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2023 / 06 / 12
Home > News > Windows in the Design Process from an Architect’s Perspective

Windows in the Design Process from an Architect’s Perspective

The question of when to engage window experts in the design process often arises. In this context, architect and head of the Archista architectural firm, László Kenyeres, shares his experiences. He believes that in today’s architectural design process, windows and doors are a critical aspect because they represent one of the most complex parts of a building. Therefore, even those not well-versed in the world of windows may require external assistance to confidently complete an execution plan.

Breaking down the design process into three phases – conceptual and schematic design, permit drawings, and construction drawings – as one progresses through these phases, the focus increasingly shifts towards technical matters. In the schematic design phase, functional and aesthetic considerations predominantly dominate, whereas in the construction drawings phase, the focus primarily shifts to technical solutions. Correspondingly, the relationship with window manufacturers should evolve accordingly. During the initial phase, I believe an average architect has sufficient knowledge – either through practical experience or research, as much technical content is available on the websites of various window manufacturers – to determine the suitable windows, glazing, and sizes for a given building. However, if unique solutions are desired, it is advisable to establish contact with a window manufacturer at this stage to avoid potential dead ends. Discussions during the schematic design phase can also aid in providing preliminary cost estimates. Given the current economic climate, no company wishes to quote a price it cannot later uphold, but ballpark estimates can certainly be provided.

In the middle phase of design, it is wise to address issues stemming from the functional dimensions of windows. This phase firmly establishes the situations that should not be altered later, such as window heights and spacings, as changes at this stage can potentially disrupt the overall design concept. During the permitting phase, considerations related to fire safety and accessibility start to arise, necessitating consultations with window specialists.

The construction drawings phase is where manufacturers become indispensable. The creation of junctions and detailed manufacturing plans, akin to assembly instructions, is best accomplished with the involvement of a competent window company or specialist designer. One challenge lies in the fact that the selection of a window manufacturer typically occurs only after the design phase is complete. While an architect can seek advice when the building is still in the design phase, this can only happen if there is a window company with prior experience, recognition, or professional commitment willing to assist. The window company must also have motivation, even if they engage in non-profit discussions with architectural firms, to uphold professional standards and, not least, secure potential future projects. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of companies that recognize this. KAV, for instance, falls into this category. They have realized that this is in their interest as well. By assisting architects in advance, the entire profession advances, and it ultimately makes their job easier since architects and clients come better prepared with plans.

I see progress in this aspect as well: as the internet becomes increasingly accessible and architectural culture develops in Hungary, clients are better prepared. We have more competent contractors and window companies in our country, allowing for the construction of world-class buildings. If we look at KAV’s references and the buildings in which they have installed windows, they stand out even in the international press. In fact, they can showcase buildings where foreigners might come to see how it should be done. There is no need to be afraid just because we are Hungarian; we can build to world-class standards if there is time, enthusiasm, financial resources, and the right professionals have been selected.

 

Windows in the Design Process from an Architect’s Perspective
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