The World’s Most Beautiful Windows
11 February 2019
Stained glass has worked to enhance buildings of all types since the Middle Ages. If you’re not familiar, the process involves connecting coloured glass pieces and outlining them with strips of lead and is most commonly found in places of worship the world over.
The dawn of the 19th century brought this artform into cultural spots, large department stores, hotels and even private homes and is now used in some of the world’s most iconic designs by famous architects such as Oscar Niemeyer and Antoni Gaudí.
From a gothic cathedral in Paris to a cultural centre in Chicago, these are some of the most beautiful stained glass windows in the world.
La Sagrada Familia | Barcelona, Spain
If you’ve ever visited Barcelona, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen the monument that is La Sagrada Familia. The avant-garde architecture is one of the most famous works of architect Antoni Gaudí who designed the basilica when he was only 31 years old. In fact, the completion of the basilica prompted him to be known as the master of modern architecture. Gaudí marked his personal style both in the exterior and interior of the building, creating columns shaped like tree trunks and arches that have a unique shape. With the windows, he shows his desire to surpass the Gothic style, with transparent stained-glass windows placed high up to allow light to stream in and illuminate the illustrations and texts lower down.
Coventry Cathedral | Coventry, England
The Cathedral Church of St Michael or Coventry Cathedral lies in the heart of the city and encompasses two buildings. The old cathedral was destroyed by enemy air attack in WWII and rather than removing it completely or building a replica, the remains were preserved as a reminder of the waste of war. From then on, it has served as a ministry of peace and reconciliation. One of the most well-known elements of the cathedral is the Baptistry Window designed by John Piper. This ‘chess board’ window is a symphony of colour, including floor to ceiling depictions of abstract symbolic designs that represent a soul’s journey to maturity. Every visitor to the cathedral is dazzled by this amazing project.
Sainte-Chapellle Cathedral | Paris, France
If you’re ever visiting France’s fair capital, then take a short walk from Notre Dame cathedral and you’ll discover the smaller Sainte-Chapelle. Many say this is the finest example of high-gothic or rayonnant architecture because of its narrow stone spiral staircases and low ceilings. Ascending the spiral staircase may make you feel claustrophobic, but once you’ve done so the life size kaleidoscope will take your breath away. Saint-Chapelle’s windows are 50 feet high and make up over a thousand separate scenes from the old and new testament.
Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque | Shiraz, Iran
If you thought Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque was impressive from the outside, wait until you go inside. Stained glass windows are fairly uncommon in mosque architecture so Nasir-ol-Molk is one of the only in the world to boast such a feature, earning it the name “Pink Mosque”. Visitors will also see many elements of traditional Islamic architecture such as iwan arches and a central fountain. The best time to go is early morning, when the sun shines through the stained glass to create a wonderland of colour.
Chicago Cultural Centre | Chicago, Illinois, United States
While stained glass windows tend to be associated with places of worship, but it’s what makes the Chicago Cultural Centre one of the city’s top attractions. Designed in the Classical Revival style, the centre’s architects took much of their inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome and the fine details of the Italian Renaissance. It’s interior perfectly complements the art that is hosted there, particularly the Tiffany glass dome found in the Preston Bradley Hall which is the largest in the world.
St. Joseph’s Church | Le Havre, France
From a distance it resembles a skyscraper, but St. Joseph’s Church in the port of Le Havre is a historical monument that has a staggering 12,768 multi coloured mouth blown stained glass windows. The artist, Marguerite Huré is considered as being the one to introduce abstraction into religious stained glass windows. The shades of the glass changes depending on their position and arrangement, according to a symbolic code of colours and shapes.
The aluminium windows designed by The Heritage Window Company may not be stained glass, but they certainly do have beauty and charm of their own. As specialists in slimline aluminium windows, ours can help you retain the distinctive charm of traditional steel windows and thus the period character of your home.