Open a Window on Contemporary Design

October 13, 2016 / by / In

If you believe the axiom that change is the only constant in life, then you may want to consider contemporary home design. Architectural design principles have evolved over the past century to reflect this aspect of life – rather than taking its cues from historic procedures or precedents, contemporary home design is rooted in the belief that a home should be a “machine for the living.”

Known among architects as “contemporary,” this style places the highest importance on a thoughtfully-designed building that can change how it functions as the homeowners’ needs change over the years. Contemporary design means no opportunity for utility is overlooked, and that includes windows. Visible from both inside and out, the size, placement and function of each window is a critical factor in defining the home and its many purposes. Some guidelines to consider for incorporating contemporary style into your home include:

  1. Deliver light as far into the space as possible: when utilized correctly, the constantly changing light that flows through windows can transform an interior. Balancing the placement of windows to deliver natural light as far into a built structure accomplishes one of the primary principles of contemporary design: serve a utilitarian purpose, not a decorative one.

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  1. Promote indoor air quality: Proper ventilation for a home goes beyond opening a window or two. Stacked ventilation, for example, utilizes roof windows in combination with wall windows, creating updrafts that funnel warm air outdoors and away from living areas. Interior window openings can help channel fresh air to a home’s more remote locations.
  1. Minimize ornamentation to maximize impact: With the right positioning, spectacular scenery can become the focus of a room, even the focus of a home. Whether as a huge picture window or a perfectly aligned group of smaller windows, this reinforces a home’s connection to its surroundings and is commonly referred to as managing the view.


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  1. Erase the divide between interior and exterior: Walls of windows or patio doors can help connect the interior of a home with the immediate surroundings. Thresholds are minimized, rooflines blend into tree lines, and outdoor spaces become your expanded living space.


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Knowing which windows match a contemporary style is key to achieving that contemporary look. To that end, this free site connects home styles and the proper windows based on architectural need.

Incorporating contemporary style is an investment of time, consulting with your architect about how to make the most of the space you plan to grow old with.  With the right architectural anchors such as windows, your dream of a contemporary home is a reality you can live with for a very, very long time.


With more than 30 years of experience in product design and design research, Jay Libby is the Creative Services Manager at Andersen Windows.



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