EXPLOITING HUMAN RESOURCES

 

Personnel are the most important asset for any organization. Personnel as Human resource are not only immensely manipulable, but up-gradable to seemingly infinite levels of efficiency. An organization hires people with required education, skill, experience, inclination and personality trait. Organizations recognize, support and even reformat these qualities through formal training and by providing opportunistic exposures. To hire and exploit the human resources organizations use Job assignment as the key method and pay incentives. Members of the organization are motivated in different ways to modify or upgrade their expertise.

 

Exploiting individual talents and traits

Organizations fully exploit the individual talents and traits. First, persons with only required qualities are sought. Second, better compensation is offered for hiring specific qualities. Third, incentives are offered for the readiness to reformat the talents and traits. Fourth, employees who are unable to convert are punished or shifted out of the organization.

Small organizations do not have the capacity to reformat the talents and personality traits of individual staff members, either by retraining or by providing opportunistic exposure, to match the occasional requirements. Small organizations, as a result, resort to frequent hiring and firing of employees.

Large organizations reshuffle their staff consistently to adjust to the fluctuating needs. Large organizations handle large volume of work, and so can effectively reposition the personnel for reformatting the talent. For large organization it is more efficient to retrain a person, than hire a stranger, and with that disturb the normal work culture of the unit.

 

GRILLS and TRELLIS

GRILLS and TRELLIS

Grills and Trellis are used primarily for barricading, for providing a transparent vista and for ornamentation. Grills are placed in apertures, windows, doors and any other cleavages in the barrier systems. Grills are also placed against solid planes like walls for ornamentation. Grills are used as parapets on terraces, in balconies, galleries or at the edge of any elevated level. Grills are placed on level grounds to differentiate areas of landscapes and gardens, on walkways, roadsides, road lanes, etc.

Grills also incorporate railings and grab bars on walkways, stairs, ramps, passages, buses, railway coaches. Grills are placed as markers to differentiate acutely varied areas: between banks and water bodies such as rivers, canals, pools, puddles, between spectators’ and the spectacle, between slow and fast moving objects, against hazardous utilities like machines, ovens etc. Grills are used in nursery and infirm areas, where grabbing elements are required at many different heights.

Grills become gates, windows and doors. Grills also become ladders. Grills in vertical, inclined and horizontal positions are used as plant climber support, tree guards and to support pots and vases. Grills are used to hang clothes and to dry clothes.

Grills are used as spark arresters in fireplaces and against burners. Grills are used to support burning bodies in crematoriums. Grills are used to evenly distribute heat as in grilles and barbecue devices. Grills act as air distributors in A.C. rooms.

Grills by their typical configuration help in controlling, filtering, decelerating, directing, channeling things that pass through it.

PROCESS OF STANDARDIZATION

 

Standardization is a process of identifying common features amongst various Versions of Specifications (personal, clan, trade, etc.) and assimilating them into a common and rational form. A standard emerges from equalization of divergent views, beliefs or concepts, as a consensus with intentions of efficiency and commercial advantage. ‘A Standard is that level of performance or accomplishment which has been selected as an Ideal to which actions or objects may be equated‘.

 

Standardization allows for clear communication between User and Suppliers, at a relatively low cost and with some degree of efficiency. Standards allow for interchangeable parts, replaceable systems and inter polarity of systems by encouraging concepts like: ‘Open-Ended-Architecture‘, ‘Modulated Plug-in Systems‘, ‘Networking‘, ‘Shareware‘, ‘Systems thinking’.

 

Updating the Standards: Specifications continuously evolve and so do the Standards. Standards cannot remain purposeful for very long, unless continuously improvised, and their domain enlarged. Some Commercial Standards, as for example, in the fields of Information Technology, Communication protocols and Data Processing are replaced by emergent technologies even before being implemented. ISO (International Standards Organization) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) revise their standards, optimally every five years, but often more frequently. Improvisation updates the specifications included as standards, and enlarges the domain by including many more facets of human activities.

 

HISTORICAL WALL FINISHES

Historically Greek architecture created pristine walls with coursed masonry. Romans created concrete walls with built in lining and a variety of stone facings. Roman walls in interior were plastered with marble powder and polished to a very glossy finish. Walls were decorated and painted by stucco system. Marble and glass mosaic in figures and patterns were applied on walls.

