Ideas imbedded with the home and suburban context. Elements in houses today that are like the picture windows of mid-century.
The small panes of this window illustrate the beginning of the evolution from the greater privacy in single-family homes prior to the 20th century. The smaller panes and muntins provide an obscured view from the inside as well as the outside of the interior.
The smaller panes of the traditional windows meld with the picture window ideal in this fuddled colonial-style home. The expanded space and light into an older-styled home demonstrates the status of the family within.
The advent of the picture window started with homeowners wanting to see the natural view of the outside. Women especially demanded unobstructed views of the outside as a way to escape the monotony and gloom of the inside.
Isenstadt emphasized the evolution of the interplay of views from the interior and from exterior. Creating a "visual fiction" for inhabitants as well as passersby the bay window brought the public and private closer together.
Contemporary Windows and Doors
The glass curtain of mid-century design gives a delusion of private space while providing inhabitants a picturesque view. These windows are seen as distasteful and ostentatious by Isenstadt.
Isenstadt declared this type of picture window as creating "optical infrastructure of a suburban society". Though overlooking water it is clear to see neighbors can see as much as they are seen. This blurring of public and private spaces seemed unnecessary in the suburbs where single-family homes (stacked atop eachother) should have provided some measure of privacy.
Like the picture window of the mid-century a media/cinema room allows the homeowners to bring the outside world in and be entertained. There is also a demonstration of wealth through the profileration of televisions in the same way that picture windows were.
Televisions in the home allow homeowners the option to personalize the public life beyond the walls. Here the television virtually disappears but its size nonetheless displays wealth.
The idea that television mediates the view of reality is represented by this over-the-sink dyed-to-match model. Instead of looking out a window over the sink dishwashers are able to view the outside world through the television.
The justaposition of the small window above a very large television below provides an excellent illustration of an implied intimacy that both provoke. A small window allows a measure of privacy especially when place well above the human sightlight. A form of the outside world is allowed to enter the living room space but in a very controlled manner that Isenstadt would approve of.
An analog for the picture window the solar tube mediates the outside world for the home. Bringing light (representing the natural, outside world) into the home there is a mix of public and private.
In addition to super-large-screen televisions solar tubes or skylights are like picture windows. The natural elements are allowed to enter a living space but it is contrived and possibly even awkard. Can you imagine what could be seen in this shower? Sometimes we are better off not knowing.
Another use of solar tubes to is to create an implied intimacy. Sliding back to the small-paned windows of early 20th century there is functionality in solar tubes without losing privacy that is inherent in single-family homes.
The innovations of large picture windows from the point of functionality is mirrored in the solar tubes. Perceived as modern the solar tubes become a status symbol for home owners - the more you have the better off you are financially.
This entrance hall demonstrates the shift from making everything public through large windows to reclaiming privacy. Note how there are no windows or sidelights on the front entrance but there is plenty natural light from the solar tubes.