Home Home & Garden Blurring of the Dividing Line

Blurring of the Dividing Line


Text: Robert C. Martin

Ever since humans began building shelters to capitalize upon natural light, fresh air, and easy access, we’ve been trying to figure out the best way to link the built environment and nature together. As far back as Elizabethan England the balance between indoor/outdoor life challenged designers and craftsmen alike. In fact, one such example—the renowned country house of Hardwick Hall—was revolutionary at the time because of its innovative use of large windows. Since glass was considered an audacious display of wealth then, the estate became known as “Hardwick Hall—more glass than wall” to emphasize its daring design.

Even today, the desire to achieve a seamless transition from one world to another is as strong as ever. Fortunately, advances in window- and door-construction have made it possible to install wide expanses with operable windows. These heavy glass panels, also known as retractable or folding doors, can be stacked back-to-back, slid, or pivot (much like accordions), creating dramatic openings with unobstructed views. The entire exterior wall may disappear when these transparent…

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