After posting an ideabook on the attributes of ribbon windows, a architect educated me about their antithesis: tall and narrow openings that span from floor to sky. While skinny openings may not be as expansive as ribbon windows or full-height expanses of glass they have their own advantages: more solitude, selective framing of the outdoors, and, as previously mentioned, views that encompass both sides of the horizon. The examples that follow illustrate the number of reasons for incorporating “anti-ribbon” windows.

Ribbon Windows: Openness, Privacy and Cool Modern Design


Grouping skinny windows appears to be a tactic. This stems from concerns on both sides of the wall: the exterior can benefit from the repetition of windows, and, based upon the size of a room, 1 window may not be adequate. The latter is the case here, in which a trio of skinny windows help frame anchor the seating area in the large living room.

House + House Architects

Inside this house a group of five windows adds to a selection of different openings (large/projected, square, little) to create the altitude a composition in wood and glass. See the windows from inside the dining room next.

House + House Architects

These skinny windows have been reiterated from the skylight overhead and the mullions that extend down the center of this huge window into the side. The five windows by themselves might be insufficient for this distance, but combined with all the remainder there is lots of lighting for dishes.

Contemporary house architects

Here a group of four windows defines the second floor above a primarily open floor, which uses a series of doors to attach inside and outside. Upstairs the narrow openings help to create the space more private and also to cut down on direct sun entering the large space.

Nic Darling

This townhouse on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a variant on a theme. What look like three lanky windows stacked on one side of the street facade are actually only openings from the terracotta display the sits in the front of the floor-to-ceiling glass the spans from side to side. Privacy and filtered views give way at the lanky “windows.”

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

These narrow windows create a rhythm in a hallway. In a sense that they are an abstraction of those footsteps that traverse the narrow space.

Bruce Wright

Where is the skinny window? The one to note is beneath the staircase on the right. Indoors we see …

Bruce Wright

… the stair is illuminated by a lanky window on two floors. The window brings light to this vertical distance and acts as a sundial, monitoring the sun through part of their day.

Zack|de Vito Architecture + Construction

Skinny windows can also be employed to frame views. Words are not needed here in order to explain the appeal and function of this window.

Schwartz and Architecture

My ideabook on ribbon windows revealed doing the dishes is more pleasurable with a well-placed window. The exact same is said about a lanky window, as this carefully placed one above a sink illustrates. Note the operable window.

David Lauer Photography

Here is a reconfigured entry (formerly a closet) that uses a narrow window with a gauzy glass that provides privacy. The geometric windows between the entry and living room is also a nice touch.

John Lum Architecture, Inc.. AIA

Bathrooms are an perfect spot for solitary skinny windows. They need a certain level of privacy, and expansive views are not really necessary. I’m not sure here should they window is to get the owner, or even the buddha?

Schwartz and Architecture

Interestingly, this bathroom does not let the countertop put a limitation on the magnitude of this window. The intersect each other to let more light come to the restroom.

Schwartz and Architecture

A closer look at the exact same bathroom shows one potential advantage: Someone taking a bath can flake out the lower portion whilst relaxing.

Cary Bernstein Architect

The exact same is said concerning this strategically placed window that exists just to frame a view of the trees for someone carrying a bath.

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