7 Methods of View Framing in Architecture with Examples

The context of a building is as important as what lies within. The trees and shrubs, the water bodies that reflect it, the surrounding buildings, and the clouds in the ever-changing sky make for a memorable view of the building and also add to its character. 

View framing can be described as confining these views to a boundary and defining them. 

View framing does not create a new view, rather, it frames it, draws attention to it, and amplifies its beauty. 

Significance of view framing

  • It draws attention to the context.
  • It invites nature inside and makes it a part of the aesthetics.
  • It initiates the users to move towards the opening and experience nature.
  • It creates the sense of being one with nature, with the comfort and safety of being inside. 
  • Scenic views of nature can boost productivity and improve the circadian rhythm. 
  • Removes the sense of confinement.
  • Framed views of streetscape or urban landscape can create a sense of being a part of the community.
  • Allows people inside to observe the changes like weather and clouds on the outside.

Factors to Consider While Framing a View

  1. Daylighting requirements of the space – Different apertures may be required for daylight, ventilation, and view framing purposes.
  2. Heat gain due to glazing – The use of glass can increase the heat trapped in an enclosure. 
  3. Visual fatigue in cases of large continuous openings – This can be overcome by using mullions to break and segment the view. 
  4. Creating specific viewpoints – By choosing the position of the openings based on the elements of the view
  5. Privacy – The position and size of the openings must not compromise the safety and privacy of the users. 
  6. Three dimensionality of the views – Unlike a photograph, the view from a building changes with height, distance, and position. 
  7. Element of Mystery – Revealing the exterior in small framed views can make the users want to explore the outside and keep it interesting. 
  8. Blending interior and exterior – Adding vertical and horizontal elements to the view frames can complement and create a transition from inside to outside 

House Bernheimbeuk by De Vylder Vinck Taillieu 

View Framing at the House Bernheimbeuk by De Vylder Vinck Taillieu 
View Framing at the House Bernheimbeuk by De Vylder Vinck Taillieu 

This small house has two oddly spaced windows on the side of the house, providing a limited view of the exterior on one side and invoking curiosity. 

7 Methods of View Framing in Architecture

  1. Form and shape
  2. Windows
  3. Walls
  4. Courtyards
  5. Skylights
  6. Corridors 
  7. Gateways 

1. Form and shape

Cutouts in the geometry of the building itself are a way of view framing. 

Momentary City by Vector Architects

View Framing the Tree at the Momentary City by Vector Architects
View Framing the Tree at the Momentary City by Vector Architects

Carefully designed cutouts on the wall of the courtyard bring out the silhouette of the tree. 

2. Windows 

Windows are the most common apertures used for side lighting. 

  • Bold window frames can be used in contrast with the walls to highlight the view. 
  • Depth and layers can be added to the apertures using lattices, jambs, and mullions. 

Camera House by Leckie Studio

Windows aid in view framing at the Camera House by Leckie Studio
Windows aid in view framing at the Camera House by Leckie Studio

Created to capture the beautiful nature in Pemberton Valley, the glazings in this house are located on different faces and in different shapes, to capture three aspects of the surroundings- foreground of the forest, midground of the Owl Ridge, and background of the Garibaldi Range. 

Stunning backdrop of the Camera House by Leckie Studio
Stunning backdrop of the Camera House by Leckie Studio

3. Walls

Full-length glass walls seamlessly blend interiors with nature. 

Casa G by EV+A Lab 

Glass walls for view framing at the Casa G by EV+A Lab 
Glass walls for view framing at the Casa G by EV+A Lab 

This glazed wall in a residence provides a framed view of the Orobian Alps. Based on climate considerations, appropriate shading has been provided for maximizing heat in the winter and minimizing sun in the summer. 

4. Courtyards

A courtyard in the middle of a built space is a great way to bring a piece of the sky and the landscape to the interiors

  • Additionally, it provides good daylight and ventilation across seasons
  • Multi-access courtyards can provide different views of the same exterior from different access paths

F House by Pitsou Kadem 

Courtyards framed at the F House by Pitsou Kadem 
Courtyards framed at the F House by Pitsou Kadem 
F House by Pitsou Kadem 
F House by Pitsou Kadem 

A central courtyard forms the main focus of this house. The view from and of the courtyard is different from different parts of the house. 

5. Skylights

Skylights are great for capturing a piece of the sky

  • The size and location of the skylight should be decided considering heat gain and glare 

Framing the sky by Atelier TEKUTO 

Framing the sky with skylights by Atelier TEKUTO 
Framing the sky with skylights by Atelier TEKUTO 

In this house in urban Tokyo, the skylight is the main source of daylight. It captures the sky, the last remaining connection with nature in dense urban settings. 

6. Corridors

openings at the end of the corridor make for a great view from the start of it

  • The length of the corridors creates leading lines, drawing the eyes towards it
  • It instigates the users to move towards the view

Acolhaus by SPRB Architects 

View framing at the end of a corridor at the Acolhaus by SPRB Architects 
View framing at the end of a corridor at the Acolhaus by SPRB Architects 

In this Mexican house, a glazed door at the end of a hallway illuminates it and provides a view of the garden. 

7. Gateways

Gateways are a great way of framing outdoor views and landscape 

  • They frame the path that one walks through
  • They can be used to frame the next section of the garden and act as a separation.  

Portsea by Philip Withers

Framing of the door at the Portsea by Philip Withers
Framing of the door at the Portsea by Philip Withers

In this beachside Australian property, the landscape has been designed to let one’s eye rest amongst the architecture. The concrete contrasts nature and aptly frames it. 

Using one of the above elements, the landscape or urban context surrounding a building can be framed and provide the users with a memorable view. 

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