Being able to see out through windows is as important to occupants of a house as is the admission of daylight and air.
The outdoor scene that the occupants will view from the house plays a role in the determination of the size of the windows and in the placement of the windows.
Sometimes the house is placed on a lot to command a picturesque landscape scene, sometimes the home owner or architect finds it necessary to create a pleasant view to high a less desirable one, ie: a planted area to high an alley. Large areas extend indoor space outward, making outdoor living areas an integral part of the house.
Problems in window placement may arise when a house is set on the lot to command a natural view on the east or west since it is difficult to shade the occupants' eyes from the sun early or late in the day. Devices to keep the sun's rays away from the windows may obstruct the view. View windows on the north can be protected from the sun's rays by a roof overhand; the sun does not bother those on the south.
The glare of the sun on an east-west orientation for a view located within the boundaries of a lot is not difficult to control. Fences and tall shrubbery instead of obstructing the view actually define it.
Generally the proportions of the window can be scaled to the view - a horizontal window for a panoramic view, such as a mountain range, a vertical window for a confined view, such as a terrace. In selecting windows to frame any view, it is important to avoid those having obstructions which interfere with the view. The windows should be placed at carefully determined heights so that the sills and the intermediate divisions do not obstruct the line of sight, either for that of tall or short adults.
The following serves as a checklist of good practices:
- To minimise obstructions in the line of sight use fixed glass except in those areas where ventilation must be provided. Screens are not needed on fixed glass, and therefore eliminate another interference from a standing point of view. Windows having slight divisions are acceptable. A horizontal division more than 100mm thick are not desirable when the division falls in the line of sight. Vertical divisions are not as objectionable as horizontal ones.
- Determine sill heights on the basis of room use and furniture arrangement.