Post 200 –by Gautam Shah 



Grills are primarily protection devices in openings, but have been used as an ornamental element. Grills are placed in apertures, windows, doors, other gaps and also over walls. Grills are used barricades such as the as parapets on terraces, in balconies, galleries or at the edge of any elevated level. Grills are also used as transparent divider on roads and as estate boundaries. First grills were just heaps or stacks of twigs or thorny branches against any trespass-able opening. Fixed grills were created by or inserting wood sticks into the sides of the openings.

Reja Cathedral_of_Toledo,_1226_and_later_(9)_(29729883686)

Grills of stones or trellis are created in buildings. These Jalis provided protection and privacy. Metal grills of Bronze and Cast steel provided unbreakable and thin body material. The metals were shaped by casting, forging, bending and joining.

Sidi Sayyad Mosque .jpg


Grills of metal began to reflect the artistic fantasy, almost as close to a sculpture, mural or painting. It was possible to create many a different pattern. Grills had simple linear patterns of geometry as well as floral compositions. The lines of the composition were moulded into a planner (2D) or cubical (3D) profiles, by infinite sectional variations. The profile variations made the grill visible in different forms from different view angles. Grills themselves were initially planner elements, but now began to be moulded to form multi-curved surfaces and multi lateral 3D configurations like sculptures. A well-designed grill can be ornamentation yet be a functional entity.



Indian prostitutes peeking out from the doorways of their brothel - Lahore 1946

A predominantly vertical configuration in a grill pattern expresses a masculinity, heavy or solidity, and looks over bearing. It obstructs the vision through it. Vertical configurations in grills are psychologically associated with an enforced confinement or jail.


A predominantly horizontal grill pattern allows restricted, but wide horizontal level of vision, and so seems less masculine, solid or imposing. Horizontal patterns are too dependent on their surrounding elements to be effective, and as a result need lots of design co-ordinations.

St Peters


A curvilinear or floral pattern looks effeminate. Such grills arrest the vision into themselves, and so survive on their own. However, such patterns tend to be symbolic representations, and may seem out of place in any other context.


Grills are used to soften or harden the effect of other architectural elements. A semi circular stone arch bereft of any carvings or appendages can be made to look softer and less dominant by a suitable grill pattern. Similarly a flowing pointed arch or multi curved arch with flutes etc. can be made little more over bearing or imposing by geometric patterned grill.


Grills are used to divide very large open faces or gaps into visually manageable sections. Grills over Chowk areas in old Delhi and Northern India houses are used as walkways for accessing rooms across the Chowk and also for sleeping and drying clothes.

Latticed Roof





Post 199 —by Gautam Shah



Gap as Door

Doors have dual expressions, the interior and the exterior one. The interior expression relates to the enclosure, restraint, control, predictable behaviour, family, a way of life, virtues, etc. The exterior expression is associated with unpredictable conditions, unrestrained behaviour, memories, connection to other elements of building, the relationship and comparison with other openings. The interior and exterior expressions interpolate to form the street or neighbourhood. The neighbourhood manifests at the threshold. It is the most dilemmatic element of the building. And it is this behavioural indecisiveness that causes very strongly differentiated architectural representation. The interior and exterior differences are perceived through the resultant architectonic vocabulary. The Door itself may be physically identical on both the faces, but its adjacent elements endow a different image.


Exterior doors are synonymous with many objects and expressions, such as, the entrance, gate, gateway, passage, portal, access, admission, admittance, ingress and way-in. Interior doors represent relief, escape, exit, safety, security, privacy, assurance, and control.

httpswwwflickr comphotosbrighton4866414978In various cultures, doors opening outward and inward, imply peculiar meaning. A door opening outward shows that one needs to be more accessible to others. Roman society permitted individuals of high honour to have external door opening outward. An inward opening door, however, indicates a desire for inner exploration and self-discovery. Common citizens of Roman society had doors opening inward. The door was always open to a stranger and community, secured by a dog or its image. Roman Goddess Cardea had powers obtained the Door god Janus ‘to open what is shut and to shut what is open’.

Railway Carriage Doors Inside-Outside-Sliding

For the Japanesethe door to happiness opens outward. A door simply imposes itself upon the room when it opens inward. Having the door open inwards has the outside intruding upon the inside’.

Feudal schools of etiquette prescribe all kinds of norms for opening a door and coming into a room. Sukisha, well-bred people use the hand, nearest the door to open it a few inches (the length of a forefinger, to be exact) and then switch hands to slide it back the rest of the way. A man is judged by how he opens a door and a woman by how she shuts. This is so because in a room with a group of men, a woman served the food and take a leave. She would be observed closing the door behind her with grace. The balanced and graceful action of folding down one’s knees on the floor, moving into a room, keeping at a level equal to others already in the room, were part of larger ceremony. The skills of opening and closing a sliding Japanese doors are part of reishiki, proper form or etiquette.

Screenshot 2021-12-03 at 10-17-23 Awesome Japanese Tea Room Wallpapers - WallpaperAccess

The exterior door is pronounced due to elements and functions that forms the entrance. In modern cities, the exterior door, as the entrance, is omni present at street level. The same door begins to diminish when the buildings are fed by underground parking, subterranean metro trains. In media, the window and the wall structure now carry the image of the city and the building, which was once sensed by the entrance. High level access from elevated track roads and trains, air and helicopter travel, is reinforcing the image of architecture that has no setting for the door. The door technology instead of being dependent on the physical form for the shutter, is moving to invisible surveillance and control.


Pavel Benkov. 1931

An exterior door is the major or more used opening system and it controls the illumination, intrusion, acoustical disturbance, visual engagement, social interference, movement of air and pollution and thermal emissions. Throughout history and across cultures, doors, doorways, portals, gates and thresholds have been potent objects and symbols of superstition, rites and rituals, psychological change, transcendental and religious experience.




The interior doors are now less frequent in spaces. Single space residences, single or two person occupancy homes, open-office layouts, multi-shop malls, all have fewer inner doors. Interior spaces are more recognized by the amenities and facilities, rather then the architectural barriers including doors. An interior door is a facility, and a demountable and relocatable one. An interior door leads one out of a space, to another space, but that can also occur with a plain gap. Interior doors in a passage are bridgeheads.




Post 198 –by Gautam Shah


Steel Palm House Greenhouse Glass Architecture

The window like its counterpart the door was a solid shuttered opening in clod climates and a latticed one in warm climates. It did not offer any other options. The first alternative was provided by the soft covering like a curtain. It offered translucency of diffused light and privacy, but did not protect the interior from high winds, rains or cold.



512px-Village_window_in_T_gollarahatti,a_village_near_channagiri,davenagereThe first glass in an opening was the little cast disk fixed in the roofs. The disks were cast in sand shallow pits, and partially ground to improve its translucency. Technologically it was not possible to produce larger disks and of better transparency. Other materials for window covering were leather (as parchment), wax or oil coated woven clothes, thin pieces of alabaster, and in the orients -the paper.


The first window glass ‘panes began to be produced after 1st C AD. These were sheets flattened out of blown glass jars or bottles. Two types of glass were flattened, one was the bottom disc and the other was the cylindrical wall of the blown form. Both, however, retained some curvature of the body, and had poor quality. The poor quality resulted from the inferior glass production technology, retention of curvilinear patterns, poor flattening surface, and poor annealing technology (to remove stresses to make it less brittle). Small size and its slightly curved shape made fixing very difficult.

First commercially (16-17C) produced windows glass was broad cylinder sheet. It was known as broad or muff glass. It was formed by cutting a blown glass cylinder sideways and flattening on a table when still hot. It had uneven thickness, lines marks, and was stuck with dust, sand particles, air bubbles. It was produced till 18 C but the process remained in use till 19 C due to its low requirement of technology. Crown Glass which replaced the cylinder glass, was a flattened bottom disk of a blown glass bulb. It was to an extent was clearer. It had high lustre and lesser stuck-on impurities. It had though unique concentric rings.

Bhutan Houses show many of the ancient usage of glass

Bhutan Houses show many of the ancient usage of glass

Large openings were sub-divisioned by mullions of wood, stone or metals. But technologically the glass was not large enough to cover the inter-mullion space. So small pieces of glass were joined by lead, and very occasionally with crude mastic compound of bitumen. The lead joints and mullions both were used to form patterns. The mullions were of stiffer materials, so formed little stiffer or geometric patterns whereas the lead was soft option amenable to floral and artistic linear patterning. The third option, now added, was to exploit glass casting figures, tinge variations, and manufacturing defects as colour-texture-transparency variations.


Kengo Kuma's Water -Glass structure in Atami, Shizuoka Prefectur

The window in spite of its static form and glass limitations was a very lively interior surface. The builder also realized the importance of quality of light on various orientations. The windows were devised in consideration of the quality of light from various directions, the scheduling of activities within the building, its profile and location (chamfered inside-outside, low level or clerestory). The nature of Interior treatments, such as paintings (fresco, gesso, etc.), murals (marble, glass mosaic, etc.), gilding, wood work, stone cladding, engraved surfacing, etc. were all affected by the quality of glass in the window, and in turn affected the type of glass being used in the windows.


