September 20, 2008 Charles Goodman, River Park Washington DC

The World of Windows

Alexa Yablonski has an interesting piece in the Post‘s Fall Home & Design Issue about how windows were incorporated into various architectural styles over the years, culminating with the liberal use of glass in modern architecture as the price of the material declined. “[I]t wasn’t until the 20th century that the ribbon window (a series of horizontal windows separated only by mullions) and the glass curtain wall (essentially, one large window that envelopes an entire house or skyscraper) became possible — and went on to become hallmarks of modern architecture,” Yablonski writes.

Yablonski highlights Charles Goodman’s aluminum-and-glass barrel-vault townhomes in River Park as an example of how glass was used in local mid-century architecture. Although she quotes one resident as saying the unique vault design has some drawbacks. “It’s hot as hell. And bright. You have to get up early — there’s no choice,” says Max Robitaille. Although shades fall on the wrong side of the modernist manifesto, how about installing blackout shades to fit the space if you want to sleep in later? What do River Park residents have to say about that?