A Pattern Language: Mild From Two Sides

From the classic 1977 publication A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander and others offer more than 250 “patterns” learned from conventional structure and research to the enhancement of towns, buildings, and structure. The still-influential publication gives architects and laypeople instructions for constructing better homes.

Pattern amount 159 — Light on Two Sides of Every Room — purports that the success or failure of a space is determined by the arrangement of daylight. According to observations of individuals in structures with rooms of varied lighting requirements, the writers conclude that light on two sides generates a better social setting.

Over three decades later we could extend their argument to incorporate the advantages toward green construction, especially at the reduced need for artificial light and the capacity to naturally ventilate a room.

Regardless of the reasoning, supplying windows on two sides isn’t always simple or even possible. Think of infill homes in cities or apartment buildings at high rises. Additionally, it can be more costly to execute a house with ins and outs versus a simple rectangular plan.

An ideal, in my head, would be a L-shaped plan which defines and outdoor space and is laid out with chambers shallow enough to possess flow-through ventilation. The next illustrations run the gamut with different spaces, styles and lighting effects which may be said to follow Pattern 159.

Ian Engberg

A narrow floor plan — one room deep — would be the best method to find light from two sides. Glazing on other sides brings light from two directions, tracking the sun as it moves across the sky. It also is ideal for ventilating a room. This case is extreme, with full-height glazing and operable glass partitions. The light is so even that the dining room feels like it’s outside.

Griffin Enright Architects

A different way to bring light in from two directions is by opening the living spaces into a big room, as in this case. A look inside …

Griffin Enright Architects

… reveals that light also comes from behind the kitchen a third wall, in left — and a skylight at the middle of the massive living area. All the light sources unite to make an equally lit inside where relaxation can be located in various areas, not only beside the windows.

Contemporary house architects

Within this double-height distance from a pool, light comes in both low and higher — via sliding glass walls and windows above on both sides, and via glass doors and clerestories on the other side. An individual can nearly feel the breeze going through the space.

Ziger/Snead Architects

This lengthy, bar house features sliding glass doors on both sides which bring fresh air into the different spaces, like light enters your house. An additional benefit is the perspective of the river (to the left of the photo) which can be found to each room in the house.


Not all homes with light on opposite sides require be modern glass boxes. This fairly rustic house features rooms with sliding doors opening to the yard, opposite operable windows.

With light on two sides of the dining room table, individuals are illuminated, and you can “read in detail the moment expressions which flash across people’s faces,” as Alexander and company assert.

Mark Henninger

As mentioned, it’s not always feasible to incorporate light on two sides of a space, especially light on opposite sides. In high-rise city living that is 1 reason corner units are so prized. The chambers, normally living rooms, which occupy the corner become the hottest. Light is a strong attractor, but so is the wide view afforded from the perpendicular windows.

DNM Architect

Smaller windows may achieve exactly the same attraction. The corner of the room is easily the most powerful attraction. One’s eyes and body — proceed towards the corner and the light.

Webber + Studio, Architects

There’s no hard and fast rule about the amount of a glass below the size of the space, though many of the examples featured here err on the side of too much light, combined with shades or other methods for controlling light. This small seating area features lots of windows and light, even just a third origin in the clerestory above the wall.

This photograph shows that even inserting a comparatively small window (at the middle of the photograph) reinforces a distance. Combined with the built-in seat, it produces a nice seating area which anchors the far end of the living space.

Hammer Architects

This house office features windows which wrap a corner, creating a pleasing surroundings but also rather a strong diversion.

Mahoney Architects & Interiors

Dining rooms are best for corners with windows on two sides. With today’s open plans, that usually means the kitchen additionally receives more sunlight. In this case the kitchen/dining place is adjacent to a small yard with some quite nice landscaping.

It’s important to think about the way the two-sided windows relate to the outside spaces, be they part of somebody’s house or remote vistas.

Redbud Custom Homes

Here’s a small dining room off the kitchen in which built-in seats is tucked under the two windows. The light and the seating anchor the distance and draw you to the corner. It’s simple to see the table being a website not just for meals, but also reading the paper, doing homework and other activities.

Webber + Studio, Architects

Bathrooms do not need to be excluded. At precisely the exact same house as the seating area with light on three sides, the bathroom has the tub right beneath the corner windows. Oh, to soak in this tub!


Another bathroom features two windows moved in the corner as a shower occupies that place. A bathroom is one of the best areas for such abundant light; it will help us wake up, also it provides us a much better idea of what we will look like once we get outside.

Gorgeous, Sudden Corner Windows
Design Details: Windows This Frame a View
Sliding Walls Bring the Outside In
Wood Slats for Pattern, Scale and Light
Translucent Surfaces: Canvases for Lighting and Shadow
The Case for Interior Courtyards

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