From Dan on September 22nd, 2009 in Window Replacement
The home of the future can’t exist without the window of the future. Windows are far too important an element to be left behind as home design advances. Granted, today’s futuristic homes are often constructed with some very outer-space window designs, especially in shape and curvature. Yet there will be more to the window of the future than curved glass.
Check out the latest in window technology and design:
#1 – Our tour of the future begins in Austria, where architectural firm Baumschlager Eberle designed and built quite the futuristic meeting place for boaters in the port city of Fussach. The building is simple and rectangular in shape. The entire envelope is made from glazed panels, which allow light in and out, accentuating the oddly shaped “structural concrete elements” on the inside of the windows. During the day, the light shining through the random concrete pillars and reflecting off of the water provide a natural show. At night, the glazing and the ceiling inside light up, creating a surreal and unmistakable glow around the port.
#2 – Don’t set your Window Phone against a window… you may never find it. This sleek and interesting mobile phone comes with all kinds of features, the most incredible being its weather update function. The phone changes its display to reflect the weather (it looks wet when it’s raining, frozen when snowing, etc.) and responds to a blow of your breath so you can write with your fingers on the glass… just like a window.
#3 – It sounds like the name of a certain famous, little blue and white droid, but it looks like a transparent Mentos mint. The R129 from architect Werner Sobek is all about high-tech windows and futuristic design. The “windows” are actually the building’s envelope, somewhat similar to Nordwesthaus in concept, but far from it in shape. The structural frame consists of carbon box sections. That light, transparent skin is a plastic material, but an electro-chromatic foil has been added so that the translucence of the house can be controlled electrically. In other words, the entirety of the building can be darkened from clear to opaque, depending on the whim of the owner.
#4 – MIT’s solar concentrators aren’t meant to be just windows, but that’s part of the innovation’s big potential. First announced in 2006, the work is ongoing. These solar concentrators are great for windows because of their unique way of collecting solar energy: a special light-absorbing dye is applied between two panes of glass. The dye absorbs photons through the glass and holds them there. This trapped energy is naturally guided to the sides of the panel (or window), where strips of PV solar cells are waiting to convert it into electricity. Researchers claim that these solar cells are 40 times more effective than traditional designs. Because the design is also simple (actually an improvement on an abandoned concept from the 1970s), they believe they can cut the price of solar electricity in half within a few years. Here is lead researcher Mark Baldo on video discussing the solar concentrator.
#5 – Believe it or not, these are probably the least visibly high-tech of the designs on the list. There is nothing mechanical, computerized or otherwise electronic about Hi-Tech Energy Windows. They are not shaped like basketballs, nor do they talk or display the weather. What they do offer is a patent-pending, triple-glazed slider window (and patio door). A full 1/2″ of air space within the triple layers of glazing provides superior energy efficiency and noise reduction. It may not be flashy, but a little more energy efficiency goes along way in the home of the near future… Plus, they’re called Hi-Tech.