Temperature related Comfort parameters for Interior Design

Post -by Gautam Shah


High Density Colonies

An effective climate (actual feel) of a place emerges from the comprehensive mix of three basic factors: Temperature, Humidity and Air movement. To create an equitable environment, we need to hasten, delay, curtail, terminate, enhance or dilute the effects of these factors. The equitable environment is also achieved by siting, size, shape and form (openings and other architectural features) of the building. These are static and strategic means of comfort. Dynamic and tactical comfort solutions, however, are achieved through a persistent time and space management of tasks, reorientation of lifestyle settings, by adjusting the food and clothing. An Interior Designer as a building engineer may not enforce the lifestyles, food or clothing solutions, but awareness about these aspects helps generate a better design.


Siting of a Building and the internal components: Interior design solutions rarely create new places (sites) for buildings, but a designer must know how to take advantage of the existing site conditions for relocating the internal components. It includes siting and scheduling the activities, providing surface treatments (texture, colour, insulation and latent heat capacities), redesigning the openings, and establishing architectonic elements (such as the shading devices) for controlling the solar gain.


Size of the building, and its blocks: Unitary buildings are more compact in mass and show ‘single space thermal behaviour’. Compartmentalized or blocked buildings on the other hand have separated zones with distinguishing thresholds and intermediate buffer portions offer many different types of thermal profiles. Such variegated sections are easy to manage and exploit for appropriate activities. A compact building has lesser external surface area and so lesser heat gain, but also reduced heat loss. Pol houses (Ahmedabad, India) are raw houses with common walls and for the hot arid climate have lesser heat gain.



garage_color_game_grey_concrete_structure_stone_pattern_cement-630036.jpg!dShape of the building: The shape of a building has three major relevance: surface area, perimeter and orientation to sun and wind. A simple shape (cubical) has lesser surface area compared to a zigzag shaped or ‘winged’ building. A building with larger surface (i.e. foot-print with greater perimeter) has larger heat gain (summers) and loss (winters). A zigzag or winged building creates many shaded area which are thermal and wind pressure differentiated zones and used for thermal and air movements.


Most societies have repertoire of matured customs and traditions for climatic adoption. These knowledge get passed on from one to another generation. In a stable society the ethnic scene is full of fail-safe climate related strategies. However, in rapidly changing societies there is substantial infusion of new ideas, where migrants bring in new house forms and lifestyles. The Young migrants who possibly have had no opportunity to imbibe the accumulated knowledge of climate adoption from the place of their origin, find it very difficult to establish in an alien situation.

Thar Desert India




Post –by Gautam Shah



Mikveh (Mikvah, mikve, or mikva) is a Pool or Bath of clear water in which full immersion is required to regain ritual purity, after specific impure incidents. The Mikveh is a Jewish tradition, and several biblical texts spiritually associate it with the natural source of water.


No specific architectural form is specified or has emerged over the years. However, several conditions based on classical rabbinical literature define the nature of the immersion ritual and its place.

According to these rules, a Mikveh must be connected to naturally occurring water or collection of living water. It requires groundwater wells, springs or rivers. It is believed that living water is able to purify with the flow as opposed to the rainwater which must be stationary in order to purify. A cistern filled by the rain is also permitted to act as a Mikveh’s water supply. Similarly snow, ice and hail are allowed to act as the supply of water to a Mikveh, as long as it melts and flows. Ocean is considered proper for immersion where there is no Mikveh available.


According to the classical tradition and prescription, a Mikveh must contain enough water to cover the entire body of an average-sized man, which is approximately 40 seah (=interpreted as being 150 gallons). The depth must be such as to enable an average adult to stand upright and have the water reach at least 11 inches above the waist, so that immersion can be performed without much awkward positioning.


A Mikveh must be connected to a natural spring (surface, depression or sub-soil or underground aquifer, or to a well of naturally occurring water — like rainwater. (The word spring comes from German word ‘springer,’ which means ‘to leap from the ground’)

Ancient Mikvehs dating from 1st C are found throughout Israel as well as in historic settlements of Jewish communities. ‘In the days of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, the Mikveh was used by all Jews who wanted to enter the precincts of the Sanctuary’. In modern times, Mikvehs can be found in most communities in Orthodox Judaism. Jewish funeral homes have a Mikveh for immersing a body during the purification procedure (Tahara) before burial. Large numbers of stepped-and-plastered mikva’ot have been found in excavations in and around Jerusalem, Most of the installations in Jerusalem were in basements of private dwellings and therefore must have served the specific domestic needs of the city inhabitants.


