Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Windows in Architecture

By Nicholas Mosher

                The main uses of windows are to allow light and air to pass through a solid surface into a building or a house. They come in many different variations of sizes and functions along with different shapes. Today there is a window that can match any need in a wall, ceiling or even a floor.  This allows for the window to become an important part of architecture.  The windows alone can make a house look more aesthetic while still maintaining their function.  Entire walls can be replaced with curtains of windows to allow maximum views in and out of a space.  An argument can be made that the window is just as important as the wall itself when it comes to getting a desirable look. 
                Windows have been used since the ancient Egyptians were creating structures.  During that time a window was just considered to be an opening in the wall.  It still serves the same purpose as current windows today and that is to allow light in as well as air.  In ancient Greece, the design of housing rarely had a window in it.  Due to the rooms being open in a single central location, the door ways were used to allow light and air in.  The Romans were the first civilization to use glazed windows.  Glass was placed in the openings of the windows to still allow for light to pass through while retaining the heat inside the buildings.  The early Christian and Byzantine era still use glass panels in the openings but started to get creative with the framing of the windows.  Instead of just having the brick or concrete from the structure of the wall as the frame, marble was added.  This allowed for a difference and patterns to be created making the entire structures more aesthetically pleasing.  Later the effect of having different colored glass was used along with the different materials for the frame.  This allowed for many different styles to be made and compliment both the exterior of the building as well as each interior space1
                The addition of adding curves to the shape of a window became very popular.  Arch-shaped windows became symbols of important buildings.  Also, by the advancement in structural technologies, windows were able to become larger and allow for more light into a space as well as show off more works of art through stained glass1.
                Today the progression of windows have allowed for even more options to customize the color, material and size of the panes and frames.  Typically, the frames are all metal and the panes are glass.  This is because of how cheap and easy it is to manipulate and form the materials1.  The metals can be painted any color and the glass can be colored in many different options (typically they aren’t) as well.  This much customization can allow for the every window to compliment any feature in a building and is why windows in architecture are very important not just for their functions, but also for their aesthetics. 


1.       (Window.) Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 15 Jan. 2014. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/645175/window.

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