Post 693 –by Gautam Shah
Openings have been expressions of whatever was happening inside, and also as exclusive exterior statements.
ROMANESQUE windows were overshadowed by colonnades and piers, but the adjacent areas became very articulated. Here jambs or sides were formed with a series of receding moulded planes. The arch above also had the receding concentric rings, following the lines of the recesses of jambs below. The Romanesque fluted pier first replaced the Greek-Roman columns, and later the capitals and entablatures. Two or three stormed -triforium clerestories were created to lit up the interior, manage the semicircular openings. Several windows with semicircular heads were sometimes grouped together and enclosed in a larger arch. Windows often head a central support element in the form of a column or a pier. A wheel-shaped window, placed over the main West door later became the Rose-window.
EARLY CHRISTIAN PERIOD, windows were small in proportion to the entire mass of the facade. The size was accentuated with chamferred sides and sills but the basic opening gap was functionally bare minimum. It provided adequate light, but not the heat gain that was required in North European climates. Windows gradually began to fill the Romanesque semicircular arched openings. Internally the structure was framed. Externally the walls began to carry loads at the base points of arches. Semi circular arches began to be replaced by pointed arches. These reduced the span of opening, and reduced the load on the pier. Closely spaced light piers and pointed arches created an interior space that was tall and vertical.
Roman circular arch was well a respected architectural element. Traditional Christians would not change it to anything else. But Goths came to dominate large territories across Europe. They were perceived to be marauders and lacking any thing ‘decent’. Goths never accepted Roman manners or architecture but began to adopt Moorish technology and simple cultural values and artistic customs. Most important, they adopted a simplistic form of Christianity, the Arianism, allowing birth of Gothic. Gothic was then perceived as a derisive term for the ‘uncivilized and destructive lifestyle’ of Goths.
GOTHIC STRUCTURES carried thrusts to the piers through the buttresses, virtually eliminating the wall. Windows occupied all the space freed by walls. To make windows stable against wind pressure and support, the leaded glass panes of large windows had sub frames of transoms and mullions. Tracery was used to mould the rectilinear character of the sub frames. By varying the pitch of the pointed arch, unlike semicircular arched openings, it was possible to have windows of different widths for the same floor height. Window tracery, was a later invention of the Gothic period. The stained glass replaced the traditional wall treatments like mosaic or paintings in oil or stucco. Building materials like marble were exposed for their grain.
‘Lantern church’ with perpendicular windows rising from floor to vault, was not a suitable style for non church buildings like palaces, colleges, etc. Windows were also not required to be as large in sunny parts of Europe like Spain and Italy.
This led to REVIVAL OF ROMAN STYLE wall with punctured windows. Windows were once again square headed, comparatively small, multi-functional, eye levelled and easy to merge into variety of interior treatments. These windows were abutted with pilasters, half columns and also by offset arcade of full columns.
In Spanish architecture of LATE GOTHIC ERA AND EARLY RENAISSANCE, the window and its appended decorative elements created a composite facade element. In Italian Renaissance the facade was like an interwoven fabric spread all over (Doges palace, Venice) and terminating at a very strongly articulated architectural element. In horizontal directions these elements were eaves, sills, pediments, etc. in vertical direction the pilaster, column, doorway etc. terminated the flow. Windows were adorned with balustrades, and galleries. Buildings were topped with statues, lanterns, domes, drums, accentuating the vertical lines of the window opening. The remaining surface of the wall was intensely emphasized through rusticated masonry or moulded bands. In other European locations (Germany) the window composition was repeated to create a strong linear facade. Corner window and Oriel were used.
In ITALIAN RENAISSANCE the facade was like an interwoven fabric spread all over (Doges palace, Venice) and terminating at a very strongly articulated architectural element. In horizontal directions these elements were eaves, sills, pediments, etc. in vertical direction the pilaster, column, doorway etc. terminated the flow. Windows were adorned with balustrades, and galleries. Buildings were topped with statues, lanterns, domes, drums, accentuating the vertical lines of the window opening.
BAROQUE ARCHITECTURE which emerged in the later part of Renaissance, many conventions were removed. Wall surfaces instead of being linear now began to be curved and undulating. Window openings were often oval, circular but deeply recessed. Vertically sliding windows or sash windows were favoured for its ease of opening, controlled ventilation. Sash windows had rectilinear subdivisions, filled with better quality see through clear water-white glass. Sash windows were painted white, and placed in brick masonry work (English later Renaissance).
In early part of RENAISSANCE the exteriors truthfully reflected the interior space modules, but very rarely the function. The facade was a mask. The make-believe continued till it was despised as vulgar by the POST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION PERIOD.