At the touch of a button, the entire window front magically sinks into the ground, merging the interior with the exterior. This is the effect of the air-lux descending window, which acts not just as a glass front, but a highlight all year round that blends the indoors with the outdoors. So much so, that the descending window was awarded the German Design Award 2020 in the category "Excellent Product Design - Building and Elements".
Windows: The Latest Architecture and News
Like a beautiful painting, windows showcase interiors and frame landscapes that connect users to the outside world, directing our eyes to what really matters. But besides framing views and facilitating visual communication, windows serve multiple essential functions that make them vital components in any project. They illuminate homes with sunrays, provide natural ventilation, filter light, insulate from cold and heat, block water and ensure protection. As most design professionals would agree, glazing also plays a crucial aesthetic role; its materials, style and dimensions certainly make a significant difference in the appearance of facades and spaces.
Windows are the elements that connect us to the outside world. It is from them that views are framed, privacy, lighting and natural ventilation are defined. Nowadays in the construction market we find different types of openings. Find out how to choose the type that best fits your project needs here.
For most people, modern living requires spending most of the day in interior spaces - in fact, according to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person spends around 90% of their life indoors. As a result, this implies missing out on health benefits associated with sunlight exposure, such as vitamin D absorption, regulation of circadian rhythms, higher energy levels and even improved mood. Thus, one option is to increase the amount of time we spend outdoors. But because most daily functions are carried out inside buildings, it is crucial to incorporate and prioritize natural lighting in interiors.
Transcendentalist philosophers have long shared the idea that humans and nature are equal forces that should coexist in harmony. The notion has since expanded to the architecture world, with Frank Lloyd Wright shedding light on the term “organic architecture” as early as the 1900s. In recent years, driven by an increased interest in living closer to nature, architects continue to delve into the concept of integrating interior and exterior, blurring out visual and physical boundaries to bring landscapes indoors.
In Sky-Frame’s latest film, part of the series “My point of view”, a conversation with architect Dara Huang explores this notion, questioning how architecture can merge nature, sustainability and lifestyle within its form, without relying on more technology or materials to do so.
Sky-Frame Swiss-made frameless windows and sliding doors continue to revolutionize the transition between indoors and outdoors, by providing unbounded spatial experiences with spectacular vistas.
A frameless window is exactly how it is described – a seamless glazing option that has no obvious frame around the perimeter. As a new design phenomenon, frameless glass panels are used for balconies, shower screens, glass doors, and bespoke conservatory windows, creating a ‘wall of glass’ effect, which is a hallmark of contemporary architectural design. Seamless glazing has a range of advantages, the first being the supreme stylistic feature it can create, letting the optimum amount of light into a room and provide a chic contemporary element to a building. Aside from the aesthetic appeal, frameless windows are simple and super-fast to install so homeowners can enjoy minimum disruption and lower installation fees.
"And a window that looks out on Corcovado. Oh, how lovely." Tom Jobim's lyrics, immortalized by João Gilberto and Astrud Gilberto's voices and a soft guitar, was one of the early songs that introduced the world to the idea of a paradisaical Rio de Janeiro and a promising Brazil, with an increasingly urban population and a modern capital being built from nothing. Almost 60 years later, Paulo Mendes da Rocha casually quotes this song in an interview and points out that for him, in this scene, the most important element is the window, not Corcovado or Christ the Redeemer. That's because it frames the view and directs our eyes to what matters. It is a phrase that goes almost unnoticed, but that carries enormous poetic and artistic significance to the craft of architecture.
Wood is a material naturally associated with beauty, versatility, and comfort and is used in many different ways in architecture, from flooring to roofing. These qualities also stand out when used in window frames.
The window is the architectural element that satisfies our innate need to relate to the outside space, providing us with ventilation and light. The more extensive and clean the window is, the greater the sensation of "being outside". Consequently, opening up spaces to the outside has become a common requirement for people who want and need to inhabit flexible, adaptable spaces, in contact with the air and nature. There are many ways to do this, but not all of them allow an airtight enclosure to become fully open and continuous, clearing the boundaries between both spaces.
Malibu Crest, a 2019 remodeling of a 1949 International Style home, was a vital undertaking by the architecture firm Studio Bracket that aimed to expand the structure’s square footage and panoramic views of Malibu while retaining over 50% of the home’s original walls. The project was ultimately successful, not only in its refurbishment of the interior rooms and reconfiguration of the space, but in its enlargement of the windows to truly capture views of the surrounding lagoon and mountains. This expansion of the view was done in part through an open corner window scheme and floor-to-ceiling glass, manufactured by Western Window Systems. The uninterrupted glass walls afforded by this open corner technology is one of the most effective ways that architects can open an interior space to the stunning vistas of a natural environment. Yet an even more striking configuration increasingly being employed by residential architects is that of the open corner sliding glass door – a system that can even more completely open an interior space to the unobstructed outdoors. Below, we discuss this technology in more detail, alongside several examples of projects using the open corner glass door.
We spoke with Beat Guhl, CEO of Sky-Frame, during the Swiss Bau fair – one of the largest events in the materials industry. Sky-Frame produces frameless sliding window systems; vital components to achieve an effective and efficient transparency in architectural projects. The company is constantly pushing for technical innovation and works closely with architects to help achieve fluid spatial concepts.
Door handles are a ubiquitous part of daily life, being used constantly in almost every space but rarely given thought by the passing user. Nevertheless, the chosen material of each handle can vary widely in terms of aesthetics, durability, and sustainability, with good choices going noticeably right and poor choices going noticeably wrong. For objects that are seen and used multiple times every day without fail, it’s imperative that designers get the choice right.
To deepen this topic, FSB helps us to lay out the properties of four of the most common handle materials below, allowing you to make an informed decision on which material aligns best with your project’s needs.
After centuries of using wood for the development of window and door carpentry, the Rationalism of the 20th century began to adopt a new material for these purposes: steel. Driven by industrial production, and promoted by architects such as Adolf Loos, Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier, steel was evolving to generate increasingly thin and resistant frames. However, efficient and low-cost materials, such as aluminum and PVC, gradually began to replace its widespread use, increasing the size of the frames and losing steel's "clean" aesthetic when applied to a growing architecture of large glass paneled facades.
At present, new technologies have refined their production processes, developing minimal profiles of high rigidity and precision, which take full advantage of the transparency of the glass and deliver new comfort and safety features. We talked with Jansen's experts to deepen our understanding of their application in contemporary architecture.