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Windows gives views in and out of buildings; in shop windows it's all about the view in, but in houses its the other way ...
round. How to design windows that work best for the houses?
Tags:How to design windows,how to design windows,the importance of windows,Thinking Architecture,Windows as Mediators,architecture,interiors,light,windows
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Hi there I'm Timothy Burgess, welcome to this edition of Thinking Architecture which is about windows as mediators. Well let’s start by just saying what the heck that is. What I'm talking about is the relationship between inside and outside of buildings and that’s quite different depending on what type of building you're talking about. So if we were talking about a department store for example, the windows have a very distinct role which is about us looking in a shop or to shop goods. In a house, that situation is completely the opposite. We’re interested in looking out and we’re a lot less interested in people looking in at us. And so when we’re talking about a mediator, that’s what we really mean, is something which adjusts the relationship between inside and out, hopefully in our favor.
So, the three key things which we can use to our advantage, firstly is height, when one thing is sort of Victorian townhouses, often the ground floor of these was raised at above street level. So the people in the house had a very sort of privileged view over the street but people in the street couldn’t see very much of what was in the houses. The second thing is distance and that is the face of the house onto a public place, being slightly removed and using the things in between, whether it would be fences or hedges or something of that nature. Give the window light and possibly if you use out above, but they somehow shield the public space from the window. And the third, the most subtle is to actually use the walls themselves and depth of the walls. So, in a situation like a medieval castle where we have incredibly thick walls, and there were the slots for the arches to be inside and protect it, the arches had a very privileged position because they can see quite a lot from this little—because they were right next to the windows and of course if you're approaching the castle, you couldn’t see much, apart from the arrows flying out at you, I would imagine.
But we can do a modern day equivalent of that where we use the depth of the wall to express a sense of protection and depth. And so by setting windows deep into a wall, we create shadows and we also kind of prevent kind of a bleak fuse in. But it’s really the kind of sense of protection that—and so there are three things, height, distance and the depth of the wall itself and the windows that are within that are—the—are disposal to mediate that relationship.