A convert to Judaism is required to immerse in a Mikveh as part of his/her conversion. A woman is required to immerse in a Mikveh after her menstrual period or childbirth before she and her husband can resume marital relations. Often newly acquired utensils used in serving and eating food are immersed in Mikveh. Today, Mikveh is ceremonially used by women prior to the marriage.



 Post  –by Gautam Shah


Quilting is a method of stitching together two layers of fabrics with or without an interlining of some material to form a textile sandwich. The stitching holds the fabrics and the interlining material in place and also serves as the basis for decorative designs.


Quilted fabric or quilt constructed fabrics are used for blankets, mattress covers, and also clothing, upholstery, and decoration. The quilt fabrics and the interlining material provide substance (mass), sound, heat and vibrations insulations, stiffness and textured effect. The quilting fabrics are cotton, artificial silks, rayon and polyesters. The interlining materials are fluffed cotton or polyester, rayon staples, shoddy wools and animal hairs, bird-feathers, polypropylene woven and non-woven sheets, coir, etc. Poor in India use discarded clothing pieces to form quilts.


The Quilting or joining the fabric and the interlining is done by continuous machine or hand stitches as well as continuous or spot knotting. Modern quilting is done by heat fusion setting or chemical bonding. The Stitch-lines and knots create regular or irregular patterns like squares, diamonds, spirals, etc.


The Quilting fabric could be same on both sides or plain one on the bottom side. The top fabric is often plain so that the quilting stitches form the design. The top fabric is printed or created by joining small pieces of fabrics to create an appliqué or patch work.


Screenshot_2020-04-18 Portion of a quilted petticoat - PICRYL Public Domain Image

Quilting is very ancient craft. Quilted garments were extensively used In China, Russia, and Pre-Columbian Meso-America for warmth. Quilted fabrics were used as armour. Crusaders from western Europe were introduced to quilting when they encountered Saracens in the Holy Land. Saracen foot soldiers wore straw-filled, quilted canvas shirts as a form of armour, and horsemen used quilted silk under-shirts to prevent their armour from chafing. Dutch and English colonists brought quilting to America in the 17th C. The first American quilts were made by the appliqué method. Archaeologists discovered a quilted floor covering in Mongolia, estimated to be of between 100 BC to 200 AD.


Surface or wall padding have construction similar to quilting. Surface padding was used on inside faces of doors, etc. to prevent eves dropping, heat insulation. In early 1940s sound broadcasting studios and chamber music rooms were wall padded to acoustically isolate the space, but this practice was soon was abandoned  for several reasons, odour fouling of the interior due to padding materials (natural, synthetic and composites), vulnerability to fire and need to add some reverberated sounds. In modern times surface padding as wall padding is employed to provide a safe level of impact absorption as anti-ligature measure in jails, nursery rooms, rooms for mentally disturbed patients. Wall paddings are used in built spaces to prevent injuries due to impact. These include low beams, wall or column edges, goal posts, etc.


Molas are handmade using a reverse appliqué technique. Several layers (usually two to seven) of different-coloured cloth (usually cotton) are sewn together; the design is then formed by cutting away parts of each layer. The edges of the layers are then turned under and sewn down. Often, the stitches are nearly invisible. This is achieved by using a thread the same colour as the layer being sewn, sewing blind stitches, and sewing tiny stitches. The finest molas have extremely fine stitching, made using tiny needles.

The largest pattern is typically cut from the top layer, and progressively smaller patterns from each subsequent layer, thus revealing the colours beneath in successive layers. This basic scheme can be varied by cutting through multiple layers at once, hence varying the sequence of colours; some molas also incorporate patches of contrasting colours, included in the design at certain points to introduce additional variations of colour. –from Wikipedia





Interior Design Assist

 (This article is 4th in the series. 1st= Standards Levels of Relevance, 2nd= Types of Standards, 3rd= Emergence of National and International Standards).

