The opening as a horizontal strip

Systems in architecture

Fig. 36: Different horizontal strip windows lend the facade a distinct hierarchy.

M. Ponsett, E. Salas: "La Fabrlca" furniture manufacturer, Barcelona (E), 1961

Fig. 36: Different horizontal strip windows lend the facade a distinct hierarchy.

M. Ponsett, E. Salas: "La Fabrlca" furniture manufacturer, Barcelona (E), 1961

"La Fabrica" furniture manufacturer

The internal organisation of this building is clearly legible on its facade. At ground level it is almost entirely one large display window. And this generous transparency is repeated for the working areas on the three stepped-back floors above.

In between, the high-level, continuous strip windows to the display areas extend across the full width of the facade. These have the effect of dividing the facade horizontally, storey by storey, and thus underline the hierarchy in a simple way.

Herzog & de Meuron: House in Tavole

Like an abandoned child, the building stands amid olive groves. The delicate concrete frame forms a fragile envelope denoting the floors. The i nfill panels are of rubble stone.

Whereas the individual windows submit to the rules of stratification, the mullioned continuous horizontal strip window separates the solid coursing of the envelope from the oversailing eaves. The window extends around three sides to admit light into an interior that is heavily influenced by the omnipresent landscape.

Fig. 40: The dominant horizontal strip window on the upper floor reveals the loadbearing structure.

Otto Rudolf, Salvisberg: first church of the Christian Science Church Basel (CH), 1937

Fig. 40: The dominant horizontal strip window on the upper floor reveals the loadbearing structure.

Otto Rudolf, Salvisberg: first church of the Christian Science Church Basel (CH), 1937

Otto Rudolf Salvisberg:

first church of the Christian Science Church

The church is located in a courtyard plot set back from the road. The entrance is through an open foyer which is defined by the cantilevering assembly hall on the upper floor.

A finely divided horizontal strip window dominates the facade. The ensuing transparency reinforces the curving shape of the hall. A consistent level of daylight is able to reach deep into the building.

Separated from the facade, the I oadbearing structure of individual columns becomes distinct, having absolutely no effect on the facade itself.

Fig. 38: The horizontal strip window separates Fig. 39: Plan of upper floor the roof from the solid walls. Herzog & de Meuron: House In Tavole (I), 1988

Herzog & de Meuron: House In Tavole (I), 1988

Fig. 37: The landscape seen through the horizontal strip window has a clear Influence on the Interior.

Herzog & de Meuron: House In Tavole (I), 1988

Fig. 38: The horizontal strip window separates Fig. 39: Plan of upper floor the roof from the solid walls. Herzog & de Meuron: House In Tavole (I), 1988

Herzog & de Meuron: House In Tavole (I), 1988

Harry Weese: Metropolitan Detention Centre

This prison in the centre of Chicago is a triangular high-rise block built completely in reinforced concrete. At first sight the facades look like giant punched cards for computers owing to the pattern of the windows, which appear as storey-high joints between the masonry panels of irregular width extending vertically between the regularly spaced floors of the building.

Upon closer inspection we discover that the width of the windows has been calculated exactly to rule out the need for any bars. The reveals splay outwards, thereby maximising the angle of view from each cell. Horizontal openings for the plant rooms halfway up the building and the exercise yard on the top f loor represent the exceptions. These horizontal dividers add scale to the monumental appearance of this "prison tower".

Fig. 43: Positioning the window in the corner leads to different lighting effects.

Diener + Diener: Pasquart Centre (museum), Biel (CH), 1999

Fig. 43: Positioning the window in the corner leads to different lighting effects.

Diener + Diener: Pasquart Centre (museum), Biel (CH), 1999

Diener + Diener: Pasquart Centre

The extension by Diener + Diener sets itself apart from the existing building by appearing as its "poor relation". But the use of tall windows, a characteristic feature of the existing building, nevertheless creates a powerful link between the two.

Whereas the openings in the facade appear as traditional holes, from inside they become slits stretching from floor to ceiling, allowing ample light into the rooms. Positioned at the corners, the windows create two interior zones near the facade, characterised by their different lighting conditions. They therefore encourage a particular layout of the exhibits.

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