Helter-Skelter Window Alignment

#6 of 10 Home Design Mistakes

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In a classical home there was symmetry, and window alignment was part of that. The Gothic Revival tossed the symmetry but retained order. Windows were still aligned. They were often grouped together, but systematically so. They were placed where they were needed but with regard to the order of the whole.

Modernism took great liberties with what a window did, often replacing entire walls, but order was retained. The modernists were not generally into destroying order. They just created a new order.

There are two situations where this is no longer so. One is the deliberate elimination of alignment and proportion found in some deconstructivist’s postmodern houses. The other is the result of economizing builders who create an attractive front, but neglect the other three sides.

Placement of windows has to be considered from both inside and outside. You don’t want a dividing wall butting into window, so the placement of interior walls will effect where you can put windows, but you also need to consider the view from outside. A window placed solely for its interior effect may look sorely amiss in the context of the exterior view.

This is all part of the trade-offs that architects are supposed to consider when they design a house. My guess is that architects are not responsible for this mess, builders are. Yet to be fair, it is also the responsibility of the general public that is willing to put up with these houses. As long as they put a premium on trendy items over basic design considerations we'll have houses were three sides of the house lack any semblance of order.

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