Windows serve multiple essential functions in any project, from framing views to providing daylight and natural ventilation. As human needs have shifted and technology has advanced significantly throughout the years, these have evolved in character, shape, and use of materials. What began as small arrow loops used for defense in medieval fortifications later transformed into wider openings that exemplified status and wealth. The Romans were the first to use glass, but it was considered a precious commodity for centuries. Intricate stained-glass panels adorned countless of medieval churches and cathedrals, while most home dwellers had to settle for covering their “windows” with wood, fur and other materials.
Fast forward to today, and contemporary architecture shows a very different scenario: tall, expansive glass windows that maximize views, transparency and light with minimum components have become the norm. Now more than ever, building occupants look for flexibility, spaciousness and large openings that connect to the outdoors, hence providing greater access to natural environments. In fact, integrating nature through design has been proven to reduce stress, boost mood, enhance productivity, and promote overall well-being and quality of life. All of these current demands explain the growing popularity of minimalist windows in modern architecture and design.
By melting into their environment and enabling limitless views, plenty of natural light and a sleek, clean-line aesthetic, these types of windows have become a top choice for contemporary residential buildings. To achieve their characteristic seamless look, these must be made with minimal, yet efficient parts and materials. Of course, that includes using the right frame solution, which sits between the glazing and the wall and is essentially the framework that surrounds, supports and holds the entire system together.
Efficient frame systems that erase the boundary with the outdoors
Not only does a well-made frame ensure durability and greater energy efficiency, but it also determines a window’s look and style. The narrower or more concealed, the less visual impact and the greater the harmony with the rest of the building. With that in mind, Orama Minimal Frames develops minimal aluminum frames and doors with the highest standards in thermal insulation, sound insulation and safety. With hand-made parts that are easy to assemble and maintain, a minimal labyrinth and invisible drainage, these are ideal for large window systems that seek to balance optimum efficiency with smooth movements and unobstructed floor-to-ceiling views.
Orama offers three window frame systems: One, for frameless transparency with a fully concealed track system; Z°, which provides seamless merging of the outside with the inside; and Axis, a pivoting frame that swings around an asymmetrically located axis. Each frame comes in various colors and allows for several glazing combinations, such as sliding and fixed, sliding and pivot, or double sliding panes. Moreover, the frameless door solution Porta opens new possibilities in architectural and interior design thanks to its hidden frames, customizable finishes, security features and numerous material options –including wood, tiles, metal, concrete and stone.
All of these systems are able to meet various aesthetic and functional architectural requirements with a high degree of creative versatility. To discover their possibilities in contemporary residential settings and inspire homeowners, architects and designers in the process, below we dive into three of Orama’s latest projects.
Built with a larger subdivision of residential buildings, the Casa Cannocchiale (or Telescope House) follows a semi-prefabricated approach, using cross-laminated timber X-Lam panels for the shifted volume of the first floor. This enables the volume to free itself from the underlying structure, resulting in a clean, gabled volume oriented towards Turin’s Garavaglia valley. To integrate the scenic view into the design, the living room opens completely to the outside through large minimal windows, which consist of high-performance insulating glass and thin frames. The same effect is achieved in the bedroom found on the first floor, where the seamless window incorporates the green, hilly landscape like a beautiful painting.
The design of this house, located on a sloped plot perched on a mountainside, was heavily influenced and shaped by the expansive views of the city. Blending into the landscape, the home features an elevated platform on the ground floor that includes a large balcony and greenery, as well as the living room, dining room, kitchen and swimming pool. Both the platform and two side walls frame the view, but the distance between them is such that they tend to hide within the limits of peripheral vision. In the entire 16-meter span, there are no interrupting columns; only a minimal sliding glass façade that enhances the home’s contemporary style, allows for maximum transparency and creates a smooth inside-outside transition when opened.
In this case, architects were commissioned to design a house on a hill in the Flemish Ardennes region in Belgium. While the north side of the plot offers striking views of fields and picturesque church towers, the infinity pool called for a southern orientation to provide protection and privacy. In response, the residential volume was placed at a right angle to the street, connecting the north-south axis. Many elements of the design aim to direct attention to the surrounding nature; among them, the horizontal aspect of the house, the black façade cladding in burnt wood, and, of course, the oversized sliding windows that can be opened up completely, blurring the limits between the interior and exterior.