Ox-Eye Windows Hit the Mark in Architecture

An architectural aspect that I find truly wonderful is that the round or oval window. Placed judiciously, small circles of glass stick out at a home’s layout, creating a strong architectural punctuation mark within an otherwise ordinary space while bringing additional light and often an unexpected view into the interior of a home.

The first name for this type of window has been oeil-de-boeuf, literally “ox’s eye”; it is also known as an oculus. While I am not entirely certain how the title came about, it appears appropriate. These windows do resemble eyes looking out in the world. And just as eyes are believed to be windows into the soul, these windows can also supply an intriguing and unusual glimpse into a home’s interior.

In the long run, however, this wonderful architectural element’s roots don’t really matter. What does matter is that an ox-eye windowcould well be that piece of architectural grammar that is needed to finish your home’s statement.

Jan Gleysteen Architects, Inc

An ox-eye window can accentuate the most utilitarian location. Tucked into a tight alcove that is used for a home office, this round window makes a potent architectural statement in a comparatively compact space.

TEA2 Architects

A round window set high on the gable acts as a punctuation mark. In this case, it’s the time that attracts the architectural statement of this arched and rectangular windows under it to a full stop.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

There’s something satisfying about putting round windows high up in a wall. That little area of light emitting a bit of view out to the treetops really does create a feeling of spaciousness and airiness. Envision this room without the round window. Not really the same, is it?

Andrea Swan – Swan Architecture

While an ox-eye window is usually associated with traditional or transitional designs, it can work just as well with a contemporary aesthetic. At a simple, spare space with plain white walls, this ox-eye window takes center stage as the area’s chief ornamentation.

Ike Kligerman Barkley

Round or oval windows are even more refreshing whenever they pop up in an unexpected place, creating a feeling of surprise and happiness. Perhaps that’s the reason I love using them.

I could brush my teeth in this sink while taking a look at the landscape. However, for those who might bemoan the loss of a mirror, maybe there is another spot in the area that would do the job just as well for the window without cutting off the view.

Suzette Sherman Design

While you’re at it, allow the window’s positioning dictate the form of the interior elements around it, as was done with the cabinetry here.

Martin Bros.. Contracting, Inc..

When an oculus is utilized in place of a standard window, claiming privacy can be a challenge. Conventional window coverings will conceal the exceptional contour; utilizing frosted or reeded glass or installing a custom pleated shade can produce a reduction of light and view. In this smart installation, a hinged interior panel keeps the two elements while allowing for solitude.


Many manufacturers today produce round windows that pivot open either horizontally or vertically. An operable window is a great alternative for bathrooms and kitchens, allowing for clean air and ventilation.

Jan Gleysteen Architects, Inc

Just like with any architectural feature, the key to creating a round or oval window function is to ensure that it is placed so the overall composition makes sense both inside and out. The window might be high up in a gable, located over an entry or, as in this case, set between two conventional rectangular windows to break up the charm of a long exterior wall.

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