The future of folding glass walls is here (and before long, everywhere)
Lake Erie Residence
Architects at the Arcus Group know horses well, with one of the nation's leading equestrian building practices. Yet they also intimately know the weather swings that can unleash chilly winds and wind-driven rain in northern Ohio, especially along the shores of Lake Erie.
“That’s why we gravitate toward solutions like NanaWall,” says architect David Maddux, founding principal and treasurer of the firm. “And in many of the projects, such as our houses but also in our hotel work, we use indoor-outdoor environments even on the lake, where you want to capitalize on those few nice days we have during the year.”
Yet with the quickly changing microclimates and the waves of insects in the warmer months, “You have to mitigate these issues and the two ideas of enclosing the spaces and opening them to nature,” Maddux explains.
Creating a Three-Season Room
That was the case for a planned “three-season room” for a renovated house on a lakeside site in Rocky River, Ohio. The open-air porch was designed to maximize views of the lake, yet the tightly sealed operable glass walls keep the interior warm and draft-free in the winter. In the summer, NanaScreen protects against mosquitoes and moths. So now they have a “four-season room” instead.
Maddux designed a slate floor that extends out to a landscaped patio, creating visual continuity from the room’s arched ceiling with wood trim flourishes to the garden and seating areas outside. With the three walls open, it feels more like a gazebo than a sunroom – though it serves as both.
Arcus Group specified the NanaWall WA67 Aluminum Clad Wood Folding System based on smooth operation, aesthetics, and performance. The client was also excited about the high-quality German engineering. “He’s German himself, and he really appreciated the quality,” says Maddux.
The firm knew the client from previous work, and recommended the NanaWall WA67. “It was a beautiful house but it was closed up to the lake views,” Maddux recalls. “They suggested a screened porch, but we contended that the room needed to be occupied more of the year than just summer. And if we had screens, that would make it more of a three-season space.”
“Researching products, I was drawn to NanaWall's German engineering and construction. Our goal was a three-season room, and we achieved an airtight, four-season room.”
The homeowners agreed, and worked with the designers on possible uses for the room and an aesthetic direction. The concept became more of a “garden room,” with its proximity to lush grass and plantings.
The project went well, according to the client, and the operable glass walls work as predicted by Maddux and his team. “Winter on Lake Erie is brutal. Hail and 60 mph winds left homes along this lake front with severe window damage in the past,” they said. But after a season of harsh storms, high winds and the occasional windborne debris, “The NanaWalls came through without a scratch.”
“I am very pleased,” added the homeowners, saying they now have “peace of mind” with NanaWall. “Researching products, I was drawn to NanaWall's German engineering and construction. Our goal was a three-season room, and we achieved an airtight, four-season room.”
While there’s a nice eclectic mix of home styles in the Rocky River area, this house “has a pretty traditional feel, with lots of masonry and brick,” says Maddux. “Yet the NanaWall did fit in beautifully,” a stylistic complement to the home’s classic visage.
And the system gets plenty of use, he adds: “They open it up all the time.”