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Framing the modernist movement  – Steel frame windows

The most emblematic elements of mid-20th century architecture are steel, glass and concrete. Steel frame windows are skeletally elegant and form a fenestration which can be easily read even by the untrained eye. Steel frame windows came from a necessity, following the 19th century fire in Chicago, to have fire resistance and industrial made window units which could be transported and installed more easily and economically than timber joinery.
The windows were quickly adopted by architects, creating new styles of buildings for the coming machine age and the age of mass production, new building types not before envisioned including power stations, railway stations, large factory buildings, hospitals and sky scrapers.

Steel frame window restoration specialists
Palmer Architectural Steelworks was established in 1990 and since then the specialist team has carried out both small and large-scale projects covering all aspects of fenestration conservation.

Created from a desire to see owners of heritage buildings continue to restore steelwork rather than replace with non-period versions, the team has built up a strong reputation in the heritage steel restoration industry, working on significant projects including the restoration of steel frame windows and doors at Sydney University, GPO Martin Place and St Mary’s Cathedral.

We have worked on cast iron windows dating to the 1850s; bronze windows from the 1950s and steel frame windows from inter-war to modern contemporary. With a small, dedicated team we are able to offer highly personalised service.


Meet the team

Garry Palmer B.Arch

Garry started his career in metal fabrication as an apprentice boilermaker from 1974 -1978. He later completed a degree in architecture at UTS where he graduated with honours, also winning the prestigious Nelson Medal from the NSW Royal Institute of Architects for his work in the field of conservation, restoration and remediation of ferrous and non-ferrous architectural elements. Garry is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney Masters course in Heritage Conservation. In his spare time Garry collects, restores and sells 1960s Parker furniture.

Ross Capener

Ross’ working life began as an apprentice draughtsman in the water, gas and oil industry, followed by a period fabricating components during the booming oil years in Scotland. On arrival in Australia, Ross started work as a boilermaker in a medium sized fabrication shop in Sydney, progressing to planning engineer. Several years later a change took Ross to a production controller position at a large multinational company involved in lighting.

After spending thirteen years as the production manager at a sheet metal company, Ross decided it was time to turn his skills to a hands on application. Ross has spent the last eighteen years restoring and conserving steel frame windows with Palmer Architectural Steelworks and has found this work both a challenging and enjoyable experience. Ross gains great satisfaction restoring windows for the coming generations to enjoy.

Gryff Palmer

Having learnt his boilermaker trade as an apprentice for his father at 16, Gryff has spent the last 18 years working on large scale steel projects in Australia, the UK and Papua New Guinea. From the naval ships at Garden Island to the gold mines of PNG, Gryff has a keen interest in the construction of major works as a well as a passion for history, culture and the importance of our heritage listed buildings. If he wasn’t a boilermaker, Gryff would spend his time collecting and restoring classic cars.

Contact us now for a free quote on your project