Window Details

The Georgian window developed in the eighteenth century satisfied all the known criteria at the time. It admitted unadulterated daylight, it provided ventilation when required, and it could be controlled by internal shutters, providing additional security. The splay at the sides (and sometimes at the cill as well) together with the careful detailing of the glazing bars, assisted in balancing the brightness between the inside of the room and the outside. However it did little for thermal insulation, and on sunny elevations problems of solar gain and the possibility of glare, were considered less important at the time.

Windows have developed a long way from this point, from the standard horizontal or vertical windows set into the side walls of the majority of residential properties, to the window walls commonly found in modern office blocks. The Georgian window, however, provides some lessons which have apparently not been learnt today, mostly to do with the subtlety of the detailing.

Extension to Boxmoor church Window with symbolic cross. Compare with the windows of the original church, having their own symbolism

Extension to Boxmoor church Window with symbolic cross. Compare with the windows of the original church, having their own symbolism

1. To assist with modern methods of production, the timber sections used for dividing the opening parts from the fixed glazed areas, tend to be heavy, interrupting the view out, particularly where they cross the sight lines of those inside.

2. Where glazing bars are required, between the different glazed areas they are often very heavy, and where in the Georgian window the detailing would have allowed the light to flow around the bar, reducing its apparent size, the modern glazing bar tends to create unsatisfactory shadows within and a barrier to the view, further reducing the amount of daylight available.

3. The use of splayed sides between the window and the wall, to balance the brightness of the window seen against the brightness of the interior of the room has almost been forgotten, a lesson learnt in our mediaeval churches, and which is equally relevant today; the use of the splay to conceal security shutters may however not be required. This is of course not to deny the advantages of the modern domestic window, in terms of both thermal and acoustic capacity, with the introduction of double glazing.

Whilst the majority of windows are of the type discussed, set into walls at intervals, either horizontal or vertical, each having their own characteristics in determining the quality of daylight entering the room. It is more likely that wall-to-wall windows will be used in modern office blocks, and these will have their own structural detailing; for example there may be no need to have horizontal divisions since the glass sizes will generally be able to stretch between the cill and the ceiling level or spandrel, whilst the divisions between the wide panes of glass horizontally can be minimized to avoid the break-up of the view.

It will however be important to consider the junction at the point where the window meets a wall at right angles at a major subdivision of the space, or the end of the building; here the reflection factor of the wall

Corbusiers church in Ronchamp. Detail of a View of the exterior window where symbolism characterizes the interior

Corbusiers church in Ronchamp. Detail of a View of the exterior window where symbolism characterizes the interior needs to be kept high, to avoid a conflict of brightness. Alternatively the architect may wish to break up the elevation of his building, by the introduction of structural elements which articulate the perimeter of the facade. In such cases the wide horizontal windows located between the vertical structures might be treated in the same manner as the splays of the more traditional building. The window elevations of buildings need to be carefully considered when related to the orientation of the facades, with care taken to provide solutions to any exposure where there is a need for solar shading and protection from glare.

Windows can provide a degree of symbolism; this was apparent on the type of window used for Anglican churches, which from frequent use become symbolic of this type of church. Many examples exist of symbolism in the windows of churches, not least in the stained glass infilling. A modern example of symbolism in a new extension to an Anglican church in Boxmoor, where it is clear that the Christian cross is visible; this may be compared with the original windows.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment