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The High Life: Clerestory Windows

Clerestory windows (conspicuous clear-story) are usually defined as windows above eye level. Historically, the word called the top level of a church or cathedral, in which they were mainstays of Romanesque and Gothic churches. Now, as ever, their purpose is to bring light and/or fresh air inside — to essentially remove the need for electric light during the day. For those of us in urban areas, they are especially beneficial to bring in light without sacrificing privacy, if installed greater than surrounding roofs. While shapes may differ (quatrefoils, circles, ovals and triangles have all been employed), we most commonly see clerestory windows as rectangles.

Quick hints:
Installing clerestory windows on the north side of a house, where they won’t be subjected to the maximum degree of direct sunlight, will maintain down cooling bills for those in warm climates. At winter, south-facing clerestory windows encourage heat in from sunlight. In the summer, trees and window shades can help decrease excessive heat gain.If you are installing clerestory windows on the south side of a house, add a low-emissivity coating to decrease heat loss. More: Expand Your View With Picture Windows

John Maniscalco Architecture

High ceilings with two levels of windows maximize lighting. The wall warms this dramatic space. I especially enjoy the usage of the clerestory image window over the mattress, which creates a framed image of nature.

Brennan + Company Architects

Light, views and natural colours help bring the outside into this small bathroom. The clerestory window allows light filter to this private space during the afternoon, but also invites moonlight at nighttime.

Design By Lisa

Placing clerestory windows over the cabinets in this little kitchen creates a wonderful screen space, accommodates additional storage and permits sunlight to pour in. The break between cupboards and windows maintains a cozy feel when allowing room for its dramatic effect.

Tip: Installing clerestory windows involving interior chambers brings more light into a space which could possibly be cut off from sunlight.

Studio William Hefner

All these clerestory windows tie in nicely with the design: The mullions line up with the beams, resulting in a modern look that references the Gothic layouts from which it descended. Although separated by a floating storage device, the windows tie two spaces together, making the whole room feel both intimate and expansive.

Modern home architects

A dropped ceiling which defines the office space but provides presence and importance to the living room — makes the effects of clerestory windows even more striking.

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

If you’ve got a wall which was not initially intended to get windows (maybe there’s an unsavory view beyond?) , clerestory windows might be the reply to your light-less woes.

Strategically placed built-ins could have caused a dark kitchen, but clerestory windows were installed over this attribute wall.

Amitzi Architects

Any space can feel and look like an open, airy loft with the accession of clerestory windows.

Chr DAUER Architects

Do not get bogged down from the rectangle. Check out this unexpected collection of clerestory windows in funky shapes. This bedroom design filters historic elements through a modern lens.

Modern home architects

This hallway’s generous height is comprehensive from floor to ceiling; Exposed concrete walls create interest with color and feel while clerestory windows infuse the room with light and warmth, thanks to their wood casings.

Charlie & Co.. Design, Ltd

An extra-high ceiling adds quantity in this family space, while clerestory windows give extra natural light without compromising the storage/decorative screen benefits of social media wall.

The windows in this house were clearly placed to benefit from views of a nearby mountain. While many clerestory windows have been fixed, you will find operable possibilities, which encourage cross-ventilation.

Brian Watford Interiors

Rich-toned woods, textures and clerestory windows create an awareness of style suitable for this house’s architecture.

More: Bathe at the Light of Clerestory Windows
Skinny Windows: Exclamation Points of Light
Expand Your View With Picture Windows

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