Evaluating the architectural or historical significance of
windows is the first step in planning for window treatments,
and a general understanding of the function and history of windows
is vital to making a proper evaluation. As a part of this evaluation,
one must consider four basic window functions:
- admitting light to the interior spaces,
- providing fresh air and ventilation to the interior,
- providing a visual link to the outside world, and
- enhancing the appearance of a building.
No single factor can be disregarded when planning window treatments;
for example, attempting to conserve energy by closing up or
reducing the size of window openings may result in the use of
more energy by increasing electric lighting loads and
decreasing passive solar heat gains.
Historically, the first windows in early American houses were
casement windows; that is, they were hinged
at the side and opened outward. In the beginning of the eighteenth
century single- and double-hung windows were
Subsequently many styles of these vertical sliding
sash windows have come to be associated with specific
building periods or architectural styles, and this is an important
consideration in determining the significance of windows, especially
on a local or regional basis. Site-specific, regionally oriented
architectural comparisons should be made to determine the significance
of windows in question. Although such comparisons may focus
on specific window types and their details, the ultimate determination
of significance should be made within the context of the whole
building, wherein the windows are one architectural element.
After all of the factors have been evaluated, windows should
be considered significant to a building if they:
- are original,
- reflect the original design intent for the building,
- reflect period or regional styles or building practices,
- reflect changes to the building resulting from major
periods or events, or
- are examples of exceptional craftsmanship or design.
Once this evaluation of significance has been
completed, it is possible to proceed with planning appropriate
treatments, beginning with an investigation of the physical
condition of the windows.
Next > Physical