The light comes through the windows in the interior of the room; windows provide views from the place to nature and allow ventilation. They complement, highlight and create the appearance of the building.
Doorways, but especially windows, with their size, shape, proportions, layout on the facade, and all decorative features (materials and colours of frames and sash, mutins, type of glazing, sills, and craftsmanship’s details have a strong emphasis on the visual character of the building. Changed window change the character of the building.
Each investor must be especially aware of this when deciding on the replacement of windows in his apartment in a multi-apartment building. Any change in the material, colour or width of the window frames, change of glass or even a different window-sashes distribution means changing the appearance of the entire building.
The current situation on the field of the conservation of originality of windows is desperate in Slovenia. Replacement of windows is in the domain of each owner. Over the last two decades, the vast majority of windows on multi-dwelling buildings have been replaced; rarely any original window has been preserved.
In the modernist neighbourhoods, the original windows had mostly wooden frames, protected with dark brown lacquer, or coloured in a combination of two colours, usually a black frame and a white window sash. Two-colour window frames look slimmer, and at the same time, they appear as a specially thought-out architectural element on the simple design of the building.
Today, multi-dwelling buildings are dominated by windows with white plastic frames, which are much broader than initially were. Besides not to retain neither the colour scheme nor the materiality, they often deviate from the original even after the sash configuration.
In this way, we unnecessarily lose interesting evidence of the craft art of our predecessors. We do not know how long plastic windows will last. When they break down, repairing them won’t be possible; their replacement will be necessary.
Wooden windows require only regular maintenance and can last for decades. With minor reconstruction and modernisation, they could serve their purpose for a long time. If windows need to be replaced, it is necessary to preserve all the aesthetic and material characteristics of the originals, technological improvements are welcome if they do not change the appearance of the window.
Architectural elements on the building, such as windows and doorways, must remain unified and consistent with the original concept or it is necessary to find a uniform solution for the entire building, which should be defined in Architectural Guidelines written in the ‘House rules’ of each building. (ordering a large number of new windows from one contractor can be an excellent negotiating starting point – all the residents would benefit, both financially and with a more harmonious appearance of the building).
More about this topic: