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Architectural Terms & Definitions

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What is Transom Window in architecture?

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What is Transom Window in architecture?

Transom windows are horizontal windows that are typically located above doors or other windows in a building. These windows are often used to allow additional natural light to enter a space, while also adding a decorative element to the overall design of a building. In architecture, transom windows can be found in a variety of styles and materials, ranging from traditional wooden frames to modern metal and glass designs.

Benefits of Transom Windows

Transom windows offer several benefits in architecture, including increased natural light, improved ventilation, and added visual interest. By allowing more light to enter a space, transom windows can help reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day, leading to energy savings and a more sustainable building design. Additionally, transom windows can be opened to allow for better air circulation, improving indoor air quality and comfort for building occupants.

Types of Transom Windows

There are several types of transom windows commonly used in architecture, including fixed transoms, operable transoms, and stained glass transoms. Fixed transom windows are stationary and cannot be opened, while operable transoms can be opened and closed to allow for ventilation. Stained glass transoms feature decorative glass panels that add a touch of elegance and color to a building’s design.

Design Considerations for Transom Windows

When incorporating transom windows into a building design, architects must consider factors such as the size, placement, and material of the windows. The size of transom windows should be proportionate to the overall scale of the building, while their placement should maximize natural light and views. Additionally, the material of transom windows should complement the architectural style of the building and provide durability and energy efficiency.

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Historical Significance of Transom Windows

Transom windows have a long history in architecture, dating back to the 17th century when they were commonly used in European and American buildings. These windows were originally designed to allow for ventilation and natural light in buildings before the widespread use of artificial lighting and air conditioning. Today, transom windows continue to be a popular architectural feature in both residential and commercial buildings.

Modern Trends in Transom Window Design

In modern architecture, transom windows are often used to create a sense of openness and connection to the outdoors. Designers are incorporating larger transom windows, floor-to-ceiling transoms, and custom-shaped transoms to enhance the aesthetic appeal of buildings and maximize natural light. Additionally, advancements in window technology have made transom windows more energy-efficient and sustainable.

Applications of Transom Windows

Transom windows can be found in a wide range of architectural styles and building types, including residential homes, commercial offices, and historic landmarks. In residential settings, transom windows are commonly used in entryways, bathrooms, and kitchens to add light and ventilation. In commercial buildings, transom windows can be found in lobbies, conference rooms, and storefronts to create a welcoming and bright environment.


Transom windows play a crucial role in architecture by providing natural light, ventilation, and visual interest to buildings. Whether used in traditional or modern designs, transom windows enhance the overall aesthetic and functionality of a space. By understanding the history, benefits, and design considerations of transom windows, architects can create innovative and sustainable buildings that prioritize the well-being of occupants.

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