ribbon window

Elements of Architecture: 7 Contemporary Ribbon Window Designs

Le Corbusier’s ribbon window has been reimagined for the 21st century.

Sophia Choi Sophia Choi

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The “ribbon window” was a term first coined by Le Corbusier in the 1920s in his Five Points of a New Architecture. By his definition, ribbon windows are horizontal cuts across entire façades allowing interior spaces to be equally lit. Not only do these windows allow rooms to be flooded with light, but they also create unencumbered views of the surrounding environment.

Today, ribbon windows have become fairly common features in contemporary buildings. While traditional Corbusian windows are still frequently employed, new forms and construction techniques in architecture have spawned divergent styles. Growing experimentation with shapes, sizes and orientation of buildings have led to different kinds of “neo-Corbusian” ribbon windows that wrap around the façade in unexpected ways.

The following seven projects encompass today’s wide variety of ribbon window styles:

House Like Garden by Marc Koehler Architects, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The front façade is textured with staggered brickwork that provides a nice contrast to the window. The angled shape and path of the window seem to divide the volume into two disparate volumes.

Financial and Service Centre by Stephan Braunfels Architekten, Gifhorn, Germany

This vertical ribbon window follows the shape of the pitched roof building, creating an interesting view that is both public and private.

ribbon window

Black Box by UTAA, Seongnam-si, South Korea

An extremely thin ribbon window cuts across the heavy volume of the façade and continues onto the entryway, giving users privacy.

House in Nakameguro by Yoritaka Hayashi Architects, Tokyo, Japan

A continuous ribbon window around the perimeter of two façades illuminates every corner of the interior.

Ribbon Tectonics by Prow Architects Pte Ltd, Singapore

Ribbon fenestrations weave around the three tiers of the building façade to create unique apertures for different views of the exterior.

ORANGE by N Maeda Atelier, Tokyo, Japan

This wavy window follows the shape of the adjacent stairwell on the interior as well as the volumetric interior circulation.

Toda House by Office of Kimihiko Okada, Hiroshima, Japan

This Japanese home truly embodies the spirit of Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye except with curvilinear forms. Ribbon windows on both walls of a winding corridor lets light into all parts of the house.

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