At the holidays I’m always cheered by decorations in the windows of homes and businesses. Other than signage, windows are the most effective indication of what is inside and are an important design feature of buildings. Here are some things to keep in mind when designing windows:
- Energy: Are the windows properly sealed? Are they double-paned and of proper thickness for the weather conditions? Will they reduce glare and bright sunlight in the desired ways?
- Operability: If the windows are operable, are employees or residents knowledgeable about their use and will they be diligent about closing the windows for proper temperature control? If they are not operable, has the HVAC system been designed for the proper amount of air exchange?
- Materials: There are products on the market for frames and casework that are not traditional wood. At The Kastrop Group, we like to specify extruded fiberglass frames on our projects for their durability and longevity.
- Features: Many convenient options are available. For example, you can get automatic controls that tilt shades at different times of day, or sill-less windows for easy cleaning & maintenance, etc.
- Marketing: Many people do not feel comfortable entering a retail business or restaurant without seeing inside first. It is important that the window treatments allow potential customers to see that other customers are patronizing the establishment. Retailers also use windows to effectively market their goods. Attractive window displays are effective in enticing impulse shoppers.
- Employee Comfort: The “window office” has always been a sign of status in an office environment and most employees appreciate having a view and natural light in their workspace. There is a negative impact, however, if windows create a “fishbowl effect”, making employees feel exposed and without privacy.
- Security: Some buildings will require an assessment of whether windows need to be secured against burglary or vandalism.
- WUI (Wildlife Urban Interface): Depending on your jurisdiction, windows may need a certain degree of fire rating due to the proximity to areas prone to wild land fires. The local fire department could assign certain areas to require additional fire preventive measures.
- Décor: Window treatments such as draperies, curtains, shades and blinds, can add color and style to any building.
These are just a few of the import factors that architects consider in window design. When working on a project, be sure to give windows the attention they deserve.
Happy Holidays from The Kastrop Group!
The Kastrop Group Architects