Byzantine walls were finished the same way, but unlike the flashy colour scheme of Roman villas and thermae, were simpler. Byzantine buildings used marble and mosaic bands running across the interior walls. Egyptian painted the interiors with their limited tonal vocabulary but using gilding extensively.

Babylonians used ornamental polychrome brickwork, often with low relief work. In early Gothic period walls were being flooded with light so the structural definitions were very important, rather than the wall treatment. Wall ornamentation was like the tracery pattern employed in windows. Panellings were used at lower levels of otherwise tall rooms. Gothic period also saw introduction of external non load bearing or partition wall. In buildings other than church walls did not require such vast openings. Areas between openings in interior and exterior began to form into alcoves or niches to filled in with statuettes.

During Renaissance these intermediate wall areas were highly rusticated. Windows were visually enlarged by decorative appendages. A modulated vocabulary of alternating wall and window treatment was established. However, these vocabularies did not evolve across the floor except by repetition.

Post Renaissance period saw entire facade wall being designed as one unit overcoming the horizontality of floor divisions and straight roof lines. Facade walls now became undulating not in the plan but also in elevation. Japanese shoji partitions serving the purpose of door, window and a divider inspired many architect in early 20th century to design interiors with relocatable partitions systems. Space and bubble structures dissolved the wall as a definition.

QUALITY OF INDOOR AIR


Defilement of internal air occurs mainly due to the occupation of space by people, plants and pets (exhalation, body odours, excretion products odours, food preparation), gadgets, equipments, and building and furnishing materials. The quality of air is usually determined by people’s sensation to various odours present in the air. But certain harmful pollutants like carbon dioxide and radon cannot be perceived by people at even high concentrations.

 

Quality of air is determined in two ways. There are Absolute standards that provide for ideal conditions for comfort and bio-survival. Relative standards provide ways for determining the qualitative difference between out door air and indoor air. Quality of outside air is generally superior because an infinite space and high speed winds are available for dilution to occur. Quality of internal air can be improved by diluting the proportion of pollutants in air, by replacing part of the fouled air with comparatively cleaner air; or by various mechanical and chemical scrubbers.

 

Particulate matter is a major source of air pollution, which mainly but not necessarily, originates outside and penetrates inside through various cracks and openings. Particulate can be dust, fumes, mist or biogenic matter. Particles of diameters greater than about 75 microns settle down rapidly and are termed Grit. Particles of smaller than 50 microns may remain suspended and constitute Aerosols. An aerosol is a liquid or solid particle which is in a quasi stable suspension in air. Very fine aerosols may remain suspended for weeks, whereas larger aerosols may get deposited in minutes. The deposition (and movement) of very small particles (2 microns) is influenced by temperature gradient (through convective currents). The effect on health due to airborne particulate matter of biogenic origin such as fungi, moulds, bacteria, viruses, pollens are well known.

 

In modern artificially controlled environment buildings are well designed and sealed to eliminate waste leakages. Such spaces function well so far as the environmental systems operate. However, pollutants arising from building materials, aerosols settling down, degradation of biotic materials, evaporation of condensed moisture from air handling plants, etc. continue to be added to the internal environment. The process of addition becomes severe when the environmental systems are switched off, such as at night time, on off days and when there are power breakdowns. This situation also occurs when there is no casual ventilation of the space due to shutting of nominal openings like doors and windows.

 

DECADENCE in BUILDINGS

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‘A building reflects the society or the community in which it survives. The condition and quality of the buildings reflect, the public pride or indifference, the level of prosperity, social values and behaviour, political confirmation, and all those Influences that give community the unique character. Decayed buildings depress the creative urge and generate anti social behaviour.’

Buildings age and show signs of decay. Decadence in buildings is both, Real and Sensorial. Real or physical decadence is structurally causative, and can be measured. Sensorial decadence is merely perceptive and often being subjective is difficult to define.

The decadence in a building can have different meaning to different people, or for the same people in different situations. Decay is judged by both, local people and outsiders or visitors. Those who stay in or near the building are continually involved with it and so do not realize the changes setting in the building, or even in its surroundings. They may not perceive decay of minor scale or slowly occurring small changes.

