Sunday, November 15, 2009
Windows, Windows, Windows...
They have such a huge effect on the overall look of the house. It is all too easy to adhere to a typical window layout- centering windows in rooms and stacking them next to and on top of eachother. To me, windows should be balanced, but not necessarily symmetrical. They should express the interior spaces on the exterior of the house. So in living spaces large windows express the public nature of the space on the outside. Perhaps smaller windows are appropriate upstairs for the more private areas of the house. Or horizontally oriented windows for sleeping spaces. Check out how completely different the window openings in the below sketches effect the appearance of the "house".
We are putting almost all of the windows in our house on the south to take maximum advantage of solar gain. According to "The New Ecological Home", by Daniel D. Chiras, there should be 7-12% of the total square footage of heated space in south facing glass in a passive solar home. So a 2000 sq. ft. house would have 140-240 sq. ft. of south facing glass.
Beyond the actual layout of the windows is the type of window. Double hung, casement, awning? And beyond that, how should the windows be divided? Two over two, cottage style, no divisions? Each choice will drastically effect the overall look of the house.
I came across a great book the other day in a book store called "The Face of Home", by Jeremiah Eck. It is about much more than windows, but is full of pictures of houses with well thought out window designs. Many are reminicent of New England vernacular architecture, but with modern living in mind. I personally am enamored with this type of aesthetic, though I realize not everyone is. My issue with this book is that the houses all seem to be very high-end, and not at all accessible to the average home buyer or builder. It makes me want to write my own book some day about affordable houses (in my own completely unscientific reasoning these are houses under $200K) with well thought out exterior designs that say something about who inhabits the building and how they live.
Posted by KJL