One of the Yale Union laundry building’s most stunning features is the row of arched windows that provide ample light to the space. These windows are significant because their inclusion was an early concession to improve working conditions for laundry workers by attempting to improve air quality and also provide plenty of natural light in a building that, at the time of its construction, did not have electric lighting. The windows are also important to the nonprofit in that YU and its visiting artists and curator work to create exhibitions that are both unique in their fabrication and in the final display. Rather than just using the building as the location of display, exhibitions are often integrated into the space itself in such a way that aspects of the building become part of the final production.
The windows at Yale Union need significant restoration work so that they can last for another century. The current condition of the windows is poor: Frames have moisture damage, sashes are misaligned, seals are missing, and there is significant energy loss. Yale Union also has a goal of creating a museum-quality environment that effectively controls and minimizes agents of deterioration such as temperature, humidity, UV light, and atmospheric pollution.
Yale Union plans to restore as many of the original windows as possible and use like materials with the same historic character in the replacement. The glass will be upgraded to improve environmental conditions and provide UV protection to artwork displayed in the space. The first phase of this project will look to restore eight windows on the second level. Consider SUPPORTING this project and help Yale Union restore this piece of history and create an exhibition environment that meets museum standards.
As of April 1, 2019, Yale Union has begun restoration work on fourteen of the 30 windows in the second-floor exhibition hall. For funding this work, Yale Union gratefully acknowledges support from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office–Oregon Heritage, and Prosper Portland.