Windows from the beginning of time have been used as a strong architectural element connecting the inner world to the exterior. It is that one element that provides visual aid as well as restricts entry to the inside. Windows have played a big role in creating a safer environment indoors and overlooking the outside for security outdoors as well. They have shaped the building and accommodated the built at ease concerning the climatic conditions. It is a great source of daylight and ventilation. 

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Today, windows are more than just about the basic requirements. They define the elevation of a building. They also define nature and purpose. As good as a window can be for the well-being of an individual, it can also affect one, wrongly if not planned and placed correctly. 

Hence, below are some of the world’s most interesting windows. 

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1. Gable Pack; Gyeonggi-do, South Korea / AND

The Gable Pack is a housing complex in South Korea with small unit houses placed one above the other. The houses were perfectly designed to accommodate a family of three. The slope of the roof was at a ratio of 1:1 to 1:3. The elevation mimicked the gable profile to give a clear idea of the houses inside. 

This was also done to create an interesting interior where each house received a gable profile alcove. This could act as an extended portion of the house allowing sunlight inside, views onto the street as well as a leisure space within the house. The entrance too went with the same profile. The façade makes the houses look like they’ve been plugged into a core. 

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2. Flower + Kindergarten; Seoul, South Korea / Jungmin Nam

Seoul being a densely populated city needed a kindergarten that felt more open and calming to the children. Flower Kindergarten created a façade that brought in enough daylight which would make the kids feel safer and happier. It would also allow them to look at the green spaces outside. 

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The continuous windows along the stairs help throw a pop of colour outside that helps it to easily be located in a place where most buildings look the same. The windows are also at different scales such that the kids can be able to use the lower and smaller ones.

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3. Hadaway House; Whistler, Canada / Patkau Architects

The hadaway house is located on the north-western slope of Whistler. The site available was 5000sq feet. With the site being small, the house was to accommodate all the essential spaces in the house along with an automatic system for disposal of snow that gets accumulated on the roof. Hence a slanted profile opted. A central cervix runs through the deepest part of the house to provide light during winters. The same is used to ventilate the lower-level spaces during summers. 

Larger open spaces like the living room are complemented with an outdoor deck area and the windows took the form of the built-up. The bigger spaces have larger glass windows to allow more daylight while the lower spaces have smaller openings to avoid the harsh low winter sun. Also, the majority of openings are towards the vegetation. 

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4. The Guild, Indonesia / RAW Architecture

The Guild is a sanctuary built in the noisy city of Jakarta that is solid on the outside but opens on the inside. The building consists of a living area, a master bedroom, a studio place, a library, open courtyard, and a kitchen. The west-east tropical sunlight is blocked by placing ancillary facilities like the bathroom and the façade is open on the north-south orientation. 

The circular windows add playful geometry to the building. It creates an engagement between the indoor and the outdoor spaces. The large openings also bring in the air with the pond acting as a cooling agent during summer. The pyramidal skylights also help in bringing in daylight.

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5. House Berhnheimbeuk, Belgium, by Architecten De Vylder Vinck Taillieu

The house consists of very minimal openings. Most of the side walls are covered in tiles and the remaining pieces are used to create a design around the windows. The tree is interspersed within the structure and the windows were cladded in a design to mimic the tree. The column was also designed like the branch of a tree. The Remaining large windows create an open interior space. 

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6. Orsi Khaneh, Iran, by Keivani Architects

A 7-story apartment in Iran is inspired by traditional Iranian architecture. The windows used a system of modernising the traditional Orsi window ideogram. It consisted of a wooden frame, wooden lattice, and stained glasses. Matching slatted sunshades are raised over the windows to provide l temperature control. 

The large window frames are made of a sedimentary stone called the travertine that helps reduce additional heat built up. The frames break the harsh winter sun from entering. It allows natural ventilation within the spaces. The windows were designed in a way to cater to the biological and mental needs of the users. 

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7. SkinnyScar House, Netherlands, by Gwendolyn Huisman and Marijn Boterman

The Skinny scar house is an intervention between two buildings. Having a tight and narrow space, the challenge for the architects was to create openings and also give privacy to the residents. The building is open on the front and the back which eliminates the limitations of creating good openings. These alternate levelled glass windows with perforated screens provide views and ventilation within the space. 

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Interesting private spaces are created on the backside which provides great views to the vegetation behind. This arrangement of panoramic windows creates a pattern and a continuum such that one doesn’t feel blocked within the space. The windows looking onto the street are used for reading and interaction space in a way that frames the urban fabric. 

