Friday, September 7, 2012

Arch+Details: Windows

In the Modern and Post-Modern eras, windows (glass) have symbolically and literally have become the face of architecture. Living in New York I was exposed to numerous styles of architecture, which was cool because walking from neighborhood to neighborhood I saw how America physically transformed. For example, down in Chinatown and Little Italy building facades are covered in fire escapes because fire safety regulations state that there has to be 2 exit routes. Nowadays, in heavy developed neighborhoods like Chelsea and Tribeca, these exterior fire escapes do not exist anymore because they were moved inside. A big shift in materials also took place when the International Style made its way to the US in the late 1950's. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building paved the way for the erection of high rise glass towers in the city and America. If you walk down 6th Ave starting on 59th St. you can the overwhelming scenery of glass boxes on both sides of the street. Some people might just see it as boring and repetitive (I mean, I even do to an extent), but this style opened doors in both design and political meaning behind the structure. I bring this up because it was a huge moment for architecture in America, and ever since there has been an enormous craving for glass in designs today. It is interesting to think how glass (a fragile material) is largely used. There are budget reasons for it, but glass has been a popular material (obviously you need it for windows), but walls and parts of the ceilings have become glass. There is a lot of incredible work going on with glass, and for me I am obsessed with the play between exterior and interior when using large amounts of glass. Its ironic how homes, which are private structures, use a lot of the material because essentially you are forfeiting your sense of privacy. But glass allows you to play with light and gives off the illusion of nature extending into a room. In the present walls have become windows and frames to the exterior. Windows are not just incorporated for light and air circulation purposes anymore, but they are used to add texture and intimate details to the overall design. Check out the awesome and sometimes odd examples I found! With this series, pay attention to the whole photo. Analyze closely the shadow and light play in some of the photos. Look how the exterior and interior interact with each other through the windows!!!




















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