Broadly defined, a window is ‘any opening in a structure that allows the ingress of light, sound and wind and when closed, it effectively blocks the same’. Depending on seasonal variances, weather and the personal preference of the home dweller, almost all windows may be opened or closed as and when desired.
In fact, ever since mankind first started erecting structures to protect itself from the external environment and the vagrancies of nature, windows have been part and parcel of all such structures. The earliest windows were simply holes in the walls that were covered with different kinds of animal skins to let in light and air or block the same as the case may be. Over millennia, windows have developed into different, sophisticated types of structures. Some of the different types of windows include:
These structures are hinged from the top and are mostly found above primary windows to offer better ventilation
These windows are hinged from the bottom and may be opened from the top; they generally open inwards and are commonly found in educational institutions
These windows are constructed to guide the breeze directly into the house in warm climates. They offer excellent ventilation since they are hinged from the sides and once opened at an angle, are able to bounce the breeze directly into the room to help prevent stuffiness. They are generally held in their prone position though ‘casement stays’ that help ensure they remain opened at the pre-determined angle.
Fixed windows as the term implies are permanently fixed into their positions and cannot be opened as such. They are typically found in churches and other buildings that only require light for illumination purposes.
Stain glass windows
Such windows are predominantly found in clerestory structures and since centuries have been used to showcase the eternal battle between good and evil. They are primarily painted in different colours and contain vivid imagery that when coupled with sunshine from outside serves to create extremely beautiful scenes and give the structure itself, added splendor.
A picture window is a type of fixed window that is glazed with plain glass. Its core purpose is to provide a view of the outside environment and as such, it cannot be opened. It is often framed on the sides in a manner analogous to a picture frame.
These types of windows are placed on the top floor or roof of a structure. Their purpose is to provide sunshine into the room below. While some of them can be opened, they are rarely done so due to the fact that they are difficult to access unless one climbs the roof itself.
Such windows are typically found in very cold climates and are used to trap thermal heat inside the house. They are generally used to cover primary windows and as such, also have a secondary function of protecting the main windows form inclement weather conditions.
Such windows are also referred to as emergency exit windows and are used to exit a structure quickly and safely in case of fire, flooding or any other emergency.