Standards may be written descriptions (or conveyed through other media), mathematical formulations, graphical presentations or drawings, all setting forth the important features of objects to be produced, services to be performed, or results to be achieved and verified.

Standards for industry may be Qualitative Parameters for constituent raw materials, which can provide a reasonable output. It could be Capabilities of machines and other equipments, which combined with specific human skills help efficient handling of tasks. Standards also specify Tactics and Strategies of securing assured results. It could be devices, instruments and methodologies to verify the performance. Standards could also include mechanisms to connect, operate, maintain and replace systems.

Standards invariably incorporate Time as a disciplining factor. Time management through scheduling, sequencing, acceleration…

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 (This article is 4th in the series. 1st= Standards Levels of Relevance, 2nd= Types of Standards, 3rd= Emergence of National and International Standards).


Standards may be written descriptions (or conveyed through other media), mathematical formulations, graphical presentations or drawings, all setting forth the important features of objects to be produced, services to be performed, or results to be achieved and verified.


Standards for industry may be Qualitative Parameters for constituent raw materials, which can provide a reasonable output. It could be Capabilities of machines and other equipments, which combined with specific human skills help efficient handling of tasks. Standards also specify Tactics and Strategies of securing assured results. It could be devices, instruments and methodologies to verify the performance. Standards could also include mechanisms to connect, operate, maintain and replace systems.


Standards invariably incorporate Time as a disciplining factor. Time management through scheduling, sequencing, acceleration, retardation, etc., regulates all events and happenings, and thereby forms the processes.


Standards that are applied in an Industrial setting include Engineering Standards, such as properties of materials, fits and tolerances, terminology, and drafting practices. Product Standards describe attributes and ingredients of manufactured items as embodied in drawings, formulas, material lists, descriptions, or models.


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.




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’.

Emergence of National and International Standards

Post -by Gautam Shah


 (This article is 3 rd in the series. 1st >Standards Levels of Relevance, 2nd >Types of Standards)



Emergence of National Standards

Governments during the later part of 20th century found it easier to frame laws that are parallel to Standards. In many small countries, as integral part of the legislation, Standards for only very urgent and acute requirements are prepared. ‘Formulation of Standards’ and Legislation is considered to be the same. And for that reason it was widely perceived that Standards can be enforced only through fines and punishment.


The setting for International Standards

International Standards have no Legislative Support or Enforcement backing of a Government, unless adopted by the national government. International Standards work on Voluntary Corroboration. Such standards flourish on the realization that greater advantages are earned by following it, rather then not being part of it. Success of International Standards depends on the Rational Confirmation and Wider Acceptance.

Bridge construction steel, architecture buildings..jpg


Specifications have strong indigenous origin, because materials and human skills, both have strong local character and advantage. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in India, and National Standards agencies in many countries of the world, operate as a Standards Formulating, Licensing, and Enforcing-agency. Whereas some governments like USA, act only as a Facilitating agency, encouraging the trade organizations and technical associations to take the lead in not only developing standards, but for their enforcement.

Too many sizes for packages



National standards are very indigenous, designed to serve the national interests. The national protectionist interests are served by restrictive or negative specifications. National standards cover only the exigent needs of the nation, so do not serve the interests of regional economic activities. When materials and human resources are transected across nations, a need for a wider application of specifications makes Nations come together to create a Charter of Regional or International Conduct. A world level Organization was needed to coordinate the standards’ activities of many Nations and Commercial Organizations. International Standards Organization (ISO -1947), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC -1906) in 1906 and the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA -1926-1942), are some such International agencies.





Post –by Gautam Shah


(This article is 2nd in the series. 1st was Standards Levels of Relevance.)


Standards emerge at many different levels. At basic level these are very widely acceptable strategies. But at higher level, a person, an organization or a government department must strive for greater universal participation. Such an active role in the society occurs as a quest for quality for all aspects of being. The quest for quality is reflected through: desire to excel, readiness for improvisation, steadfastness to good practices, transparency in dealings, persistence for consistency, wider application.



