Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Window of choices

We have come a long way... from the openings in the faraway forlorn dwelling of the caveman to automated window shades that flip to give us just the required shade.

WIDELY OPEN TO VARIETY: These windows can be designed to suit any requirement.

Man in the early days used to live with nature, because, he was a part of it. But as time passed on, he wanted a protected environment like the caves. But that did not satisfy him either and he made small openings in the caves to see the outside world. That was the first window built. Since then, man has made these openings bigger and wider, protecting them with grills and security system. With better structural systems and more material choices, windows have opened up to more interesting variety to suit ones requirement in construction.

Standard windows

A standard square window (4'0" x 4'0" usually) is common amongst all residences / offices. Depending upon the floor area and volume of space, their dimensions differ. A minimum of 20 per cent floor area has to be provided for proper lighting and ventilation. They come in handy for common window solutions. Rosewood and teak wood frames enrich the quality of the window.

Tall windows

Whenever we go along with the construction within a building, the staircase is always given a face-lift with tall sleek windows. To be aesthetically pleasing, a combination of glass blocks and openable shutters are used for lighting and ventilation.
Tall 4'0" wide windows add lusture and transparency in coffee shops, restaurants and displays in showrooms.

Aluminium windows

Aluminium windows have glass panes framed using rails to aluminium panels. The glass is adhered to the panels with rubber beading (in case of aluminium frames) or POP (in case of metal frames). Durability and affordability differ with the variety of glass used either cellular / fibre.

Sliding windows

Double sliding windows have a fixed frame over which the other two frames slide over. Single sliding windows have the possibility to slide in both ways. The advantage over windows is that the swinging area becomes feasible. The aluminium windows are cheaper and versatile in outdoors. Whereas, in case of sliding windows looking on to the indoor courtyards, the wooden windows would get the vote.

Pivoted windows

As the name suggests, the glass pane fixed to a frame opens perpendicularly. They are very appealing in living rooms overlooking landscapes and terraces. Pivoted windows can be fixed without frames, hence they are more economical than hinged windows.


Grills should support the transparency of the windows. If the grids are too heavy, they dominate the entire window. Vertically 61/2" to 8" and horizontally 4" to 5" are feasible dimensions.
Brite bars are used when the strength is required more. These are stronger when compared to the normal MS bars.


Top hung, centre hung and bottom hung ventilators are lighter when aluminium louvered. The pivot is attached and due to rapid usage, the material usually gets worn out. The timber used are Indianelm (red colour) and kathel (yellow to deep brown colour). Ventilators with exhaust provide functional efficiency and looks.

Fibre glass reinforced window

Though aesthetically appealing, the corrosive resistance and low maintenance are their highlights. They can be easily flushed and are available in factory made standard sizes. They have already started replacing the usual windows that look too common and are available in latest trends.

Automated window shades

Offices overseas have adopted these shading systems, whose sunshades flip according to the direction of the sun. These automated shades are also seen in big size louvers that cover the building like that of a fish scale. But how far are all these technology add-ons feasible? Especially when one considers the astronomical price-tag attached to it?

The author is the Chief Architect of Murali Architects, Chennai

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