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8. Scape House S, Japan, by Kouichi Kimura

The highlight of the design of the scape house is its windows. These windows are all of different sizes creating a hierarchy to get different views of the outdoors. The cuboids are arranged in a way to create light and scenery along with versatile spaces. Hence every space feels like a different scene based on its functionality. These scenic frames were designed very carefully deciding what was the exact desired view. 

Some windows only facilitate views inside the house and not outdoors. The house is given a clean look by using monochromatic shades. This arrangement of volumes and openings created interesting spaces inside.  

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9. Diamond House, Singapore, by Formwerkz Architects

The diamond house is designed for a small family. The built form is open towards the man-made lake and is tightly packed on either side. The front and back are strategically designed to allow optimal daylight inside and minimum compromise on privacy. The built form expands on the higher levels and looks like a solid mass – giving the name diamond house. 

The entire panel glass is in the shape of a triangle that lights up in the evening giving the view of the three levels inside. The glass window is designed mainly to keep the angles of the form in mind. Hence the triangle is tilted. 

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10. Cirqua Apartments, Australia, BKK Architects

The Cirqua apartments is a housing project constructed in Melbourne. The project works on the principles of rethinking and reinventing housing units keeping the traditional elements. The building is unique for its materiality and volumetric composition. The large circular windows are given for two reasons. It brings in abundant sunlight and it divides the mass such that it looks less bulky and both the floors receive an equal amount of daylight. This creates openness within the space. 

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The form is also based on urban principles of collective memory. The circles being the highlight, make one aware of the place and create a picture in one’s head.

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11. Vila Franca de Xira Municipal Library / Miguel Arruda Arquitectos Associados

A library designed mainly to serve the local population; Villa Franca is located close to the Tagus River. The interior spaces are staggered at each level. The vertical space is reinforced by a triangular window common to all the floors, which becomes the key to communication to the outside. 

Each space receives abundant daylight making it user-friendly for reading, observing, and writing. The triangle contributes to the act of observing the landscape around. 

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12. Masa Restaurant / Studio Cadena

Masa is a restaurant designed at a residential scale by studio Cadena. It consists of a corner café, bakery, dining, and retail space. The blocks of cuboids sit independently and the right-angle triangles of varying sizes designed on the façade connect them making them one single block of built form. It is done to create uniformity but also allows intimacy in the interior spaces. 

The windows also include a circular one that looks outside the kitchen adding to the playful quality of the space. This was also a strategy for the designer to make it a standpoint that wouldn’t need much branding due to its architectural quality. 

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13.  Maya Somaiya Library, Sharda School / Sameep Padora & Associates

Designed for students, the Maya Somaiya library in Maharashtra is based on the idea of connecting the roof to the ground such that it can be used for students to play. The library inside would be used for reading and the outdoors would be used for playing. A diagonal pattern of window placement was opted mainly to avoid direct noon sunlight and deflecting it creating a pleasant indoor environment. 

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The self-structured window bays are striated profiles for increased stability with economic window section sizes. This library is a formal extension of the ground plane which enhances the spatial experience for the students. Catalan tile vaulting system is used to construct the library which also provides a pavilion space above. 

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14. Tree House / Malan Vorster Architecture Interior Design

The Tree House was designed for a client with the idea of keeping the greens around intact and building vertically to reduce footprint and give optimal area. It is a one-bedroom, cabin-like structure designed in a way to maximise views of the surroundings. The structure is organised in a pure geometry of a square with each side divided into three modules which results in a pin-wheel plan layout. 

The windows are placed around the circumference of the circles to continue the flow. The glass is combined with timber and steel to increase its strength. This creates a large open space on the top level, feeling like one is almost living on a tree. 

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15. Collage House / S+PS Architects

The Collage House is located in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. The project looked at the idea of recycling and reusing various materials creating a collage in terms of materials, history, space, and memories. The front façade, also termed ‘the corner of windows’ is recycled old windows and doors of demolished houses in the city that are used. This collage acts as a backdrop to the main living area countered with an exposed concrete ceiling and marble floor. The interior feels warm and old as time due to the tinted glasses. 

Newer windows are used on the interior that opens towards the courtyard as there were neighbours all around. This was a conscious decision to provide privacy to the family members and a view into the courtyard.  

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Image References

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Author

Shreya M Jain is currently studying in 4th year of architecture. She believes that architecture is a reciprocation of one’s thoughts and feels that it creates a dialogue between people and its surroundings. Through her writing she wishes to share how time and space can create meaningful impressions in an individuals life.

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