SIZE of SPACE

 

 

The Size of Space is perceived in terms of its utility (functional adequacy), ergonomics requirements, past experiences and sensorial reach capacities. The size of a space module is a large variant, but it is a function relative to the human body. Space sizes have interrelationships of proportions, analogy, sequencing, proximity, etc.; all these are absolute functions.

 

Size is fundamentally scaled to the human body, but it also represents capacities of retaining, spreading and distancing. These capacities also reflect the effort and duration required to possess, occupy, use and even dispose off (de-possess, de-occupy) the spatial entity.

 

THE SIZE

 

At Absolute level the size is perceived as the difference between the Length and Width of a space. It is seen as a narrow or wide entity. The height confers its own scale of narrowness or broadness to the space. Height accentuates or de-emphasizes the character of the space nominally contributed by the relation between the Length and the Width. The equality of Length and Width of space marks a balance.

 

The orientation of smaller or larger size gives a feel of a deep and shallow space. All these terms also give a sense of direction (long vs short) in the space.

 

At Relative level the size of a space is scaled to the body size of the occupants. Such scaling confers certain functionality to the space. The nature of cognition, reach, communication and exchanges are function of the space size. The levels of intimacy, the loss of objectivity and subjective involvements that occur in a space, are governed by its size (related to the body of the occupants). The size is seen as the facility of accommodation and also future potential for alternation, improvisation, and personalization. Size in a neighbourhood space is perceived in terms of the reach. Whatever is within reach (of touch, vision, hearing or smell) is considered the neighbourhood space. Here the recognition of reach also defines its functional adequacy for interpersonal relationships and related behaviour. The sizes are defined by the mutual relationship between spatial elements and their perception.

 

A hazy or foggy atmosphere dulls the perception of such elements, as much as a bright sunny day highlights the spatial elements through enhanced light and shadow differentiation. Past midnight in absence of nearby background noises, the far-off sounds are acutely heard, increasing the extent of the neighbourhood space.

 

A space is perceived to be small, adequate or large in terms of various tasks, and in terms of responses it offers such as echoes, reverberation, reflection, illumination, glares, vision. Same space may be seen to be of a different size depending on the recent experiences.

 

Most people find hospital wards to be very strange (large). A patient, in a large ward of a public hospital, experiences the very large space to be strange compared to domestic (home) spaces, because the space size proportions are different, surfaces are harder and less absorbent (causing reverberation to be different), background noises are less passive, illumination levels are brighter during day and night, furniture and furnishings are unusual, in addition to sickness and weakened mental faculties. Occupation of domains with unusual proportions (combinations of lengths, widths, and height) and sizes require extra efforts of accommodation.

 

Functionality and the environment are difficult to separate, as one seems to manifest the other. For a lay person, spaces within the known range (of recognition) are predictable and so manageable. The strangeness or alienation of a space is reduced by introducing scalable elements. The scalable elements in a space include repetitions, rhythmic evolution, structured patterning, sensory gradation, acceleration-de-acceleration, graduated changeovers, linkages, relationships through modulation and proportioning, etc.

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SPACE and HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

 

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Human behaviour in a space results from many individual factors, such as the cognition system, metabolism, past experiences, etc. Perception of space results from cognitive faculties, their capacities, and physiological needs. The perception of space is also affected by the inherited (intuitive) and learnt (intellectual) knowledge. The space occupants also respond to the presence of other beings as well as the means and methods of communication (expression and its perception) being used.

 

Responses of Space occupants are of broadly THREE categories.

 

Physiological Responses

 

The Physiological responses at a very basic level relate to survival, health, well being and comfort. At other levels physiological responses include making expressions, conducting movements, and reaching out. Physiological Responses to the environment develop as immediate as well as historical effects of the climate. These also include the spatial occupation representing the ‘dimensional manifestation of the human-body’ and its ‘task functionality’. Physiological consequences also depend on the supportive means available: for controlling the stability and mobility, for achieving comfort, for increasing the efficiency and productivity. The supportive systems (or reach tools) extend the basic sensorial functions like vision, hearing, touch, taste, etc. beyond their nominal capacities. All types of physiological responses are affected by age, sex, level of adaptation, familiarity, consistency, variability, limb capacity, body-limb coordination, etc.

 

Psychological Responses

 

Psychological responses to Space include mental and the perception capacities, intuitive (inherited) and intellectual (learnt) faculties. These Responses relate to perception, cognition, and the reaction mechanism.

