PRAIRIE HOUSES TO PRAIRIE WINDOWS
Prairie-style windows evolved out of a style of architecture that celebrated the broad, flat expanses of prairie land in the American Midwest: the Prairie School. This style of architecture emerged in the early 1900’s as a uniquely American aesthetic. Prairie architecture emphasizes simplicity of design, strong horizontal geometry, and open interior spaces. The Prairie style fell out of favor by 1920, but some of its distinctive traits endure to the modern day. One such trait is the prairie window. Instead of the typical all-over grid design, prairie windows feature a large expanse of uninterrupted glass at the center with grilles placed around the perimeter of the window - which is why they are sometimes called “perimeter windows.” While they arose out of a very distinctive and sadly short-lived design movement, prairie windows remain a versatile and stylish architectural statement.
Find more inspiration in our Idea Gallery.
Prairie windows are – unsurprisingly – most at home with buildings that take cues from Prairie architecture. When designing for a house with true Prairie architecture, the windows should always be wider than they are tall. Single- and double-hung windows should utilize the prairie grille only in the upper sash. Lower sashes should be left unadorned.
With a surge of interest in Craftsman and Bungalow style homes, prairie windows are especially popular in new construction. Modern Craftsman and Bungalow architecture has adopted many traits of the Prairie style. The roots of both design schools developed and flourished concurrently with Prairie architecture. Prairie windows are a perfect match for the low-pitched roofs, square columns, and overhanging eaves of these fusion styles.
We don’t recommend prairie windows for Old World architecture, if only to prevent Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright from spinning in his grave; the Prairie style is a direct counterpoint to heavily ornamented European aesthetics that dominated the architectural landscape in the late 1800’s.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW
At the core of Prairie design philosophy is the idea that a building should reflect and look back at the land on which it’s built. Prairie-style windows offer unobstructed views and are most impactful when multiple windows are mulled together to create a panoramic effect. If you’re building on a property with a beautiful landscape, prairie windows are an excellent way to show it off.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
- Traditional American styles