Automating the operation of sash windows

Recently, we automated the operation of sash windows in the historic ballroom at Government House Victoria.

Sealasash has recently completed works to the ballroom of Government House Victoria.

When completed in 1876 Government House was the largest in any colony and the ballroom is larger than the ballroom in Buckingham Palace. These days the ballroom is used year-round for ceremonies and events.

One of the challenges faced by organisers is that all 16 three-metre-tall double-hung windows are located six metres above the floor and cannot easily be opened or closed.

Originally staff would have walked onto the roof and used long poles to operate the top sashes. These days, this is not considered a safe or practical option.

When large crowds are present, especially in summer time, the room becomes uncomfortably stuffy and hot without the benefit of that ventilation.

Sealasash was approached by Lovell Chen Architects to design and implement a plan to automate the windows.

There is no off-the-shelf option for achieving this.

It was crucial to deliver a solution that was reliable, quiet, invisible and respected the heritage character of the windows.

Sealasash developed and tested a prototype that conceals the mechanisms inside the original counterweight pockets. Then the design was refined and manufactured by another Tasmanian business, Travtech, and installed by Sealasash.

Also central to our solution was the installation of low-friction draught seals which make the operation of the sashes quiet and smooth.

Today, even though the windows look exactly the same as they did, all windows can be operated electronically, and are attached to a building management system so that they will close themselves in poor weather.

We are very proud of our solution and are now able to offer the system worldwide.

If you would like to talk to a timber window expert who understands all your options, and who will listen to your priorities, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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