 

Perception is a process of becoming aware of the environment around, including other human beings, through the sensations of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. Cognition is the mental processing by thinking about, remembering, or evaluating the sensory information.

 

Response mechanisms are concurrently active with perception and cognition. Response mechanisms are initiated mental and physiological processes, Physiological changes are both automatic or voluntary, or instinctive to intentional. Psychological responses to space often precede the physiological responses.

 

Sociological Responses

 

Sociological responses involve inter-personal and group behaviour dynamics, expression and communication. These responses pose a very complex spectrum of human behaviour. Sociological responses reflect the social needs of the occupants and also awareness of their implications. The space, environment and the inhabitants together foster a social-contact mechanism. Sociological responses nominally occur for the co-occupants that are present but sometimes through the metaphoric presences. Metaphoric presence of others is reinforced primally by the historical context (what we have been told or learnt) and associations.

 

Our responses to other beings and social interactions regulate what we share and empathise. Responses with other occupants depend on the awareness about sex, age, stature, need, social position, degree of familiarity, distance and recognition (through cognition).

 

We exploit the features of space to condition the sociological responses. This include marking the inter-distance, body exposure and nature of communication. At other level we exploit the environmental conditions for sensorial vulnerability and degree of congeniality.

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HAND RAILS

 

 

A hand rail is the topmost component of barricade systems like parapet or railing. Hand rails, without the barricading system, are provided in hotel lobbies, corridors, passages as a guide rail or an indicative element. The hand rail functions as guide rail as there no height related or other hazards are operative in such areas. As an indicative barrier it demarcates restricted areas. Such hand rails are not protective as a barricade but provide psychological support (assurance) for the hand or body. In this sense it has only a decorative function.

 

A wall-mounted hand rail is used as gripping element, for travel along inclined or a slippery floor. Wall hand rails are required in toilets to change the posture. Hand rails are also provided on ships, sail boats and railway engines for holding in high winds and storms. Hand rails are heated or cooled by water or oil circulation depending on the external weather conditions. Top hand rails or hanging rails are used in buses and metro trains for commuters to remain stable in high speed conditions and against breaking forces. Top hand rails also have hangers for grabbing to meet varied anthropometric profiles of commuters. Hand rails are also used for guiding visually impaired persons in horizontal movement.

 

A hand rail is the uppermost section of a barricade and so it is often used for resting against it, for placing hands, spreading elbows, or for gripping. Hand rails are provided with extra widths and higher height for supporting the elbow. For hand support and gripping appropriate sectional profiles are required.

 

Standards for hand rail design are:

 

A handrail is defined as either a circular cross section with an outside diameter of 32 mm minimum and 50 mm maximum, or a non-circular cross section with a perimeter dimension of 100 mm minimum and 160 mm maximum, and a cross section dimension of 57 mm maximum. For a handrail with a perimeter dimension greater than 160 mm, a graspable finger recess area is to be provided on both sides of the profile. Handrails are located at a height between 860 mm and 960 mm. In areas where children use the facility, a second set of handrails at a maximum height of 710 mm (as measured from the ramp surface or stair nosing to the top of the gripping surface) is necessary. Sufficient vertical clearance between primary and secondary handrails should be minimum 230 mm to prevent entrapment of children. The distance between the wall and handrail is very important. Common requirements are between 38 and 57 mm.

 

A handrail on one side of a stairway is always necessary, (even where both sides are walls) and on both sides, if the stairway is more than 1000 mm wide. All stairways, balconies and certain other areas above ground level which are likely to be used for other than just maintenance, must also have a balustrade or guard. With a wide balustrade the actual or the effective width of a stair, balcony or passage is reduced. The clear unobstructed width between a wall face and the internal face of a balustrade or between two internal faces of handrails is considered as an allowable passage.

Rail for Adults and Children

 

 

Other Function of Hand Rail

 

A handrail serves many other functions, it often provides a lateral stability to the barricade system and joins pieces of barricade into a functional whole. Hand rails used for supporting the body may be designed to be non-continuous (for one or few persons), but hand rails used for horizontal movement such as in stairs, ramps, escalators, walkways etc. must be continuous. Continuous handrails are called: over-the-post and besides the post, and non-continuous handrails are called post-to-post and newel-to-newel.