Standards at a very primary level are compiled by a Person, as a ‘collection of bests’, ‘most favoured or representative items’ or ‘my suggestion’. Since these are carefully picked out items, represent a Quality Conscience of the Author and so, are personal standards. Personal Standards are valued for the author’s mastery over the subject, rather, then the absolute quality of the included material. Personal standards combined with personal norms for enforcement are often tyrannical. Specifications that establish personal standards describe entities’ physical characteristics, but rarely provide the ways and means (processes) of achieving or even testing it.

Typical examples of personal standards are: Time saver standards for architecture and interior design, Furniture or item catalogues, Special issues of periodicals, etc.



Standards can be a strategic understanding, among the competitors or between the associates to manage a situation such as: reduce the rivalry, rationalize the methods of production, reduce the costs, enhance the image of the product, form a cartel to ward off the non-members etc. Such standards also emerge without any distinct effort, as ‘followers of the same path’, empathetically sustain similar actions. A work-culture or faith comradely develops among the practitioners.



Members of clan or cast can have a tacit or formal understanding for acting in unison. Such understandings are of usually negative dictates and are very restrictive. These understandings or standards sustain the livelihood by protecting the exclusive or patent know-how, and by regulating the competition among the members. The standards are more of the norms for behavioural and less of technological specifications. Clans and casts flourish by acting in consonance with the Rulers or Government. Which, in turn enhances their governance by politically acknowledging such practices. Over a period of time the divergent policies and directives of the clans get rationalized as the Code of Conduct. Such Codes relate to personal behaviour, formation and conduct of commercial activities, use of resources including the environment, safety measures, risks management, manufacturing, handling and disposing of the materials, and trade practices relating to the weights, measures, economic transactions, employment, etc.



Some major Consumers, Government departments like defense, because of vast scales of their operations, are prolific creators of specifications, and their needs become virtual standards. These agencies can afford to operate testing facilities for the purchases, and have enough supervision expertise for rationalizing the work procedures.

In India, Railways and Public works departments are some of the agencies that dominate the realm of commercial activities. Whatever is consumed by them become the commercially the most viable item. In USA the Government (mainly in defense establishments) allows specifications to be only performance oriented. These are Standards by Preference and Prevalence and are, a commercial reality.



STANDARDS Levels of Relevance

post -by Gautam Shah



Standards emerge as the most widely acceptable strategy, set through specifications. Standards are conceived to generate a controlled response. Standards relate to specifications for making, maintaining, using and disposing objects, and mechanics of creation, handling, operations and management. Standards as the most widely acceptable strategy, could emerge from empathy or as a strategic understanding between two or more persons. Standards’ formation is a raison d’etre for (reason for being) member of clan or society. Governments gain political power and patronage by administering standards. Regional blocks and International communities achieve efficiency by preventing conflict and duplication of effort through standards. Standards, very effectively and economically raise the levels of quality, safety, reliability, efficiency and commutability.



Standards are expected to achieve predictable results, by voluntary concurrence, obligation, or through enforcement. Standards are very powerful means to cause a change or even maintain status quo. The nature of Application of Standards takes many different forms with varying levels of credibility. Acceptance of standards if voluntary ensues a social respect or some form of elite status. The enforcement also may occur with social boycott, penalty or punishment.


Compulsory and Legal:       Such as laws, rules

Obligatory and Quasi Legal: Such as directives, policies

Obnoxious or Evil:           Such as decrees, mandates

Necessities:                   Such as compulsions,obligations

Traditional -Esteemed         Such as customs,traditions,taboos

Provisions:                    Such as recommendations.




Post -by Gautam Shah



Specifications are required for following purposes:

  • to create objects
  • to procure entities
  • to provide services
  • to verify the fulfillment of a purpose,
  • to operate a system, and also
  • to structure a set of specifications.


Specifications serve one or more of the following conditions.

  • If the needed object is available in the Market or Nature, one can define the conditions of procurement, including terms of purchase, delivery, quality parameters, etc.

  • A Routine object can be produced by prescribing the constituents and a process for production or fabrication. The process details, may exclude (for brevity) the particulars of the quality of raw materials (commonly known or available), and characteristics of the resultant product or service.

In pre-literate society, the distinctive shape of amphorae provided potential consumers with information about goods and quality.

