While devotees of contemporary architecture fawn over floor-to-ceiling windows, the sense of openness they afford spaces often comes at the expense of privacy. But when working with the right site — and the right client — architects can get creative, seizing opportunities to let in both abundant natural light and picturesque views. Below, we explore three projects that utilize Western Window Systems products to bring principles of indoor-outdoor living to unexpected spaces, from high-design bathrooms to fully-glazed retreats.
When a pair of Houston-based lawyers set out to design their lakeside home in Riverside, Texas they approached local firm Collaborative Designworks with a clear vision. Inspired by Mies van der Rohe, the couple hoped to replicate the visual weightlessness of the architect’s signature residences. The private waterfront property — 10.5 hectares in total with a guest house located up the hill — allowed architect James Evans to make these dreams a reality, cantilevering the glass-wrapped residence overtop the adjacent lake.
Taking full advantage of the isolated locale, the facade is 65 per cent glazed, letting in stunning views from every angle — even in the bathroom, where the architects have cleverly positioned the vanity to mirror the lake. High-performance sliding glass doors in the bedroom and bathroom open directly over the water, creating the illusion of outdoor living without sacrificing indoor comfort — or the architect’s energy-efficient ambitions. Meanwhile, the house’s plank ceiling runs from inside to outside, amplifying the effect.
The home’s true piece de resistance, its butterfly roof, made for a unique challenge: In order for the glazing to follow the roof line, the façade had to start at 3 metres tall in the bedroom and rise up to 3.6 metres in the living room. “Not a lot of systems can do that,” says Evans.
The need for privacy was no factor in the design of this secluded El Paso residence by Tucson firm Hazelbaker Rush. Surrounded by protected park land on two sides, the site’s sweeping mountain views were the perfect canvas to be framed by Western Window Systems.
“Every opening in the building is a choreography of some kind,” architect Darci Hazelbaker says. “[The] change in perception as you move through and live in a space is a key element to designing the experience.” In the home’s second-floor public space, a horizontal window highlights a panoramic view of the city. Meanwhile, a smaller window at the end of the hallway shifts the view downwards to the canyon below.
“For a home like this, the window is meant to frame the view. We want a simple product that almost disappears,” adds co-founder Dale Rush. There is no better example than in the house’s master suite, whose Series 600 Multi-Slide Door opens to the patio or bathroom — and the rugged landscape. A wall of Series 670 Fixed Windows overlooks the pool, bringing the outside in for a truly resort feel.
For condo dwellers, the concept of indoor-outdoor living may be somewhat of a pipe dream — but not at Muse La Jolla. The adaptive reuse project by San Diego architect Doug Austin converts the 50-year-old Prospect Center, a commercial building, into 16 luxury loft-like units.
Austin turned to Western Window Systems products to bring the building into the 21st century while preserving the clean lines of its International Style architecture. “We wanted to bring the outdoors inside. That was one of our key goals: minimizing the amount of obstruction to view with big expanses of glass and thinner mullions, which you didn’t have 50 years ago,” he explains.
Residents can now access outdoor space from almost anywhere in their unit via the Series 600 Multi-Slide Doors. And, thanks to a city law passed after its construction, the penthouse suites’ ocean views will never be obstructed.
This content was published by Azure on behalf of Western Window Systems.
With help from Western Window Systems products, these residential projects take advantage of stunning sites to bring in the outdoors to unexpected spaces.