Windows can be more than square

Building a new house? Architects share what to do and what not to do while deciding the style, size and placement of windows. Apart from playing a huge role functionally, when done right, they can make your home look stylish.

Orientation matters

Since the sun rises in the east, peaks in the south, and sets in the west, the south and west are the hottest. Position your windows to the north and east as much as possible, says Khalid Rehman, lead architect, Center for Vernacular Architecture Trust, Bengaluru.

“This is because the north receives diffused light throughout the day and the east receives soft early morning light which is also visually pleasing.” For example, bay windows (windows that protrude from the exterior wall in different shapes) are avoided in the south and west directions. Instead, they are placed to the north and east so you can comfortably use the seating space (a feature of the bay window) to read books. The seating area can be decorated with throw pillows and ruffled curtains, says Nasareen AW Khan of Decfort Interior Solutions. Another interesting option is the angular bay window.

Corner windows are placed only in the northeast and northwest directions. They are rarely used in the southeast (because it would heat the room strongly), “Vastu-shastra also has similar principles. The priority is to ensure good lighting, cross ventilation and ventilation,” notes Khalid.

Sizing is key

In places like Goa or Coorg, where you have a great view outside, long windows work well, says Kiran Hanumaiah, Principal Architect, Design Matters, Bangalore. Long windows about six feet high are essential in living rooms and dining rooms, as it is good to have plenty of light in these areas.

In farms, windows can be longer, and in Bengaluru towns or gated communities, they should be shorter. Khalid illustrates, “If neighborhood plots are less than three to five feet away, then we can’t have big windows because you’ll only see your neighbor’s wall. On farms then you can think big because the view is attractive.

If you have a roof overhang, it is convenient to insert a patio door (these are large windows and can be used as a patio door). These windows open onto a terrace, patio or veranda. Sizing is also based on function. For example, the windows in the kitchen are smaller so that the workstation is not disturbed by the window.

Smart solutions

In hot and humid places like Mangaluru, Vijayapura or Mysuru, you always need fans under the roof to get the hot air out. In these locations, large windows, especially to the south and west, are a big no. Even in cooler places like Bengaluru, cross ventilation is a must. All rooms will have windows on opposite sides. You can have a louver or lattice on the top of the window or use a skylight (a window that protrudes from a sloping roof, it also lights the room) to exhaust hot air, says Kiran.

In coastal Karnataka, you will need to add overhangs to the design to protect windows, he advises. To create a more unique elevation, Kiran’s firm also works with circular and triangular windows. Architect Rinka D’Monte of says the windows can also be tailored to the needs of the occupants.

For example, you can opt for lower/floor-level windows in children’s rooms or homes where people in wheelchairs live. These inclusive designs help everyone connect with the outdoors. The architect also worked with windows oriented at different angles to give a wider view of the interior of the house.

Artistic touch

Earthitects has craftsmen in-house to route the wood into beautiful shapes. The firm’s architect George E Ramapuram adds that they use recycled wood for the knobs and windows. The hinges get their rustic look from locally sourced wrought iron. Rivets and iron handles are also of local origin. “In traditional-themed interiors, you can have full-length openable windows and decorate them with sheer curtains,” Nasareen says. You can also play with wooden Venetian blinds or silk curtains to enhance the windows, she adds.

Blend in with the outdoors

Speaking of bridge windows (designed for a Wayanad project), George says that in this design you have a bridge – a walkway that connects two levels of your home with a series of windows on both sides. So even when it rains, it gives you an outdoor feeling. Here it is useful to have a fixed pane because one only wants to look outside, in the bedrooms or a bay window, it is better to have an opening pane for the breeze. You can also have a sliding window or a combination of the two, depending on the utility.

Design challenges and adaptability

*Development of the interior layout / placement of furniture

*Design windows based on site conditions, such as spacing from neighboring houses

*Let light and air in without compromising privacy

*These styles are not easily adaptable in existing buildings

Portfolio factor

Varies from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,500 per square foot of window area depending on style and materials used

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