Windows and doors.

— 30 March 2022

It might seem obvious that, as architects designing buildings, we feel windows and doors are really important. They enable access and egress. They transmit and transfer light and fresh air in to and through a building.

But, windows and door are so much more. They provide context and a connection with a building’s surrounding as you look our through a window or door to the surroundings. They can be architectural statements. Where windows and doors are not making a statement, their design detailing remains an absolutely imperative.

Design detailing of windows and doors is often overlooked or rushed. Shapes and solids, voids and shadows, animate buildings on the exterior and interior. Windows and doors can help create fantastic affects when sunlight hits them. Orientation, shape, size and material choice all have a massive impact.

Unfortunately the industry standard is to put all window and door head heights at 2.1 metres tall. This, in our opinion, is rather mundane and we try to avoid this practice at every opportunity. When we draw doors we try to create something significant, to make them as statement pieces, not just functional thoroughfares. We like to raise the bar with head heights up to 2.4 or even 2.8 metres, creating a real wow factor and allowing as much sunlight to flow from one space to another.

Our designs respond to site requirements, views in and out, the surroundings. We want to create intrigue and excitement.

Think of sliding or bi-fold doors opened wide on a balmy summer’s evening seamlessly drawing the outside in whilst extending the living space of the home out into the garden.

Another detail that is architecturally fundamental is the height of a windowsill. Many of us are so familiar with a standard sill height of around 1m that it’s difficult to think of anything else. Architects are more fluid. Generally they are planned at this level for privacy reasons or for placing a radiator beneath. This is a little dull. We prefer knee height. Perhaps with a little seat so you can sit and ponder life and watch the world go by.

We want to make a building special and unique. Even the smallest of windows can be transformed by using just a little consideration and with little or no additional cost.

Try not to think of windows and doors as just necessary apertures. Ignore the standard and dull, embrace the exceptional, and grasp the opportunity to celebrate the character and beauty of a building, its surroundings and the natural light which fills it.

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