Windows have to be the biggest oxymoron in the natural world. As architects, we talk about bringing nature into buildings through light wells and gardens near the building…and yet then we place a huge plate of glass between the leaves and us. In a building, windows force the inhabitant to be the observer rather than a participant.
It’s as if the window mocks the onlooker saying “Ha ha! I’ll allow you to see the beauty of what’s behind me, but I’ll never let you touch it, experience it, taste it, smell it, let it brush by your cheek. You must find my cousin, the door, to grant you those luxuries.”
Just like a deaf man feeling the vibrations of music or a blind man feeling the shape of a statue… simply viewing nature without touch, taste, smell, or through auditory cues doesn’t seem to do the element justice.