Windows and doors
So much modern architecture is designed to create connections between indoors and out, it’s no wonder there’s been a proliferation of window and door products for you to choose from. Consider the contemporary home, routinely arranged around an open-plan living space that opens out through bifold doors to a deck, or through sliding glass doors onto a balcony. And the modern office, where natural light is non-negotiable and security is paramount. For every opening in the building fabric, there’s a challenge to control light, heat, views or access… but also, a product to match. More
So much modern architecture is designed to create connections between indoors and out, it’s no wonder there’s been a proliferation of window and door products for you to choose from. More
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Residential window and door design
In kids’ drawings of houses, windows and doors are well defined and discrete. But in reality – mostly thanks to the ubiquity of glass in residential architecture – it’s sometimes hard to tell windows, doors and even walls apart. For example, a full-width aluminium bifold door system in a newly renovated house could be called all three! This level of transparency has become commonplace, and can be achieved in many ways, from standard sliding and folding door installations to custom designs that allow multiple walls to peel away and out of sight, creating a sheltered outdoor room. Thanks to inclined sliding window systems, the windows/doors/walls don’t even have to be vertical!
But no-one wants to live in a glass box! We do still need traditional walls, with different apertures for different functions. And the most important function for a window, alongside the admission of natural light, is to bring in fresh air and create natural ventilation. Indeed, cross-ventilation is a fundamental aspect of sustainable architecture, because it helps to reduce our reliance on airconditioning. Louvre windows are a popular choice because they allow a full window to be opened up quickly and simply, and can be transparent or fitted with aluminium or timber louvres for greater privacy control. But any operable window can be used to create cross-ventilation – casement windows and awning windows that open with a simple chainwinder, bifold windows, double-hung windows, frameless sliding windows, and even good old sash windows.
A solid door might not enjoy a similar spectrum of functionality, but any homeowner who’s been repeatedly frustrated by an entry door pull installed on the “push” side of the door will tell you that door design and residential door hardware selection deserve careful attention. And it’s not just door handles that are important – architectural hinges can offer benefits such as doors that open through a full 180 degrees, for example, and pivot hinges enable bespoke door treatments without the need for door frames and architraves. Then there are specialty solutions such as space-saving door systems that can significantly reduce a door’s opening arc, and cavity-sliding doors that slide completely out of sight.
Blinds, shutters and sun control
As the seasons change, and the sun moves through the sky, direct light can reach different parts of a building’s interior. Good architecture capitalises on this, creating rooms that are shaded in summer and warmed in winter. But flexible screening in the form of blinds, shutters and curtains is also required, so that spaces can be adapted for different uses, to respond to changing weather and to provide privacy.
In many cases, the choice between, say, timber venetian blinds, plantation shutters, roman blinds and fabric blinds or curtains is largely aesthetic and determined with consideration for the style of the interior space. Some blinds and curtains have the added advantage of integration with home automation. Motorised roller blind systems and motorised curtain track systems, operated via wireless curtain and blind control units, remove any semblance of hard work from the task of getting light levels and outward views just right!
If a higher degree of sun control is required, a double-blind system, which pairs a sheer blind with a full-blockout, UV-resistant blind, or externally fitted solutions such as blockout roller shutters or awnings, might make more sense. Sun and thermal control can also be integrated into the window itself, with high-performance window film that limits UV transmission, double-glazed aluminium windows and doors that act as additional insulation, and even enclosed venetian blinds, that contain traditional venetian blinds within a double-glazed window unit.
Window and door security
By their very nature as apertures, windows and doors can be points of weakness in the building envelope. Different kinds of windows and doors can be more or less vulnerable, so require specialised security solutions to provide the best protection. For example, patio door locks with multiple fixing points keep sliding doors secure, as do bifold locks for folding doors, while sliding window limiter locks can be used to set a maximum window opening distance.
In offices and other commercial buildings, careful access control is vital. For busy CBD workplaces, security speed gates, security turnstiles and other pedestrian security gates enable authorised access in high volumes. Other options, such as heavy-duty automatic sliding doors and automatic revolving doors, don’t necessarily control access on an individual basis but help to control crowds and direct pedestrian circulation, while also minimising any loss of mechanically cooled or heated building air.
After office or retail hours, additional measures can be taken to protect a building’s interior, such as a steel security trellis door installed behind a shop’s front facade, electronic door controls that require swipecards or chips for employee and supplier access, and specialty locks and keys that are tamper-resistant and difficult to copy.
So we can see that the gap between kids’ naïve gable-roofed house drawings and reality is wide, and becoming wider. But let’s not get all misty-eyed and nostalgic about it. After all, there’s some childlike wonder to be had in knowing that an architect can draw almost anything they want, and there’ll be a product available to help them build it!
Consider the contemporary home, routinely arranged around an open-plan living space that opens out through bifold doors to a deck, or through sliding glass doors onto a balcony. And the modern office, where natural light is non-negotiable and security is paramount. For every opening in the building fabric, there’s a challenge to control light, heat, views or access… but also, a product to match.