Windows are a dialogue – an interaction between elements – sometimes complementary and sometimes divergent. Windows are a way of deciding the language the dialogue should have, also the intonation, and that is really what sets the mood. Every project which creates a habitable space is constantly addressing the making of fenestration. It is the underlying dialogue which is created between the inside and outside, between the built and unbuilt.
Often there are certain features of design elements which are generalized and passive across different typologies of the built environment, however, windows are design elements that are heavily influenced by multiple factors like, heat, light, orientation and material. Most of these factors come into play simultaneously when it comes to the design of windows.
These are to some extent standardized in case of certain building types such as commercial spaces, offices and institutions, in the case of residences, windows can take on an entirely different meaning. The selection of window types can be eclectic as in a residence design since there are almost no rules and one can respond completely to the honest requirement of the space or can be extremely particular to the usage at that location. It is this lack of rules that make it more interesting to study the windows in residences.
If one were to break down the design of openings, the sound knowledge of materials is the first tool that needs to be mastered when it comes to the design of windows. Since they are dynamic and literally moving elements, the role of engineering, structure and the science of movement are intrinsic in the design thinking for windows. This extends to the knowledge of hardware as well. Whether assembled and custom designed or prefabricated, this knowledge in relation to windows is essential.
The unfortunate exercise of making windows airtight to avoid the exchange of air outside to inside is slowly becoming a key factor that could be placed second. While one was able to use traditional materials like wood with ease earlier, these allow for some natural cracks and crevices as they breathe, and changes form and respond to the environment like a living entity.
This Double Height Glazing was Worked upon in Great Detail to Subdivide it such that it is Accesible to Clean and Maintain. A Special Cat Walk was Created in Metal to Facilitate the Same Sliding Windows were Introduced at Upper Levels Specially to make it easy to Clean from Inside Materials: A Combination of Mild Steel Structure Fixed Windows with a Sliding uPVC Window
That to a great extent is now desired to be avoided. This is how artificial materials like metal and plastics are fast finding their way into homes. The other very important factor which is increasing impetus toward selecting these materials is us moving away from cutting trees and plants for building.
While wood allows for design intervention and customization right till the architrave that goes around the opening, artificial materials come in standard sections based on different uses. It is like the assembly of a kit of parts. As it is here to stay, the movement towards curtailing the mixing of environments and creating completely controlled indoor environments is also leading to windows which are, to a great extent, fixed and therefore not allowing too much of the option to open up. Selectively opening and largely fixing windows have created an entirely new language of design.
The window frame, which is an essential part of creating an opening, is sometimes giving way to the frameless glazing, which is fast finding its way into homes as well. The advantage is that it gives a close enough simulation of sitting outside or in a verandah with no visual obstruction – This is one of the features of the modern airtight container buildings we are now having to design.
Renovation of residences open up a whole new opportunity to redefine and reinvent. To be able to create something new from something old is an even bigger and more fulfilling challenge. Replacing, resizing and redefining windows is one of the powerful tools to create that change.
Pivoted Windows Across the Double Height Space are not Just a Visual Connection but Open for Communicating between the Two Floors. The Cistom Designed Central Pivoted Window Adds to the Interest Materials: Wooden Frames
Adlakha Residence Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
The windows were a key design tool for this renovation project of an existing government housing scheme apartment in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area. Each window was created with a story and to fulfill a particular experiential purpose for the inhabitants. The making of each window was done as if it was a painting and the colours were the hard tools we use to make windows with, be it toughened glass, mild steel sections, uPVC or wood.
Adlakha Residence Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
There were no rules of standard sills or lintels and if a window was to be experienced while sitting down, the lintel was pulled down to make it feel like it belonged there.
The other important design tool for windows was to create views and a visual connect between certain spaces. So, the windows between the rooms were the most special things in the house. It opened up a whole new way to remain connected as a unit.
Even though a house can be a composition of a series of rooms and movement from one to the other, windows were the tool to let the connection remain. The windows inside the house have contributed to giving a lot of depth to the experiences which become layered due to these. This was an inspiration from the family which resides in this home, and their interpersonal dynamics, individualistic yet forever connected.
Windows were the tool in this house design that allowed these abstract thoughts to be translated into a real experience.
QUICK FACTS: Project: Adlakha Residence Location: Vasant Kunj, New Delhi Client: Geetika and Sanjeev Architect: STUDIO 9491 Other Consultants: Structure – Vijay Agarwal Materials Used for Façade & Fenestration: Mixed material – wood, metal, uPVC Commencement date: March 2018 Completion date: January 2019
AR. Raman Shukla & AR. Anjali Shukla
STUDIO 9491 is an architecture and interior design firm set up in 1997 by Principle Designers Raman Shukla and Anjali Shukla - both alumni of CEPT Ahmedabad. They carry forward a strong and clear design intent which focusses on design as a craft. Whether it is spaces or material, the focus remains on understanding how a built environment speaks of the people and to the people.
No boundaries ever drawn on the scale or type of project, it is the variety in just these two things that has always kept the spark alive. A boutique firm, the scale of office has helped in sticking to the core essence of what the firm stands for - crafting, which demands individual attention on every little detail. They are passionate about working on every little thing that has made the firm a “teaching office” for fresh graduates who have always been part of the team.
From offices, hospitals, large retail outlets, hotels and hospitality projects, to designing a small home, it is the passion for the craft that is sacrosanct.