Windows are both functional and aesthetic. Windows transmit light, and any cat will demonstrate the warming effect of sun through south-facing glass. We all know how to slide or crank a window open to manually control ventilation. We understand the benefits of replacing older single-pane windows with double-pane units with insulating value. But windows are more than openings in a wall. The shape and placement of windows on a side of a building can be, and should be intentional. If you think of window openings as figures and the side of a building as the background, you can arrange the rectangles into a balanced composition, as you would in a two-dimensional graphic design. The arranging and shaping of windows can be a satisfying exercise in design.
In traditional houses, rectangular windows were often evenly spaced on either side of the front door in a formal symmetrical pattern. (For example, the Virginia Governor’s mansion.) In modern homes, the windows can be vertical or horizontal slots pulled down to the floor and up to the ceiling, or around a corner in asymmetrical arrangements. (For example,the 1937 Walter Gropius residence in Lincoln, Massachusetts.)