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Windows Around The World


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Nicolle Elkins



The world is a vast and diverse place, filled with rich cultures, stunning landscapes, and unique architectural marvels. One of the often overlooked yet fascinating aspects of global architecture is the diverse design and style of windows found around the world. From the grand and ornate windows of Europe to the minimalist and elegant designs of Asia, each region has its own distinct window aesthetic that reflects its cultural heritage.


Journey with us as we explore the enchanting window designs found in different continents across the globe. From the charming casement windows of Europe to the latticed windows of Africa, we will discover how window styles not only serve functional purposes but also play a significant role in the overall design and character of a building.


Through this exploration, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into creating windows in different corners of the world. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or simply curious about the world’s cultural diversity, this journey will take you to new heights of understanding and admiration for the beauty found in the most unexpected of places.


So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready to embark on a visual journey showcasing the captivating window designs that grace our world. From ancient traditions to modern innovations, we invite you to discover the myriad of styles and techniques that make windows not just functional openings, but also works of art.


Window Designs in Europe

Europe is known for its rich history, grand architecture, and exquisite craftsmanship. These elements are beautifully reflected in the window designs found across the continent. From Gothic cathedrals to Renaissance palaces, Europe boasts a wide variety of window styles that have stood the test of time.


One iconic window design that originated in Europe is the casement window. These windows are hinged on one side and swing open horizontally like doors. Casement windows were prevalent during the medieval and Renaissance periods and can still be seen in many European buildings today. The elaborate ironwork and intricate detailing on the casement windows of castles and manor houses add a touch of elegance and sophistication to the overall architecture.


In contrast to the ornate casement windows, the Scandinavian countries offer a more minimalist approach. Scandinavian windows are characterized by their clean lines, large panes of glass, and sheer simplicity. The focus is on maximizing natural light and embracing the surrounding nature. The simplicity of these designs creates a sense of harmony and tranquility, making Scandinavian windows popular in contemporary architecture.


Another notable window design in Europe is the bay window. This protruding window structure adds depth and dimension to a building’s facade. Bay windows were widely used during the Victorian era and are often associated with traditional British architecture. With their curved glass panels and decorative trim, bay windows not only provide additional interior space but also create a striking visual feature.


Lastly, stained glass windows are a hallmark of European ecclesiastical architecture. These intricate works of art depict religious scenes and are often found in churches, cathedrals, and chapels. Stained glass windows not only serve as a source of light but also convey stories and inspire awe. The vibrant colors and meticulous details of these windows create a mesmerizing effect, adding a spiritual aura to the sacred spaces they adorn.


Overall, the window designs in Europe reflect the continent’s rich history, diverse architectural styles, and artistic sensibilities. Whether it’s the grandeur of casement windows, the simplicity of Scandinavian designs, the elegance of bay windows, or the awe-inspiring beauty of stained glass, European windows never fail to capture the imagination and leave a lasting impression.


Window Styles in Asia

Asia is a continent that is rich in cultural diversity and architectural wonders. The window designs in Asia vary greatly, showcasing the unique traditions, craftsmanship, and influences of each region. From the intricate lattice windows of the Middle East to the sliding paper screens of Japan, these windows are not only functional but also reflect the aesthetics and customs of their respective cultures.


One of the most distinctive window styles in Asia is the jali or lattice window. Found predominantly in Middle Eastern and South Asian architecture, these windows are adorned with intricate patterns and geometric designs. The latticework allows for ventilation while creating beautiful playfully patterned shadows that add a sense of mystique and privacy to the interior spaces.


In Japan, traditional window design is characterized by the delicate and graceful sliding paper screens known as shoji. These translucent screens are made from thin rice paper and wooden frames. They allow diffused natural light to enter a room while maintaining privacy. The simplicity and elegance of shoji screens have inspired contemporary architects and designers around the world.


In contrast, Chinese window designs often feature bold and intricate wooden carvings. The windows are adorned with ornate patterns and symbols that hold cultural significance. In traditional Chinese architecture, windows are considered auspicious and believed to bring good luck. The rich symbolism and meticulous craftsmanship make Chinese windows a true feast for the eyes.


Southeast Asia showcases a unique blend of influences from various cultures. In countries like Indonesia and Thailand, windows often feature decorative shutters and vibrant colors. The shutters not only provide protection from the tropical climate but also add a touch of charm and character to the architecture.


In India, the windows of havelis and palaces are a sight to behold. Elaborate stone carvings, intricate jharokhas, and detailed filigree work create stunning architectural masterpieces. These windows serve as a visual representation of the opulence and grandeur of Indian culture.


Asia’s window styles encompass a wide range of designs, materials, and techniques. Whether it’s the intricate lattices of the Middle East, the elegant simplicity of Japanese shoji screens, the ornate carvings of China, the colorful shutters of Southeast Asia, or the opulent windows of India, each style has its own story to tell. These windows not only provide light and ventilation but also serve as a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship that is deeply ingrained in Asia’s architectural heritage.


