window guide architects

A Window Guide For Architects

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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You may have noticed that windows are becoming a big part of the design of buildings. With more options than ever before, windows are now used architecturally by Architect Chester in homes and office buildings and they have been given more thought and focus when it comes to designing a property.

Windows come in varying designs, with different frame types and glass types. It can be quite challenging finding the perfect window type to put into your design especially when there are many different accessories – but finding exactly what you want will be easy!

Types of Window Systems

The possibilities are endless when it comes to types of window systems, but we will run through the most popular options available.

1. Fixed Windows (Picture Windows)

This type of window, no matter how big or small, is non-operation – which means it will not open. These windows are designed to let light in and “picture” some of the most incredible views.

2. Sash Windows

Sash windows are more traditional and are well suited to period properties, however, their popularity is on the rise with more sash window options than ever. Sash windows slide upward rather than push outward and come in two different types.

  •         Single-hung: A fixed top panel and sliding bottom panel
  •         Double-hung: Allowing both panels to be moved

3. Casement Windows

This type of window is usually hinged on one side, be it top, bottom, left or right. These include:

  •         Awning: Top hinged windows that swing outwards
  •         Hopper: Top hinged swinging inwards

4. Slider Windows

Slider windows have grown in popularity to create panoramic views outward and to allow plenty of light to flood in. These are installed onto a horizontal track and are commonly used between your home and patio areas.

5. Skylights

You may see skylights installed in a loft or barn – and in some modern properties too! They can either be fixed or operational and usually come with remote-control blinds to control UV levels.


Windows can come in all different finishes – think bathroom frosted windows for example. Texture may be used to create visual depth and different levels of transparency especially for rooms where you need additional privacy. Some thicker glass can even be moulded into different shapes which is pretty cool!

Windows can also come with one-way visibility – meaning that you can see outside the property and not in.


Window frames can vary in materials

and all have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, above all you want your windows to reflect well on the property you are designing so choosing the right material to sit well within the client’s specification is important.


Wood frames are great, and traditional, but do require a lot more attention and upkeep. However, wood frames do offer a warm aesthetic which other materials may fail to do. Reclaimed wood can also be used in building very beautiful wood frames.


Vinyl frames (PVC) aren’t the prettiest but they are extremely durable and have good insulation. Typically, they are made of white and neutral colours and pretty much maintenance free – other than general cleaning of course.


Fiberglass is increasing in popularity due to their durability in different temperatures – perfect for British weather. They are typically made up of glass fibres and resin.


More and more homes are being designed with an industrial feel which an aluminium frame would be perfect for. They are very strong and require next to no maintenance and are perfect for creating slim profiles – meaning bulky frames are a thing of the past! However, aluminium isn’t the best for insulating your home so you may need to look at other products to accompany your window frame if you choose aluminium.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.