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Bathroom-Toilet structures at Lothal, India > Wikipedia image by Bernard Gagnon

Outsiders visiting a building often accept a decay as a nominal ageing process, and may not be bothered with it. However, frequent visitors immediately observe the accumulated changes. When local people realize the decay in a building, it may have reached the terminal or non-recoverable stage. Then the confidence in stability of the building is shaken and the end of property seems well within the sight.

  • A change in a building is perceived only in the context of something that is non-changing or having a very fast or slow pace of change. An entire street may look decayed if some of the buildings within it are less decayed, or when the street is seen in the context of a neighbourhood which may have been rejuvenated, or may have decayed further.

Decay is a natural process, accelerated by some climatic and use- related conditions. It may be arrested temporarily or perhaps reversed by specific actions, but never eliminated completely. It is nominally presumed that the processes of ageing should be faster in buildings that are intensively used (over-used) and extensively abused (misused).

Inversely it is also wrongly believed that decaying processes are slower or lower in buildings not at all used, sparingly used, or carefully used. Historical monuments with blocked visitations are often neglected, compared to ones regularly visited by tourists, care-takers or public.

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Hiroshima Peace Memorial SW Side  – Arrested decay or conserved state > Wikipedia image by SElefant

Historical buildings that are well connected to the local people by way of religious reverence, known fables and mythological links, locational advantage, distinction of style, are likely to be better cared.

For commercial properties decadence gets noticed because it directly affects the ‘function-activity system’, as for example in less sale or clientèle, reduced value, or productivity.

Historical buildings need to be part of the human settlements. For these such buildings should be well connected, visible and participatory. Remote buildings though cannot be brought back to the human settlements can have good connectivity. Where the scale or the interest is smaller, Time and Space must be enhanced with some form of ancillary facilities such as information centre, museum or time-pass activities.

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Abandoned workshop France > Wikipedia image by Gregory Kerouac

Conservation (or preservation) and Restorations are acceptable for buildings with heritage value. But some form of regulated conversion may be necessary for structures of ‘fringe’ or borderline historical value. The regulated conversion is adaptation that prepares a building for a new use but following certain regulations. The regulation are intended to maintain its architectural value while sustaining its structural integrity.

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SPACE PLANNING by Visual and Non-visual means

 

The personalization of a space achieved through visual means is very obvious as much as it is effective. However, use of non-visual sensorial effects for personalization of space are very subtle but equally effective. Non-visual sensorial effects are not easy to perceive, record, communicate and express.

Professional designers, in their conventional space planning, give consideration to parameters like auditory, olfactory, tactile and atmospheric factors such as the temperature and moisture, etc. This is because many of the visual means also provide non-visual sensorial effects, at specific position and under certain circumstances.

A lay person improvising own spaces finds it very difficult to replicate the use of non-visual sensorial effects. A lay person considers non visual sensorial effects at best as the reinforcing elements to visual means.

For professional designers as well as lay persons, the judgements on these counts are often speculative because effective results derive from cumulation of several factors.

  • For example, Visual and Auditory senses work in consonance, as both have a sense of scale and direction. In space planning one provides the clue about the other.
  • The selection and placement of furniture, furnishings and enrichments can change the visual space perception, whereas the surface treatments of the same elements can change the audio response.
  • Tactile sense requires one to be in proximity of the surface, yet the textures, nature of construction (hollow, foamed, micro undulations), etc. prompt the auditory response from a distance, and so pre-empt the perception.
  • Odours are perceived with air and its movements. Enclosed rooms filter the noise but reduce the chances of fresh air. This translates into ‘smelly or stagnant space’. A designer has to perceive a space planning layout with all these overlapping sensorial perceptions, and also notions people have about it.

Other parameters such as the privacy, intimacy, well being, safety, security, seclusion and participation, are achieved through sensible space planning, but need space and time reinforcement through indicative means.

The purposes of space elements, their placement, composition, shape or size, are not very apparent to a casual visitor. However, such effects become apparent on the required occasion and situation with non-visual reinforcements.