About this Collection
The earliest windows were merely openings that let in light and air. Differences in cultural tastes, improved technologies, and architects’ creativity have influenced the evolution of window design.
The ancient Romans were the first to use small sheets of glass (panes) over openings. But it was not until much later, when glass production techniques were improved, that architects and engineers could increase the size, number, and look of a building’s windows.
By the Gothic period (ca. 1000-1400) available technology allowed production of larger glass panes and the development of colorful stained glass.
An arch flanked by upright rectangular shapes. which became popular during the Renaissance, is called a Palladian window.
In more modern times, advances in heating, cooling, lighting, and glass strength added flexibility. Windows did not have to open, were not the only source of light, and could be almost any size. Larger buildings used tinted glass or mirror windows to give an illusion of transparency and allow stunning views.
From uncovered openings to modern tinted glass curtain walls, the purpose of windows remains much the same— providing natural light in the buildings where people work, live, or worship.