Windows in North America

North America is a melting pot of architectural styles, influenced by various cultures and historical periods. The window designs found across the continent reflect this diversity, showcasing a blend of traditional and contemporary elements. From the iconic double-hung windows of colonial homes to the sleek and modern glass walls of contemporary architecture, North America offers a wide range of window styles.


One of the most prevalent window designs in North America is the double-hung window. This style first emerged during the colonial period and remains popular in traditional American architecture. Double-hung windows consist of two vertically sliding sashes, allowing for both top and bottom ventilation. The simplicity and functionality of these windows have made them a staple in many homes throughout North America.


In the southwestern region of the United States, adobe-style architecture features small, thick-framed windows with deep-set sills and decorative wooden shutters. These windows help to keep the interiors cool in the desert heat while adding a touch of rustic charm to the adobe structures.


With the rise of modern architecture, North America has also embraced innovative window designs. Floor-to-ceiling windows, also known as glass walls, have gained popularity in contemporary homes and buildings. These expansive windows allow for maximum natural light, provide stunning views, and seamlessly connect indoor and outdoor spaces. The sleek and minimalistic design of glass walls adds a touch of modernity to the architecture.


Another notable window style in North America is the bay window. Commonly seen in Victorian and Edwardian homes, bay windows visually extend the living space and provide a sense of grandeur. They consist of three windows arranged at angles, allowing for panoramic views and the ingress of ample natural light.


In Canada, where the climate can be harsh, energy-efficient windows have gained prominence. These windows are designed with multiple panes and low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings to reduce heat loss and increase insulation. Energy-efficient windows not only help to keep homes comfortable but also contribute to reducing energy consumption and carbon footprint.


From classic and traditional to contemporary and energy-efficient, the window designs in North America are as diverse as the continent itself. These windows not only enhance the architectural aesthetics but also provide functionality, energy efficiency, and a seamless connection to the surrounding environment. Whether one is exploring the historic neighborhoods of New England or the modern skyscrapers of New York City, the windows of North America offer a glimpse into the rich architectural heritage of the region.


Traditional Windows in Africa

Africa is a continent of diverse cultures and rich traditions. The window designs found throughout Africa are a testament to the continent’s architectural ingenuity and cultural heritage. From the mud-brick buildings of West Africa to the stone structures of North Africa, traditional African windows exhibit unique characteristics that reflect the local climate, craftsmanship, and cultural practices.


In many parts of Africa, mud-brick architecture is prevalent due to the abundance of clay soil. Traditional African windows in mud-brick structures are often small and narrow, with small openings and deep recesses. These design elements help to regulate the flow of air, keeping the interiors cool in the scorching heat. The windows may be adorned with decorative patterns or lattice screens made from wood or woven materials, adding a touch of artistic flair to the otherwise humble dwellings.


In North Africa, specifically in Morocco, traditional windows known as mashrabiya are a common feature. These windows consist of intricately carved wooden screens that provide privacy while allowing airflow and diffused light to enter the interiors. The precise geometric patterns and delicate craftsmanship of mashrabiya windows make them a stunning visual element in Moroccan architecture.


In regions where stone has been traditionally used for construction, such as Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and Mali, windows are often smaller and deeply set within thick walls. These small openings help to insulate the interior spaces from the arid or hot climate, while also offering protection and privacy. Decorative elements, such as small carved details or colored glass inserts, may adorn these traditional stone windows, adding a touch of cultural symbolism and artistic expression.


The round and oval-shaped windows found in traditional African huts are also worth mentioning. These windows, known as “bull’s eye” windows, are typically made from a combination of sticks, thatch, and animal hides. They may be small in size but provide ventilation and allow natural light to enter the dwellings. The circular shape of these windows is not only functional but also carries symbolic significance in African architecture and represents unity and interconnectedness.


Traditional African windows are a reflection of the continent’s rich cultural heritage and the harmonious integration of architecture with nature. These windows showcase the resourcefulness of indigenous communities in adapting to local environments, climate, and available materials. They are not just openings for ventilation and light but rather pieces of art that celebrate the unique traditions and craftsmanship of Africa’s diverse cultures.


Window Trends in South America

South America is a continent that embraces a wide array of architectural styles, influenced by the region’s rich history and cultural diversity. The window trends in South America reflect this mix of traditions, from the colonial architectural heritage to the modern and innovative designs of contemporary times. Let’s explore some of the prominent window trends across South America.


One notable window trend in South America is the incorporation of wrought iron detailing. This can be seen in countries like Argentina and Uruguay, where wrought iron balconies and window grilles are a common feature. These intricate ironwork designs not only add a touch of elegance and charm to buildings but also provide security and protection without compromising the aesthetic appeal.


In Brazil and other countries with a tropical climate, large windows that open up to outdoor spaces have become increasingly popular. These windows, often made of floor-to-ceiling glass, create a seamless transition between the interior and exterior living areas. They allow a flood of natural light, provide stunning views, and enhance the sense of connection to the surrounding nature.


