Sights on Sightlines

The design scope of an architect does not lay within the plan lines on a drawing. As a client, you receive a set of drawings for review. Upon them are a series of purposely arranged walls creating functional spaces with windows throughout. And while most may think that the windows are secondary elements with no real intention other than letting in light or a cool breeze, here are three homes which demonstrate why windows are often the most important aspect in residential design.

Home by Peterssen Keller

Home #1 by Peterssen Keller. Photo by Paul Crosby.

Connecting the exterior with sightlines from within.

The intentional placement of windows enables the homeowner to immerse their daily living experience with seamless visual extensions from an intimate interior to the outward scenery of the surrounding landscape. The St. Croix River inspired the placement and typology of the windows used in Home #20 by Architect John Kalmon. The contemporary forms for the glazed openings offered by tour sponsor, Marvin Windows, allows spacious views of the adjacent river from nearly every living space in the home.

Home by David Heide

Home #21 by David Heide Design Studio. Photo by Susan Gilmore.

Establishing nuanced modernism or contextual character.

Windows also serve the purpose of establishing the architectural character of a home; thus the selection of a window type is more informed than one may think. This process is difficult and involved because Marvin Windows offers thousands of window types, glazing options, and colors. The ultra-modern design by Lars Peterssen, Gabriel Keller and Ryan Fish of Peterssen Keller for Home #1 in Minnetrista is accented by full-panel, multi-story black-framed windows which frame glorious river views from floor to ceiling. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Home #21, a remodel in Hudson, Wisconsin by architects Mark Nelson and David Heide of David Heide Design Studio. This home has white-framed, multi-pane picture windows with a colonial grid which communicate the timeless, yet sensible cabin style in a wooded area.

Home by Peterssen Keller architecture

Home #1 by Peterssen Keller. Photo by Philip Browse.

The selection process for appropriate combinations, placement, and sizing of these windows is a detailed and very intelligent decision. For a chance to talk with an architect about how they can guide you along your window design decisions and desires, visit the 23 homes on the 2013 Homes by Architects Tour. Tickets for the tour dates on September 21 and 22 are now on sale.