If nothing else, the windows of Cuzco challenge an underlying philosophy that has convinced places like the United States to view them as vulnerable, almost holy objects. The famous “broken windows” theory of urban degeneration states that a broken window, if left unfixed, will act as a signal, a beacon that indicates a breakdown into lawlessness.
Cuzco, a vibrant, beautiful, city full of life – reveals a different picture. Here, windows have age. Some are broken and patched. Rarely are they immaculate, yet society does not collapse. The windows of Cuzco show greater variability and level of wear than the windows I am used to. Glass is often textured to allow for light but not vision. Others allow air but not insects. Windows often are built with the knowledge that humans like options on a continuum between a solid wall and a naked opening.
Windows act metaphorically to indicate transparency. But they can also be closed, boarded up, or reveal only darkness. Windows as physical objects represent something more dynamic. They are small manifestations of human desire for control and the fact that their needs are always changing. It is fascinating to see how human preference unfolds in so many ways.