 

Positions or building elements that are likely to be unintentionally or abusively used as a hand rail, are designed or treated to prevent such a misuse. Some of the means used to discourage the usage are spikes, sharp knife edge profiles, sloped top face, or coating with non drying (green or ever-wet) paints. However, wider surfaces hand rails are provided to support planters and cut off the view of areas immediately close-below. Some handrails also have foot rails that are similar to Bar stools‘ foot rests.

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ITEM or DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS

 

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The Item or Design specifications are very traditional. These are used for execution, manufacturing, fabricating, erecting, for procuring ready-made objects, and also for effecting various services. The term Design here means any scheme, as such orally conveyed, written, drawn, or otherwise implied. Design or scheme specifies constituents, processes of combining, synthesizing a coherent entity or system, method of care and handling the men, materials, machines, and the entity itself as it is being created.

 

Primary instinct for a human effort is to create a Recipe or Process. We think or enact the thing we desire, and then project the intentions as: 1 list of physical inputs (ingredients), 2 step by step method (time sequence), 3 list of things to do and not to do (human intervention). A fair mix of first two (aspects) can provide an object, but not a deliverable entity. It is the last aspect that helps create an occasion or situation specific working entity and with definite level of efficiency.

 

A recipe is a perfect example of a design specification. When a design (recipe) is specified for a product and once readied (with reasonable sincerity), a client has to pay for it even if it fails on acceptability count. As a result, writing Item or Design Requirements is never advisable, unless the specifiers have had recent experience, at designing a nearly Identical Item, and fully comprehend all aspects of the design problem.

 

SPECIFICATIONS FOR A DESIGNED OBJECT

 

A Designer prepares the Item or design specifications, (materials, procedures and conditions of origin), so that contractor or vendor can provide the stated item. In this method a contractor or vendor gets no freedom to use alternative materials or execute it differently.

 

If there is an uncommon item, the contractor will invariably charge more for the extraordinary effort or customization. This process does not assure that in spite of a sincere execution and diligent supervision a functional product will be delivered. The Item specifications specify ‘physical adequacy of the item while seeking a hypothetical performance’.

 

SPECIFICATIONS FOR SOURCING A READY-MADE OBJECT

 

Item specification for acquiring a ready-made object by a designer tends to be even more restrictive. The specifications either have to match the standards followed by the Industry or match some ‘super’ supplier’s specifications. Failing either of the conditions, one has to pay the extra cost of customizing a regular or standard item. In the later case the assurance nominally available for the regular or standard item are unlikely to be offered for the altered form.

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CARPETS and DESIGNS

 

Symbolism of Overall Design: Individual motifs included in the design of carpets have certain inherent symbolism, but the carpet as a whole usually had a central theme. For example, in Persian carpets had a theme as the Garden of Eden, a symbol of eternal paradise. The flowers, birds, and water, all symbolized a freedom from the harsh desert, and a promise of eternal happiness.

 

The Garden of Eden concept has continued on in the Oriental designs. Garlands, vines, flowers, trees, animals, and beasts all together create a landscape, picturing hunting scenes or game, lakes with water birds, and often ‘images of supernatural or celestial beings, such as jinn, houris, or a gathering of the blissful righteous at a banquet or dance’. The verses are included to support the image, lyrically extolling the carpet as a garden.

 

Rugs and carpets are more formal and are designed as stand alone or independent units. Whereas tapestries are often conceived as sub parts of larger design or configuration. Laces were primarily designed as borders.

 

Designs usually consist of an inner field -the pattern in the centre of the carpet, and a border. The border as the frame on a picture, to emphasize the limits and isolate the field. The design of inner field and border were mutually harmonizing, but distinct entities.

 

Borders consist of a minimum of three elements: a main band, which varies greatly in width according to the size of the item and the elaborateness of the field design. The inner stripes and outer guard stripes accompany the main band on its sides. The guard stripes may be the same on both sides of the main band, or be different.

 

Inner Field: The inner field consists of an all-over pattern, a panel composition, or a medallion item. The all-over pattern may be of identical repeats, juxtaposed or evenly spaced. It may also be of varied motifs in a unified system. The design almost invariably includes bilaterally balanced repetitions. The varied motif type of design is found often in representations of the parks or woods.

 

The most frequent medallion composition consists of a central patterned field, complemented with corner pieces. But multiple-medallions are also developed as a chain of medallions on the vertical axis, two or more forms of medallions alternating in bands, and spotted medallions that may or may not be interconnected or interlocked.