  • Custom designed object will be produced with specific quality of raw materials, through set procedures. And the resultant product is expected to have the peculiar sensorial qualities and functionality.

  • A product or service to be delivered / procured with the assurance of quality (guarantee / warrantee) may have only performance parameters prescribed. The quality of raw materials and process become less relevant.


  • Operation of large and complex systems is an undertaking by itself. Here the specifications are operational strategies defining the duties of different system operators (traffic, risks management, emergencies, security, etc.). The scheme exploits the built-in capabilities, and is also sustained by planned external interventions. 
  • Composite systems that have very dependent sub systems flourish only under Specific Environment. Specifications here detail the contextual conditions for the subsystem to flourish effectively.
  • Critical and Hazardous systems cannot come into being unless appropriate routines for handling, storage, disposal, demolition, etc. are predefined.

    Katrina Disaster



 Post –by Gautam Shah



Peripheral zones of an interior space are aligned to the edge of the space, and therefore away from the core zone. It is this distance, between the core and peripheral sections that qualifies their meaning. Another qualifying mark is their surroundings. Peripheral zones draw a lot of energy from across the edge or defining barriers whereas the core zone is affected only slightly by the enveloping periphery.


Peripheral zones are vulnerable to outside influences due to their closeness with the edge and also their distance from the core section. A core zone is dominated by the domain’s main and common activity, whereas the peripheral zones are distinctive escape areas and so have diverse utility. Peripheral zones derive their functionality from nature of barriers. Peripheral zones emerge as an antithesis or concurrent space segment of the core zone. The peripheral zones are affected differently by the directional and temporal aspects of the environment. A peripheral zone is often relevant only for a while, to an individual, or for an activity.



Once the extent of the peripheral zone was determined by the concern for safety, warmth from the fire, the need for privacy, scale of the task-activity and distancing from elements (to reduce their intensity and reach). The barriers, wherever available, formed the edge sections of the peripheral zone. These were also used for reclining, resting, hanging personal items and for expression (artwork).




Peripheral zones are primarily shaped by the core zone, but are more often affected by the nature of the periphery of neighbouring domains and happenings beyond. The edge areas allow a person to selectively taste the happenings of outside-world even while remaining inside. Peripheral zones are flexible, i.e. can be stretched or contracted from their nominal spread. Domain transgression occurs through the periphery. Peripheral zones are dual faced, so one can orient an activity towards or away from the core area. For any other positioning one may require strong metaphysical reason.


Peripheral zones often develop as an acutely specific zone. Study nooks in bedrooms, coffee rooms with the dining area, hobby zones in kitchens, home offices with vestibules, retiring rooms in private offices, vaults in banks, store rooms with homes and offices, wardrobes, shower stalls, change rooms in boutiques, cashiers’ cabins, pilot or driver’s cabins, reception counter, janitor area, services ducts, podiums in lecture halls, green rooms with a performance stage, ticket booths, telephone kiosks, are all examples of peripheral zones separated from the core zones.


Peripheral areas mark the end of one space entity and beginning of another one. Peripheral zones are thresholds to other space entities, and occur or are perceived to be an intermediate or buffer state. Thresholds are interactive areas, and alter (qualitatively) the elements transiting through it. Their activeness arises from their level of transparency and thickness (mass of the barrier) both of which control (rate, direction) the exchange. Thresholds also occur as an interstice on the overlapping barriers. Here two effects are simultaneously operative.

headquarters-library-building-725x483The space barriers, such as walls, roofs, awnings, curtains, partitions, ceilings, etc. form a focussed space. Yet these barriers also create segments that are more strongly attached to the periphery. The barriers, however, are always prone to change from outside effects. There are two distinct places for group mechanisms -the focal and the peripheral sections.


Lecture halls, bed rooms, modern kitchens are single activity areas, and so focussed units, but road side cafes are peripheral. An older style kitchen sourcing its services off a wall was more peripheral, whereas modern kitchens have island workstations, is more of the core centric arrangement. A drawing room like the dining area is focussed for an activity, but a family room is multi functional and so less focal. Fire was the focus of the primitive home, and TV has become the current focus of home gathering. A physical feed-based work station is peripheral, but a wireless notepad computer offers flexibility of being anywhere.