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History of Window Architecture - Gilkey Windows in Lexington, KY

  • By Michel Bayard
  • 19 Nov, 2015
The history of window architecture is really quite interesting. Windows have been around for centuries. In fact, as soon as buildings and houses were fixed and enclosed, windows were used. Often these openings in the wall were filled with stone, wood or iron grates. Glass, mica or paper was also used. Here is a simple timeline of how windows have progressed through the ages.

Ancient Civilizations

Based on Egyptian drawings, windows were used and covered with matting. Assyrian cultures also used windows however they were often wide expanses subdivided by columns. During Greek culture, houses and buildings were framed around a central courtyard and windows were rarely used because there were plenty of doorways leading out to the center court. Glazed windows appeared during Roman Imperial Times. They were often filled with marble, mica or shell. Ancient bathhouses probably had large glazed windows framed in bronze. In some ancient ruins like Pompeii, fragments of glass have been found in bronze frames suggesting their windows were made of glass and bronze too.

Ancient Churches and Cathedrals

Windows of the early Christian and Byzantine churches had many windows of pierced marble with glass panes. Turkish Cathedrals dating back to the 6th century show these glazed windows. Early Islamic mosques show the same window architecture but they used cement instead of marble. Eventually ornate colored glass replaced the clear panes.

Domestic Windows

Islamic builders in Egypt and Syria started using unglazed windows in domestic buildings. They were often intricately designed with wood grillwork. During the 12th and 13th century Western and Northern Europe introduced stained glass made with lead grillwork. Gothic windows depicted pictures and artwork. Stone mullions (vertical supports) were used to allow for even larger openings.

Medieval Europe

During Medieval times, arch windows became popular although domestic windows were often square and covered with shutters, lattices or grilles. As glass became more available, a fixed sash was introduced. The history of window architecture suggests this is the time wide spread use of glazed windows became apparent. Domestic windows and many other buildings used windows divided by mullions and transoms at the top of the opening and closed shutters at the bottom. By the 15th century the entire window was a hinged sash.

Renaissance Windows

In Italy and France windows developed to standard size and usually appeared with a single transom and single million forming a cross over the glass. They were often very decorative and had fancy cornices or columns surrounding them. During the late Renaissance, the French produced a large casement window. A casement window opens up to one side. The French window is still used today. During the 17th century vertical sliding sash windows and double hung windows were introduced. They became the standard during the 17th and 18th century in both Europe and the United States.

Modern Window Architecture

Metal frames replaced wooden frames and are most always used in modern window architecture today. With the use of metal frames came the use of greater window openings in both domestic and commercial buildings. Windows are often wall-to-wall and often don’t open at all. Window thickness and advanced technology led to safety glass and skyscrapers made entirely of glass windows. As time went on energy savings and conservation led to tinted windows. Modern windows are made with double and triple thickness of glass; the air between acting as insulation. Modern windows can be single sash (meaning only one side slides) or double sash (meaning both top and bottom slide). Many modern windows are designed to tilt in for easy cleaning. 

Gilkey Blog

By Elizabeth Burton 13 Jun, 2017
Is it time to freshen up the outside of your home? If so, there’s no better place to start than where your visitors do – at the front door . Make your entryway welcoming, energy-efficient, and safe while maintaining your sense of style. Gilkey Windows and Exterior Solutions of Central Kentucky carries an extensive variety of entryway doors.

A Front Door That Meets Your Needs

Much like windows , doors to the outside can be a major drain on energy efficiency. When selecting a new front door, make sure it is the right size and have it professionally installed to ensure a proper fit to avoid air leaks.

If you have an east- or west-facing front door, take into account the large amount of sunlight it will have to tolerate each day. Steel doors easily withstand the heat and rarely require maintenance. If you don’t have a roof over your front door, consider adding a small roof or awning to cut down on the sun exposure. An added bonus: it will add curb appeal and protect visitors from the elements.

For a front door to be the right fit, it needs to fit within your budget. With the numerous materials used for doors, finding one that’s affordable for you is not hard to do. While solid wood doors tend to be the most expensive, you don’t have to forgo the wood look altogether. Fiberglass doors mimic the look of real wood but aren’t as costly. But be sure you don’t go so cheap that you are sacrificing usefulness, energy-efficiency, or safety.

A Front Door That Fits Your Style

Your front entryway is the first thing people see, even before they come into your home. Make it inviting with a door that fits the style of your home and you.

Front doors can stand alone, be doubled up for a grand entrance, or be flanked by one or two sidelights. Sidelights increase the natural light inside a home, which can be good if you want more light, or bad if you don’t want the extra heat and sunlight in the summer. Adding a new door in a different color or material can give your entryway a new look for less of an investment than changing shutters or siding. It’s also the perfect place to add a wreath or other decoration that can be changed according to the seasons.

For a cohesive look, coordinate your new door and the other items surrounding it. Match the metal finishes of your new door’s hardware with your porch lighting or house numbers if mounted nearby. If you have the space, continue the welcoming look on your front porch with plants and inviting furniture.

Gilkey Windows and Exterior Solutions in Lexington, Kentucky carries top-quality doors and sidelights from Gilkey, Marvin, and ProVia. They are available with or without glass inserts and come in so many styles there is sure to be more than one to fit your needs. If you’re not sure what you want, our expert project planners are here to help. Stop by our showroom or contact us to schedule an in-home consultation.


By Brian Dean 03 May, 2017

Your front door is often the first thing visitors notice about your home, and is quite literally how they are going to enter your home. Because of this, putting effort into the design and style of your front door is equivalent to making a good first impression on potential visitors. This can manifest in a number of ways, from the size, shape, material, color, and windows of your door, but there is one small detail you may have forgotten: how people are going to signal that they’re at your door. Most contemporary homes have doorbells, and so you may not have thought about alternatives, but the home exterior experts at Gilkey Windows of Central Kentucky are here to help you figure out the best way to deck out your front door.

By James Robert Cook 10 Apr, 2017
Your home’s windows are some of the most important features of its architecture. After all, windows are how natural light gets into your home, and so they can have a tangible impact on how your home feels to both you and your family as well as visitors. But, because windows allow natural light into your home, they can also cause some problems as well. Because of this, you will want to make sure that you are controlling the light in your home with window treatments, rather than just leaving them totally bare. If you aren’t sure what the best way is to dress the windows in your home, here are some tips from the window experts at Gilkey Windows of Central Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.
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