Inventive Design: L-Shaped Windows
Out-of-the-box windows offer new angle on natural light
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City. I have Bachelor of Architecture and Master in Urban Planning degrees, and over ten years experience in architectural practice, split between Chicago and NYC. Currently I'm focused on writing and online pursuits. My daily blog can be found at http://archidose.blogspot.com
Houzz Contributor. I am an architect and writer living in New York City.... More »
For the most part, windows and doors are rectangular openings, either inserted into walls by themselves or as part of a larger system (e.g. a curtain wall) that are also rectangular. This shape is rooted in traditional architecture and construction, but it is certainly not the only way to articulate openings. One rarely used shape that I've found on Houzz is "L." Read on for what this unusual window shape can do for a home's interior and exterior design.
A closer look at the back of the house reveals some of what is going on inside: a TV over some wall-mounted storage is in the lower room, and a smaller room is seen in the rectangular opening upstairs. Take a peek inside, next.
The master bedroom on the lower floor is an L-shaped space, which the exterior obviously expresses. Here we can see that the L-shape is made up of two rectangular openings: a tall window and a wide opening with sliding doors. Note how the bottom of the openings is just above the floor, but outside it is raised another foot or so. This difference on the exterior helps to stress the L-shape.
The shape of the space is apparent in this view. The tall uplit shaft of space extends up to bring lots of light to the master bedroom. Stacked above is a smaller bedroom that does not require as much square footage, hence the leftover space beside it used for the tall window and space.
This L-shaped opening fits itself below an angular roof and a door and fireplace below. The deep-set window — open at the corner but otherwise set back from the eave and frames — appears to be one piece of glass.
Viewing it from the inside, vertical silicone joints are visible extending up from both jambs of the door. Therefore the L-shaped opening is made up of three pieces of glass.
So why an L-shaped opening over the door and fireplace? Basically, it is the leftover part of the elevation, made glass to maximize the amount of sunlight that enters the space. The deep frames seem to arise from the size of the fireplace fit into the wall. Extending this up and over the door further accentuates the L-shape above.
Here are a couple projects by Pb Elemental that employ L-shaped openings comprised of a horizontal and a vertical window. I'm not exactly sure what is going on inside, but it can be seen here that the vertical window is operable. Assuming the horizontal window is fixed, this means that the ventilation has more vertical spread — one can sit by the window to catch a breeze, for example.
The same opening can be seen in another Pb Elemental project, in this case some multi-family housing. The L-shaped openings happen on side walls that are predominantly solid for privacy.
The L-shape on this house's elevation occurs from windows being placed next to a door. Note how the window on the left is operable, the window next to the door is fixed, and the door itself as the same swing as the first.
From inside, the fixed window gives a great view to the landscape beyond, and of course the door provides access to the same. This house, including but not limited to the L-shaped opening, is a modern take on traditional Danish architecture: it's a reworking of a farmhouse in a minimal palette.
The L-shaped opening in this tall space extends from the front door at bottom to the underside of the wood ceiling. A turn at the top creates a clerestory expanse over the solid wall; the latter is the interior expression of an exterior wall and roof in front of this facade. It's a complex assemblage that is made more complex by the articulation of the mullions and the door itself, which has an L-shaped pattern on it.
Ideabook published on Feb. 15, 2012.
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