Balconies have never ceased to evolve throughout the history of architecture. Juliet balcony is one of those elements that have been installed in a variety of styles, ranging from ornate Victorian-style railings and infill panels to more plain, minimalist designs.
Apart from being the location of an iconic romantic moment in the scene from Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, it is still a common choice for those who are looking for an effective way to create an opening in interior spaces in small apartments. Let us introduce this very old invention in 3 simple questions.
What is a Juliet Balcony?
Juliet balcony is, by a simple definition, a very narrow balcony or merely a railing and a window reaching to the floor that gives the appearance of a balcony. While giving the appearance, it does function as a full balcony, in terms of allowing for more sunlight and fresh air to indoor spaces –when the doors are open-. From another point of view, it may not function as a full balcony since they do not offer access to open outdoor space out or walk on.
These architectural elements are most common in Mediterranean countries, mainly France, Spain, and Italy. They are also referred to as “balconet” or “balconette”. The name “balconette” took inspiration from the name of the section for men in the balcony of a theatre looking down upon women.
The name “Juliet Balcony” has another story. It, not surprisingly came from the famous Romeo and Juliet balcony scene in which Juliet ponders, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”. The balcony took this name since the form of the structure is very reminiscent of the small platform she stands on in the iconic scene.
Checking out the examples shows us the fact that: Juliet balconies are a very old invention. Architects of Baroque palaces liked the idea in the 17th and 18th centuries and chose to harmonize the openings with quite decorative railings. The windows reaching to the ground are fenced by balustraded balconettes on most of the floors. Apart from Baroque palaces, they can be found across historical buildings dated back to hundreds of years ago in NYC.
The Evolution of Juliet Balcony
When it comes to its evolution, it is a fact that: Today’s Juliet balconies aren’t quite the same as the famous stone structure depicted in Shakespeare’s iconic play Romeo and Juliet or Baroque’s balconettes, however never lost its character completely. Its style has evolved in parallel with the implementation of modern materials, modern construction styles, and new technologies . Glass panels, for instance, have replaced cast-iron railings in elegant curvy forms in today’s world. Glass, in particular, became increasingly embraced in balconies as well as many other elements after the modernism period since it offers low maintenance solution, that requires no time-consuming or costly painting in iron or timber structures do require. Nowadays, it is possible to come across Juliet balconies combined with both curved and elegant railings and glass panels, and clear straight lines.
What Benefits Juliet Balconies Offer?
When it comes to mentioning the main benefits of having Juliet balconies, they do provide the users with a stronger connection with the outdoors. It is a plus to offer a sense of protection from the potential threats outdoors while allowing for more natural light and ventilation to indoor spaces when the doors are open. Replacing traditional windows with much larger French doors seems to be a good idea since it makes the space feel larger than it actually is and allows for a wider sight of the street.
Budget-Friendly or Not?
Juliet balconies have another advantage to highlight. They’re quite easy and budget-friendly to install, it is possible to bolt to an existing wall easily. This simply makes installation quick, affordable, and time-saving. In addition, they are surprisingly durable to harsh environmental conditions.
Another important reason why Juliet balconies are becoming an increasingly common feature of properties in various parts of the world is that: They’re architectural elements that do not require planning permission to be installed. However, that does not mean that it is possible to adapt them anywhere. It is necessary to meet some relevant building regulations.
Juliet balconies seem to be simple elements yet they do have a lot to offer the users. It is striking when one experiences the difference between opening one small window and opening up a portion of an entire wall. It could be a nice idea to add some planters to it. Having large open spaces, on the other hand, seems to be more advantageous compared to Juliet balconies. Embracing balconettes makes sense when we consider the fact: that real estate is always a game of square feet in today’s major cities.