Advances in window technology augment the indoor-outdoor lifestyle
As the indoor-outdoor lifestyle becomes less of a trend and more of a movement, AIA partner Andersen Windows provides products that perfectly meld the two
Most trends come and go; some grow and become mainstream. Then there are a rare few, such as electric lighting, internal combustion engines, and smartphones, that not only become part of our lives but change the way we live. One of those can be seen in today’s architecture: designing for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
Though the movement is more popular now than ever, the concept of joining a building with its natural surroundings is nothing new. The idea that living space should expand outdoors was core principle of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “organic architecture,” as well as the philosophies of architects dating back to the Greek and Roman empires. But, as with other concepts that have become a part of our culture, innovation has fueled the growth of indoor-outdoor architecture.
In the last century, advances in window technology allowed buildings to incorporate large walls of glass that brought the outside in to homes and commercial spaces. Now, with advent of big doors, those massive glass walls have become movable, bringing the indoors seamlessly to the outside world.
Not surprisingly, the trend first caught on in California, with its mild climate, ocean vistas, and scarcity of mosquitos. Next, it migrated into mountain and high-desert areas of the West to take advantage of the expansive views and abundant sunlight. Initially, the openness of the indoor-outdoor lifestyle restricted its incorporation to secluded environments. But as the trend expands throughout the country, innovative designs employing hardscape architecture provide privacy while still allowing projects to open themselves to the outdoors.
Indoor-outdoor living brings with it other design opportunities as well. Many have to do with blurring the line that traditionally separates interiors and exteriors. They provide unique opportunities to harmonize colors and textures, as well as specify woods, metals, stone and other materials for indoors that are normally used outside. Also, its integration of sunlight and fresh air makes it a natural for sustainable architecture.
The 4,000-acre Kenzo Estate, located on the former training ground for the US Olympic Ski Jump Team, provided the perfect palette for of Backen Gillam Kroeger Architects to design a winery that blends seamlessly with the beauty that surrounds it. Napa Valley is known as a wine growing region and its farming roots are clear influences in the concept of the project. Conceived to blend in with the surroundings, its design integrates the building with the surrounding vineyard, from the overall compound layout, orientation, access, and functionality of the building details.
There are two stone floor patios that run between the interior and exterior that feature pocket doors. By establishing the connection between growing grapes, the wine making process and enjoying the final product, the design tells the story of the winery. Besides capturing and framing magnificent views, large openings gave the ability to seamlessly transition from indoor to outdoor spaces and erase the boundary where one space ends and another one begins.
Perhaps most intriguing in these projects that meld indoor and outdoor, wall plans now become as important as floor plans. For example, Andersen Windows not only offers windows in virtually any size and shape, we also let you specify glass doors up to 16 feet tall and 60 feet wide that operate effortlessly to enhance your vision and let you design without inhibition.
Find out more about Andersen’s full Architectural Collection capabilities.
The AIA does not sponsor or endorse any enterprise, whether public or private, operated for profit. Further, no AIA officer, director, committee member, or employee, or any of its component organizations in his or her official capacity, is permitted to approve, sponsor, endorse, or do anything that may be deemed or construed to be an approval, sponsorship, or endorsement of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product.