The windows for religious buildings require a very complex design compared to common buildings. They combine the functional needs of a highly frequented location, with aesthetic expectations capable of creating a special atmosphere within churches, cathedrals, abbeys, monasteries, etc.
The windows of religious buildings have 3 functions:
Let’s understand together how to achieve this by choosing the most suitable windows and doors and studying customized solutions.
The needs of religious building differ from the ones of other buildings, so much so that the design or restoration works are particularly complex.
Architects, designers, professionals in the door and window sector must take into account the function of the building and how it can fulfill this function through architecture, fixtures and furnishings.
The religious building is based on the concept of divine worship in a specially designed space. It welcomes and manifests the divine essence, so that spirituality is expressed by matter and mood.
In this process by which the religious building becomes an iconic symbol of God, a lot of design care is required, in which the windows have a special function.
Their choice is closely related to the architectural style of the building and the need to light up some areas and leave others in dim light.
Furthermore, since all religious buildings are intended to accommodate many people, maximum safety and agile transit must be guaranteed, in compliance with the most current attention.
Although the presence of emergency exits in places of worship is only necessary if they are near nuclear power plants, it is always appropriate to evaluate their usefulness. In the case of highly visited religious buildings, it may be appropriate to provide an appropriate number of emergency exits with panic bars.
Finally, as far as churches, sanctuaries, abbeys, etc. are subject to frequent opening and closing of entrance doors, it is necessary to pay attention to the internal thermal conditions. The growing awareness in the energy sector and the need to save on consumption in the bill pushes more and more to the choice of thermally broken windows also for religious buildings. In this way it is possible to maintain comfortable conditions inside by making the most of the insulating power of the windows.
There are different types of windows to be used in religious buildings.
First of all we must make a distinction on the type of intervention:
In the case of new buildings, the intervention opens up to a wide range of solutions that are most likely modern. Architects and experts in the fixtures sector create doors and windows with a certain stylistic freedom, always in compliance with thermal requirements and, in many cases, also with safety equipment.
In case of restoration works the situation is much more complex. In most cases it must be done as in the recovery of a historic building.
Many factors come into play and incredibly limit the freedom of planners. The Landmark Committee examines every detail, so that the works performed are perfectly consistent with the stylistic needs of the original and the context in which it is placed.
In this case we start from the assessment of the state of conservation of the religious building to understand what interventions have to be done and estimate their feasibility through the most appropriate solution.
Then it is essential to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. Light control, thermal and acoustic insulation, energy efficiency and safety are today essential characteristics for a religious building. The geopolitical context can give greater or lesser importance to some prerogatives. For example, extreme environmental conditions can have a decisive impact on the type of window or door – or places of worship that house valuable works must be equipped with safety windows to protect the works of art.
The extreme need to combine aesthetics and functionality leads to the constant search for customized solutions, in which the Capoferri design office has extensive experience in national and international context.
Just to give some examples to show how customization is the solution to obtain an excellent result both in new constructions and in restoration works:
We think of the superb church dedicated to Padre Pio, designed by Renzo Piano, a space full of modernity and spirituality. A place deliberately interpreted to accommodate a heterogeneous multitude of visitors, people(s) and cultures. The church is distinguished by the large curved roof that completely covers the building, descending almost to the ground. Capoferri was entrusted with the design and construction of the 24 emergency doors that surround the basilica. They integrate with the curved roof and show structural and aesthetic continuity, emphasized by the same copper finishing. Inside they have plastering just like the internal walls, creating a discreet and homogeneous overall view.
But the great customization work that makes these emergency doors absolutely different is their opening system. Since the roof descends almost to the ground, it has been necessary to prevent people from being injured against its edges in the event of an emergency exit. Therefore the doors are built using a lifting pivot opening system: The door retracts during opening, avoiding protrusions. Each door is counterweighted and can be opened either manually or with a motorized system. The high level of engineering disappears completely from the view of the visitor, who can hardly identify the doors, whose functional mechanisms are absolutely invisible.
The small church of Auerberg is another excellent example of the Capoferri windows for religious buildings. A true example of poetry that takes inspiration from the wonderful sculptural works of architect Michele De Lucchi. Capoferri was asked to translate the perfection of De Lucchi’s small sculptural work into large dimensions, making it a place of meditation and prayer.
Capoferri was responsible for the design and development of the wooden and bronze roof, bronze doors and windows protected by precious antique oak sunshades and the special entrance hall with solid bronze vestibule: a heterogeneous set of materials for harmonious perfection.
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