fenestration design fundamentals

To understand fenestration design fundamentals, we should first take a look at the meaning of the term “Fenestration.” From there we can explore in greater detail fenestration design fundamentals, as they apply to the architectural world.

What is Fenestration

As it pertains to architecture, the term “Fenestration” refers to the arrangement and design of windows and other openings in a building including doors and skylights. This only pertains to openings in the exterior of the building where the opening could affect the transmittance of light and heat. For young scholars, the term is derived from the Latin word “fenestra” meaning window.

Fenestration Design Fundamentals

An Overview

The Need for Fenestration

The incorporation of windows and other openings is a fundamental design basic in any architectural project. The architect must make decisions about the size and shape of all wall and roof penetrations. The characteristics of these “fenestrations” are driven by several factors including aesthetics and energy efficiency. Different fenestration aspects are used throughout a home design, each with its own unique purpose ranging from security to creating a panoramic view.

Fenestration and Character

Fenestration design can affect the overall character of a home or commercial building. This is not a new concept. For example; Baron Haussmann was selected by Napoleon III to design the boulevards of Paris in the early 1800’s. You can see his influence yet today as you stroll the streets of Paris. You will note the consistency of the aspect ratios and window spacing incorporated into the building designs.


Fenestration Design Fundamentals


Fenestration and How It Affects Daylight Performance

Building Orientation: The orientation of a home or commercial building affects the overall performance of windows with regard to the amount of daylight that penetrates the windows. This is a major consideration in the design phase.

Window Size: This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway; the size and quantity of windows has a huge impact on the amount of light that penetrates the home. Window types can also play a major factor.

Glass Performance: Recent innovations in the glass manufacturing process has led to many choices that affect the over performance of windows. These can include but are not limited to Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, U-Factor, and Visible Transmittance.

Construction Materials:

Casings and Sashes: There are a wide range of materials used in the manufacturing process of modern windows. This include wood windows, aluminum windows, and fiberglass windows. These materials affect cost, performance, and the overall aesthetics of the windows. In many cases the sashes of vinyl and aluminum windows are filled with foam for a boost in efficiency.

Glazing: The term “Glazing” refers to the glass itself. This can be a single pane of glass, or more commonly today, double and triple glazing. The layers of double and triple glazed glass is separated by a space which creates and airtight seal. The space(s) between the glass is filled with an inert gas such as argon.

Tinted Glass: Popular in warmer climates, tinted glass can reduce the heat gain during the long, hot days of summer.

Low-E Glass: Modern, Low-E Glass is manufactured using a fine metal coating that substantially reduces the heat transfer by 25 percent or more.

The Future of Fenestration

Electrochromic Glazing: Think “Back to the Future” Electrochromic Glazing is an emerging technology known as “Smart Glass.” You can actually control the level of light transmittance by a simple selector switch.

Vacuum IG Glass: By creating a vacuum between two panes of glass, the need for argon is eliminated.

Aerogel Glazing: This is a low-density silica-based material that is sandwiched between two panes of glass which eliminates the need for argon gas.

Be sure to read our article on the different types of Fenestration

Contact Us:

Do you want to learn more about insulated glass and how it relates to the fenestration design fundaments of your project? Contact, One Source Glass LLC at OneSourceGlass.com or give us a call at (815)-725-7033.