Look up to see this window or group of windows above eye level in homes, churches and more
Bud Dietrich, AIA January 1, 2000
Houzz Contributor. My name is Bud Dietrich and I am an architect located in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. I am licensed to practice architecture in Illinois, Florida, New Jersey & Wisconsin. Since 1996 I have worked from my home office and provide full architectural services exclusively to the single family residential market. My passion is to transform my clients' houses into their homes. I strive to have the "new" home accommodate my clients' lives without fighting them at every junction. I look to add curb appeal to encourage a beautiful streetscape. And I design any addition to look and feel like it has always been there. Our projects have won numerous design awards as well as having been featured on television (CBS News Sunday Morning, HGTV, CLTV, etc.), in magazines (Better Homes...
Houzz Contributor. My name is Bud Dietrich and I am an architect located in the Tampa... More
While the clerestory has come to mean any window set high up — say, above eye level — in a wall, it was originally a set of windows placed above the roof of the level below. Think of the interior of a Gothic church; the windows above the main floor are set in the clerestory, derived from combining the words "clear" and "story."
The clerestory here is the space between the lower ceiling of the kitchen area and the higher ceiling of the main living space. A clerestory is typically filled with windows to let light into the interior while affording privacy and views of treetops and sky.
By separating the upper and lower ceiling planes with transparency and light, the clerestory here seemingly makes the upper ceiling float. The effect is especially pronounced when the clerestory windows are designed to be out of sight.
Clerestory windows set directly under the eaves of a roof can also make the roof seem to float and hover above the house walls. This visual effect of defying gravity is why clerestories have been used so much in religious buildings, where a lightness and reaching up to the heavens is a driving force of the design.
Clerestory windows aren't just for contemporary styling. In fact, placing a window or clerestory windows up high in a wall can provide extra light and a view no matter what style the house is. Typically in more traditional styles, the windows are less ribbons of glass and more individual windows.