Saturday, March 10, 2012

Glass Wall - Part One

The aluminum frame for the floor-to-ceiling glass wall facing the courtyard is mostly done.

The industry term for this window system is "storefront." You see this in commercial buildings all the time, but hardly ever in a house. But how better to bring in the most light and let out the most views to the courtyard?

The glass will be installed later. The frame has to be put in and measured, then the glass is fabricated to exactly the measured sizes.

This window extends from the brick edge at the floor level up past the ceiling beams and roof joists. Since the actual ceiling surface will be towards the tops of the joists, this glass will let light in above the beam and between the joists to wash across the ceiling.

There's a 4-inch sliver of space between the steel columns and this window frame. Here's an example of expressing truth or honesty in construction. Elements that have different functions are pulled apart and given their own character. The columns hold up the house; the window frame just holds glass in place. Letting the frames slip past columns and beams highlights the fundamentally different identities of these two systems.

Also I chose to leave out the vertical piece of window frame at the two corners, to let the two panes of glass meet each other at a 90-degree angle. This is another way to highlight the non-structural nature of the window system. This gesture also increases the visual connection between indoors and out.

Several operable windows, and one door, "float" within this glass wall. Below is the frame for a casement window in the front bedroom.

Of course it won't look much different from this when the glass is in. That's exciting.

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