Some Views on Windows

by Mark

Windows are one of the most critical elements in any building design. More than simply an opening in a wall, a window has an obvious practical function but also makes significant contribution to the aesthetics of a building. A window has the potential to provide ventilation and solar access for natural daylight and heating as well as creating a visual connection between the interior, the site and distant views.

Our new merged office has the benefit of a diversity of experience and different perspectives. Senior team members, Gabe and Martin, gave their take on windows.


"We should always question why a space needs a window and consider how the window will satisfy the functional requirements as well as meet the aesthetic objectives of the building. The circumstances for each building varies and how we design the fenestration (the arrangement of windows in a building) needs to be considered in response to the brief and context. This is illustrated with some past projects.

[caption id="attachment_2582" align="aligncenter" width="800"]ISML Nowra GP Super Clinic[/caption]

The Nowra GP Super Clinic benefits from views to the Shoalhaven River which are framed by windows designed to create cave like openings reflect the adjacent cliffs. Deep window reveals in the façade provide shading from the summer sun which is further protected by high performance glass. Privacy to the lower level consultant rooms has been achieved by high window sills and landscaping buffers. 

[caption id="attachment_2584" align="aligncenter" width="800"]UCC Ulladulla Civic Centre[/caption]

Ulladulla Civic Centre won best use of windows in a commercial project. Positioned opposite Ulladulla Harbour, the windows maximise the outlook to the water.  Direct sunlight was restricted to protect the books and reduce glare on computers and this was achieved by wide eaves and high performance glazing. The angled zig-zag window frame hints at the recreational activities of the building giving a distinctive character to this proud civic complex."


"My few thoughts are a twist on the topic of windows. I normally think of windows as the transparent parts of the envelope as a whole. With public Architecture the envelope of a public building is critical to integration into its community. The level of transparency will allow the public to understand what is happening within their building and signal whether they are welcome - or not.  

[caption id="attachment_2583" align="aligncenter" width="800"]TCC Thirroul Community Centre[/caption]

The Thirroul Community Centre is an example of the use of the effective use of windows in a public building. The envelope was designed to address the requirements of the various community groups and their interrelationship. In many ways it was a classic case of ‘form follows function'. 

The library and larger communal spaces give transparency a priority. When walking or driving past, the community can understand exactly what is going on in the building. They understand its function and can see their friends, the books, the warm, inviting environment. The transparent building envelope allows the library to communicate its intent with the community - the sharing of knowledge.

The smaller Community and Focus Groups Rooms use solidity to emphasise the function. The introverted spaces allow for small private group gatherings and the envelope transparency is reduced creating an internal focus. A secure quiet place where people can express their ideas and share with each other."

As the new Edmiston Jones GBB team settle in working together we look forward to continuing to share ideas and benefit from the wisdom of the larger team to create more extraordinary built environments that inspire and enhance lives.

Some Views on Windows