Dramatic Windows : Using Fenestration as Design Features!
Fenestration, or the openings in a building i.e. the doors and windows are like the nose and lungs of a structure. They provide ventilation, light and passive cooling. However, windows also serve another important purpose, that is defining and enhancing the building facade as well as complimenting the design and decor of the interiors. Fenestration has been widely used as a design feature in all forms and typologies of architecture worldwide. Dramatic windows and doors elevate the design of the building and lend character to the interiors. Different styles and designs of windows are being widely incorporated in modern architecture and we are fascinated! Let’s take a look at some of the cool examples of dramatic windows from the past, present and future!
The quintessential decorated windows of the past, seen in Europe, India, China etc. with the elaborate motifs and intricate stone carvings, imagery or patterns are a sight to behold. Not only are these styles beautiful to look at, some serve as passive cooling or shading devices as well. The dramatic overhangs, the ornamented Jali or lattice work in the windows in Jaipur, for example, are used to diffuse the hot glare of the Sun in the desert and filter cool breeze inside. The floor to ceiling glass windows, after the industrial revolution seen in the western parts of the world also engaged the user in the outside world while keeping the insides warm and cozy.
Modern architecture has witnessed a sweeping advancement in the design of fenestration. Engineered glass, ease of materials and availability with reduced costs plus engineering marvels have enabled architects to come up with the most dramatic windows. Architects are continuously experimenting with ways of using fenestration as a design feature, both in interiors as well as the facade, in order for the structure to stand out as well as be functional in terms of lighting and ventilation.
Windows play a major part in defining the interior atmosphere and a well designed window can elevate the home or space into a more efficient and visually appealing space. Huge arched windows, wide set floor to ceiling glass windows, bay windows, loft or attic windows and curtain walls are some of the modern typologies of windows as widely seen in the world. There are also more conventional types such as the aluminum sliding windows or doors, used in apartments and corporate buildings owing to mass manufacturing and easy and quick delivery plus installation. The ornamented windows of the past, are what they are, a thing of the past. Only rarely, do we see modern architecture dealing with windows like all their glorious past. However, it makes sense to shift to simpler, more stylish and more easier and quicker solutions for windows in modern times, to sync with technology and life in the modern era. Judging from the examples above, we aren’t complaining!
The future of windows is bright and well lit! As we race towards heightened technologies, scientific advancements in the Architecture and design fields, we can afford to experiment and go crazy with window designs. With ever decreasing space, skylights and attic windows are sure to be the future. With historical construction methods, it wasn’t always possible to achieve windows in the tightest of spaces or in odd shapes. All that has changed for the future, when everything from glass slits, to triangular or circular windows or windows in huge concave walls is also possible. The question is, till where is one willing to go?
Sample the above fascinating windows for some food for thought. Incorporating the glass window in the bathroom with a tiny green space, or having a wheel like fin design to allow or stop light, or a revolving circular window, all these are ingenius ideas which take the interior vibe to the next level. Making the window, the dominant element in the room is so cost effective and good for the building, as it needs no other ornamentation, the cost of making the window more or less remains the same, plus the function and aesthetic it provides, takes the building efficiency a whole notch higher.
Author: Jamila Sidhpurwala
Jamila is one part artist, two parts foodie, and all parts traveler. She is a patron of good art and design and loves to immerse herself in books and music. Simplicity and minimalism is her motto as an architect. A writing enthusiast, she surrounds herself with all things creative. She actively shuns all “ists” and “isms” and firmly believes in a “no – label” world! She isn’t afraid to take risks, speak her mind, push forward and challenge preconceptions. She is currently pursuing Masters in Architecture at the University of Liechtenstein.