Building Transparency

Precedent: Windows at grade to create “eyes-on-the-campus”

Transparency describes the ability to see into and out of buildings through glass windows and doors. Building transparency in a campus context is important because it helps to create a safe environment, allowing visibility indoors and outdoors. It is particularly important to have transparency at grade for this reason. Transparency allows for a seamless transition between interior and exterior spaces, especially public realm space.


  • Buildings should be transparent and animated at grade to encourage a level of safety with “eyeson- the-campus”. This is especially important for buildings fronting streets, open spaces, and primary pedestrian circulation corridors.
  • The design of buildings should locate interior study spaces and social gathering spaces along the periphery to visually and physically connect with the exterior open spaces, pathways, and streets.
  • Transparency should also be considered in the design of buildings so that they feel light in form and are a primary means of illuminating open spaces at night.
  • Direct passageways through buildings and between buildings in the form of breezeways, should be clearly visible, open, and highly transparent.