A breezeway is a covered walkway between two structures or between two sections of the same structure. It is a feature of architectural design which allows a person to feel the outdoors while still being covered. It can be found in a home, office building or any other structure. The word is also used in automotive terminology to describe a short rear window on 1950s model Mercury Turnpikes, for example.
Breezeways have been part of architecture for centuries, if not thousands of years. They are a practical way to connect two structures without the need for the same kind of foundation or siding as the rest of the home or building. The most practical and historical use are breezeways to connect a house to a barn, garage, or similar structure.
These structures can be used simply for aesthetics, to provide balance to an architectural design, or it can be used to assist with heating and cooling costs, in a much more practical way. The right location of breezeways in structural design can help direct the flow of air through a building.
Although a breezeway is exposed to the outdoors, there is typically a floor of some kind, whether it is hardwood, cement stones or even outdoor carpeting. In some structures like a barn, however, breezeways may be covered only, with just the earth for a floor. In such a case, there are usually landscaping elements built into the breezeway design. One might add a water feature like a pond or small waterfall under the canopy. As with all landscaping features, drainage must be taken into consideration and guttering might be needed to direct rain away from the covered walkway.
A breezeway can be a single story or it can be several stories high. The only universal feature is that it connects two structures and is covered. Some may call a long hallway with windows on either end a breezeway. This functions essentially the same way as a breezeway when windows on each end are open and air is allowed to travel freely through.
One may also use the word breezeway in automotive terminology. When a rear window and front windows are all open, the car acts as a breezeway. Certain models of cars in the 1950s had rear windows that some people refer to as breezeways.