given the fast-track timelines. “Typically, we work with homeowners and builders on large, single-family homes. It’s not unusual to have the design and construction process take 18 to 24 months. Most homes in New Town are built in three to six months,” he said.
As of February 2006, New Town’s community included more than 600 sold housing units, plus civic and commercial buildings. “When we discovered the magnitude of the project, we were flabbergasted. We have changed our business to be more responsive than ever before. It’s an enormous undertaking,” Meldrem said.
“New Town is a 12- to 15-year project and will eventually result in 5,700 units. As the architecture evolves, each one of the ten phases will take on a character of its own. Kolbe’s windows are one of many products that accomplish our goal of creating a true town with quality materials that will stand the test of time and an architectural appeal that radiates timeless character and charm,” Whittaker said.