Owners of modern homes delight in patterns. They admire designs that repeat again and again, such as plaids, stripes, and grids. The patterns can produce a variety of effects, from calming to unnerving. One popular modern pattern is the grid, m which each unit is a rectangle of identical size. This pattern is supremely restful, so easy on the eyes that it can practically disappear even while it generates a calming sense of order and control.
Modern windows are often divided into grids of glass through the use of muntins. Long ago muntins were a necessity, since the only sizes in which glass could be produced at reasonable cost were tiny. For decades, however, manufacturers have been able to produce glass in large dimensions, so muntins have to a great extent become something chosen for aesthetic reasons rather than an essential element of window construction. In fact, it’s now less costly to make a single pane measuring, say, four feet square than to assemble many small panes into a window of that size. Modern architects frequently divide windows into patterns composed of smaller pieces of glass because they want to layer a pattern over the openings in the wall. The muntins may be nothing but a decorative applique.
Window grid patterns do triple duty. First, they add to a house’s walls a proportioning feature that can be a pleasing, recurring motif. The house may have windows that are all in similar sizes and shapes, or it may have a varied assortment of windows, but all divided into panes of one size. Another alternative is for the house to have a few unusually sized or shaped windows, serving as eye-catching features. Second, the grid patterns add a design feature to a room’s interior. A large window meticulously divided into a grid of glass can be a focal point, just as a stained glass window would be. Finally, a grid of glass can enhance enjoyment of a landscape by splitting the view into a series of framed scenes. And when no one piece of glass could be built large enough to take in the whole view, a. grid of windows can capture the panorama.