The 2014 Master Builders’ award for Best use of Glass was awarded to the Edmiston Jones designed $10m retrofit of the Ulladulla Civic Centre. Positioned opposite a harbour, possibly the most picturesque urban location in the Shoalhaven, it was obvious that windows should maximise the outlook to the water. The angled zig-zag frame to the glazing hints at the recreational activities of the library, tourist information and auditorium in the building giving a distinctive character to this proud civic complex.
A previous Edmiston Jones award was for the ‘Best use of Windows in Commercial New Construction in Australia‘ for Nowra Christian School Multi Purpose Centre. In the case of this building, the practical requirements for safety in a sports hall competed with the view to the natural bush setting. High-level windows with varying sill heights reflecting the irregular canopy of the surrounding gum trees was an elegant solution to this design challenge.
The windows to the Nowra Super Clinic, currently under construction on a cliff top above the Shoalhaven River, are deftly designed. They respond to the rocky outcrops below as jagged shaped openings setback from a secondary skin. Occupants of the building will have the feeling of peering out from a cave encouraging a sense of enclosure and security.
The size and orientation of windows must fulfil their primary function of allowing sunlight to fully enter a building at the appropriate time of day. They must be designed to respond to the different seasons and provide cross flow ventilation while meeting the pragmatic requirements of maximising views and the integration of outdoor spaces.
However, if ‘the eyes are the windows of the soul’ then windows could be considered the ‘eyes’ of a building and may also give an insight into the ‘soul’ of a home or institution. Fenestration, the arrangement of windows in a building, can suggest authority with uniformly sized windows at regularly intervals. Alternatively, irregularly positioned windows of different geometric shapes, might suggest fun and playfulness.