In historic cities like Cartagena in Colombia and Cusco in Peru, balcony windows are a distinctive feature. Balcony windows, also known as Juliet balconies, are small ornamental balconies that protrude from the façades of buildings. They add a touch of charm to the architecture and provide a space for residents to enjoy the views and fresh air while maintaining a connection to the street below.


The use of vibrant colors in window frames and shutters is also prevalent in South America. In places like Havana, Cuba, and Valparaiso, Chile, colorful window frames and shutters brighten up the streets and add a sense of vibrancy and cheerfulness to the architecture. These pops of color not only reflect the lively spirit of the culture but also create a captivating visual spectacle.


South America is also witnessing a rise in eco-friendly and sustainable window designs. Passive solar windows, for example, are gaining popularity. These windows are designed to maximize solar energy utilization and minimize heat loss, thereby reducing energy consumption. Additionally, the use of recycled materials for window frames and the installation of double or triple glazing are becoming more common, contributing to energy efficiency and environmental consciousness.


From wrought iron detailing and seamless indoor-outdoor connections to balcony windows and vibrant colors, the window trends in South America showcase a blend of traditional elements with modern innovations. These windows not only enhance the architectural aesthetics but also address the specific needs and climate considerations of the region. As South America continues to evolve, so too will its window trends, offering new opportunities for architectural expression and sustainability.


Unique Window Features in Australia

Australia, known for its diverse landscapes and unique architectural style, is home to some distinctive window features that are both functional and visually striking. From the iconic sashless windows to the innovative louvre windows, Australian window designs showcase creativity, adaptability, and a deep appreciation for the country’s natural beauty.


Sashless windows are a notable feature in Australian architecture. Unlike traditional sliding or hinged windows, sashless windows consist of two fixed panes of glass that slide past each other vertically. This design allows for unobstructed views and maximum ventilation without the need for a conventional frame. Sashless windows offer a sleek and seamless look that complements modern architectural styles, while also providing excellent energy efficiency.


Louvre windows are another popular feature in Australian homes and buildings. These windows consist of multiple horizontal blades that pivot, allowing for precise control over the airflow and the amount of light entering a room. Louvre windows are particularly well-suited for Australia’s climate, as they can be adjusted to leverage natural breezes and provide effective ventilation. Their modern and streamlined design adds a touch of sophistication to any architectural style.


In coastal areas, where protection from harsh weather conditions is essential, Australian architecture often incorporates windows with robust frames and storm-proof features. These windows are designed to withstand strong winds and flying debris during cyclones and provide peace of mind to residents in hurricane-prone regions.


The use of bi-fold windows is also a distinctive feature in Australian architecture, especially in areas with a focus on indoor-outdoor living and entertaining. Bi-fold windows consist of multiple panels that fold away neatly, allowing for a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. This design optimizes natural light, ventilation, and creates a sense of openness, making it a popular choice for alfresco dining areas and entertainment spaces.


Another unique Australian window feature is the clerestory window. These high and narrow windows are positioned near the roofline, allowing natural light to enter a space while maintaining privacy. Clerestory windows are often used in Australian homes to maximize natural illumination in common areas such as living rooms and hallways. They create a sense of openness and airiness, enhancing the overall ambiance of the interior.


Australia’s vast and diverse landscape influences the design of windows in many architectural styles. For example, in desert regions, homes often incorporate high-set windows to capture cool breezes and provide cross-ventilation. In contrast, in mountainous regions, large picture windows capture breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty.


The unique window features found in Australia not only reflect the country’s climate considerations and architectural trends but also contribute to the comfortable and sustainable living experience. These windows embrace innovation, efficiency, and a deep connection to the natural environment, showcasing the Australian approach to design and their harmonious integration with the surrounding landscapes.



Windows are more than just functional openings in buildings. They are a reflection of regional traditions, cultural aesthetics, and architectural trends. From the grandeur of European casement windows to the simplicity of Scandinavian designs, the intricate lattice work of Middle Eastern windows to the innovative designs of Australian architecture, windows around the world offer a glimpse into the diverse beauty of our global heritage.


As we have explored the window designs in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and South America, it is evident that each region has its unique style and influences. Whether it’s the historical charm of European architecture, the intricate craftsmanship of Asian designs, the pioneering spirit of North American innovation, the traditional elegance of African windows, or the sustainable trends in South America, every window tells a story about its cultural roots and the values embedded in its design.


These windows not only enhance the aesthetics of buildings but also play an essential role in creating a comfortable and sustainable living environment. They provide ventilation, natural light, and a connection to the outside world. They can serve as artistic focal points and offer glimpses into the surrounding landscapes. Windows have the power to transform spaces, inspire emotions, and contribute to the overall well-being of those who reside within.


As we continue to cherish and appreciate the architectural wonders around us, let us remember the significance of windows. They are the portals through which we view the world, where light dances and shadows play, and where cultures and traditions are beautifully framed. So, the next time you glance out of a window, take a moment to observe its design, appreciate its craftsmanship, and marvel at the expanse of possibilities that lie beyond.