Corner windows bring in more light and brighten up living spaces
How often do we think, where do design ideas come from? It’s curious to know that a majority of routine ideas are picked up from what we see everyday around us. Hence, Jayanagar in Bangalore or Kalkaji in Delhi exhibit similar characteristics within their individual neighbourhoods. While plans could differ as per the user needs or external elevations worked out for attraction, elements like openings are placed as per local practice. There was a time when such practices were based on local climate, but for decades now, windows have a default setting!
Windows, being less understood, especially in residential buildings, have been simply repeated by everyone. No wonder, nearly all houses have big rectangular windows in the centre of walls in all rooms. They start at between 2 or 3 ft. called the cill level and go up to 7 ft. called the lintel level. When alternative positions are designed for windows, most often, they are dictated by external looks rather than ecological considerations of light and air.
Rethinking on central windows
In Indian contexts, openings in the centre of the wall bring in tremendous glare, reducing the faces of people sitting in front into dark silhouettes. They also create darker corners, of course by comparison to the amount of light in the centre, making the room look smaller. Most activities like sitting, hanging wall paintings or placing a chest of drawers need these central areas, now blocked by the opening.
Since we get only one window in the centre, we tend to make it larger, sometimes up to 6 feet wide. This would demand more seasoned wood, heavier lintel beam and multiple shutters that collide against each other.
By enlarging the windows, only cost doubles, without tangible benefits.
Let us look at windows in the wall corners. If a 6 ft. wide window is split into two parts with each located at wall ends, they create multiple opportunities for air current within, viewing outside and sourcing light. They throw light on side wall and ceiling, enhancing the reflected light component. So, for the same area of window, we get more light. When the room corners are brighter, we tend to perceive it as a larger space. It is only psychological, contributed by better daylight factor. If a wardrobe is required in the corner, the opening gets shifted, however keeping the window in the wall corner. The corners are anyway used for small stools, telephone stand and such others, which do not get affected by the opening.
If potted plants could be placed in these lit-up corners, not only they grow well, the indoor air quality also gets enhanced.