article posted 09 Feb 2016
Caitlyn Phipps is a first year PhD student at Heriot-Watt University, with her research focus
including the analysis of window glass in-situ and samples from glaziers working at historic properties to determine
the conservation philosophy of window glass in Scotland. She completed her Masters in Chemistry at Western
Carolina University and a 6 month fellowship at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Conservation Science lab before
starting her PhD in Edinburgh.
Protecting Scotland's historic window glass:
A study looking at the measures being taken to protect
one of the most vulnerable materials in buildings
Caitlyn E. Phipps and Craig J. Kennedy
School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University,
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS
Windows in buildings are a vital material that allow the outside world in, protect the inside of the building from
the elements and add to a buildings character. Unfortunately, historic window glass is one of the most vulnerable
materials in a building, often being replaced because of damage, energy inefficiency and lack of knowledge
regarding its importance as an aesthetic contribution to the buildings character.
To understand the challenges addressed when working with historic windows, a comprehensive study is being
done investigating the current practices in place. This study takes into account the 'value' placed onto windows
as an historic material, the options available for conservation of window glass and the rationale behind the decision
making process when working with historic windows. Along with addressing the philosophical debate, case
studies are being used to demonstrate the current approach taken when working with historic window glass.
This study will help to provide a more holistic understanding to the damage being done to historic windows,
which is one of the most endangered materials in buildings.