 

BRICKS SURFACES

 

Bricks are fired clay blocks. Quality and Colour of bricks vary from region to region mainly due to different types of soils being used. Brick quality and colour also depend on the additives, firing technique and temperature. The colour of brick is a primary indicator of its soundness.

 

Under burnt and low temperature fired bricks are more absorbent compared to over burnt and high temperature bricks. Hand-pressed bricks are less compact than machine-made bricks, and as a result absorbs more water. Hollow and perforated bricks are extrusion-machine cast by from wet and plastic mass. Roofing tiles and facing brick tiles are die mould-cast from slightly less wet mass.

 

Exposed bricks surfaces are created for its decorative appeal and also as the inevitable surfacing. Exposed brick surfaces (un-plastered brick masonry surfaces) of walls, floors and occasionally the underside of roofs (Jack-arch roofs, domes and arches) are created with uniform brick colour and texture or sometimes with slight variegated shading.

 

Bricks of exposed masonry surface, if permeable allow bacterial growth such as mould, fungi etc. on the surface. Soluble salts present in the clay, usually get decomposed during the burning but immediately after highest temperature of firing and while cooling, sulphate of sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium are formed with the help of sulphur from the fumes of the fuels. These salts on contact with absorbed moisture leach out on the surface. Most of the sulphate gets washed away from the masonry surface, but magnesium sulphate does not leach out readily. It expands and causes crack in bricks. Calcium sulphate though not easily leached out, settles on the surface to form whitish scum.

 

Porous and rough brick surfaces are better for mortar adhesion than an impervious smooth surface of a very vitrified brick, Over burnt or highly vitrified bricks have very low suction capacity for mortar binding. Over-burnt bricks are dimensionally deformed due to running of the mass and unsuitable for masonry work.

 

Next to the Bricks self colour, texture and quality, the quality of the masonry surface is characterized by the joints. The colour of the joint material, its pattern gives a different look to the wall masonry or flooring. The joints are racked (deep grooved), flushed or projected out, all with selective emphasis on horizontal or the vertical. Flushed with string mark type of pointing is considered best, however for dramatic effect racked and projected joints are preferred. Unlike the projected or grooved pointing, flushed pointing does not retain dirt or water in its holds. The string marks are adequate guide path for any hair crack that may develop in the joints.

 

The masonry inter joint material and the joint surface pointing material both must surpass the overall performance of the bricks. High adhesion, low permeability and suitable colour matching are some of the attributes of a good jointing-pointing material.

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DATA for PROFESSIONALS

 

Work of a professional begins with the mandatory data / prime information provided by the client. When a professional comes to know of a job and the potential client, the professional must postulate own schedules of data requirements. In the first or first few encounters a professional must check out the capacity of the client to furnish such data.

 

In exceptional cases, where the client is invisible and represented by a statutory body, very little data is likely to be available. Where a client is incapable of providing the data, it is up to the professional to get the same collected, with the client’s consent and cost.

 

A professional may not have the right to use the data collected for, and paid by a client, for any other client or purpose. Whenever a client provides a crucial data like sizes, technical requirements, permissions etc. the transfer of information should be formal and well recorded.

 

In some cases it is only the client, who can provide the necessary input, and must be made aware of the situation. A client should also be made formally aware of data that is being procured by the designer as part of a chargeable service or courtesy. Whenever a chargeable service is provided, a formal pre-approval / consent of the client is necessary.

 

A professional cannot object to client’s right to procure the data from other professionals or sources. As a matter of fact, it is considered a professional decency to make a client aware of own right.

 

A professional however competent will require the services of other professionals. Where main professional pays for such professionals, he also exclusively appoints them and receives the output. Often the main professional has no role, or only an advisory role in such appointments. If an external agency is retained by the client to procure data, all the resultant output becomes the exclusive property of the client. The client has a right to make available, to a professional, only the relevant parts of such information.

 

Normally the person who pays, receives the output, and has the first and exclusive right to the data. The party that pays for data, also acquires the inherent risks and liabilities.

 

When a professional, directly hires another professional, the risks and liabilities increase. However if a client hires other professionals, the risks and liabilities of the main professional are diluted. Contributions from independent professionals should be favoured, because these provide greater clarity, a counter check, division of responsibilities and dilution of risks.