Glass began as a little disk for interior illumination. The Glass took several centuries to achieve sheet form and equal time space to achieve the state of a plate. During this period there were two potentials that were eagerly being sought. Glass as roofing material arrived at the end of 18 th C. If the glass could be roofing sheet, the glass as floor had to wait 250 years. Glass was first produced as blown cylinder and bulb, but rarely conceived as curved sheet for windows. The urge was already there. Corners in buildings were omni present hindrance, and to dissolve it various solutions including glass to glass joints were attempted, but never a curved glass. Glass has inherent limitations of shape forming, and this has allowed Acrylics and Polycarbonates as replacement materials.   4458669998_cd56598dc2_z



Post 197 – by Gautam Shah 


City Architecture Skyscrapers Skyscraper Architect

When a person professes skill for a negotiated compensation and conditions, then the person is called a professional. This is very contrary to a situation where a person gets paid a time bound amount -a salary, for discharge of a skill. Salaried people, however, well skilled, are not considered to be true professionals.


A salary, does not reflect the true value, but rather a generalized cost of the skill. Salary is also not linked to a quality assurance or time bound delivery. Salary as an income does not motivate a person to maximize the productivity and creativity.

Professionals can profess skills for their clients. Professional need clients, with specific assignments and certain compensation. Professionals, themselves become clients, when they need technical help, and are willing to compensate someone with appropriate skill.??????????????????

A professional is required to behave professionally with:

  • another professional of the same skill
  • other professional/s but of different skills
  • other individuals who help to carry out the assignments
  • person /persons who retain the professional for the technical services such as the clients.
  • society in general.


When a professional deals with another professional, it needs to be examined, if the contact has a professional to client or client to professional context. If not, than the relationship is very predictable. Both the parties profess the same skills and so follow similar norms of behaviour. However, when the context is professional to a client or vice-versa, then one is a retainer and the other is retained one. The relationship is like any other ordinary client and professional relationship.


A professional sports-person is one who is no longer an amateur, i.e. one who can be commissioned with a fee, for the skills for a specific situation like a game or a sports event. A crafts-person who produces artefacts in a workshop and later sells it to a connoisseur, is not a professional, as the products were not created as an assignment. On a similar count an artist or a sculptor who creates a work of art and sells it in an exhibition, is also not a professional. A muralist, however, is a professional, as the person is retained for a fee to mount a mural, at a specific location. A chartered accountant working, as a financial executive in a company for a salary, is not a professional, though the membership to a chartered body may endow a status that of a professional. Similarly, a doctor working in a hospital on a salary is not a professional, though he may behave with all the professionalism expected of a true medical professional. A cook, magician, actor, barber and prostitute, are all true professionals, if are retained with a fee for a specific assignment. A salaried ship captain, army General, or a professor, all may show utmost professionalism in their work or duties, yet are not true professionals..

Pankaj Advani Professional sports-person

Pankaj Advani Professional sports-person

Society expects a certain kind of behaviour from a person who is assigned a task for a fee. This unique behaviour or professionalism is set by:


1 Person own-self: A professional is always an individual entity, because the individual own-self is the prime originator of professional behaviour. A professional’s behaviour or the professionalism is always judged as an individual.

Larry King Broadcaster

Larry King Broadcaster

2 Professionals themselves (professing similar skills) as a group: Formal codification of behaviour norms for a particular profession excludes the newer peripheral skills. New skills demand slightly different type of behaviour norm. Entrenched practitioners of a profession cannot tolerate the altered or additional behaviour norms required for the new skills. When conditions to become or remain a professional are very formal (written or neatly described), creative individuals feel stifled. They try to reform the existing set-up to cause a change, or step-out to form a new organization. In both cases, the existing organization suffers, or is destroyed.


3 Society in general: Over a period of time, the behaviour of all persons in a particular profession becomes so obvious or predictable that, these professionals seem to be directly or indirectly, visibly or invisibly governed by a set of `ethics’, code of conduct, or rules-regulations. All such rules, codes etc. however, can never be formally set, explained, or written. Many are traditions or universally accepted norms.

4 Authority or Government through rule of the law: Unless other conditions are fully or partially met, the rule of law on its own cannot set the professional behaviour and consequently create a professional. The fourth condition, is a matter of legality or rather a necessary evil.


DJ Ian playing at DIangyang Music Festival





Post 196 – by Gautam Shah


Rif;ing firearms refers to helical groovings into the barrel of a gun for the purpose of exerting torque and imparting a spin to a projectile

Natural and Industrially-produced materials require some degree of surface preparations or treatments before being put to functional use or for readying it for the next process. The next processes could be surface application like coating, cladding, mounting, plating, joining, welding, levelling, cleaning, washing, ph balancing, static removal, etc. Surface preparation could involve processes that induce new surface qualities such as textures, ionization, etc.

Card_scraper_-_making_violinThe surface preparation at simplest level could be checking and assuring, mainly through visual observation and touch-feel that no foreign materials have remained on the surface, and all loose (removable) materials are detached. These simple processes ensure integrity of the surface.

Record Player Music Record Vinyl Turntable Needle

Surface preparation is required for material objects with their own natural or process-formed surfaces. It is also necessary for further processing of material objects and application of surface finish systems.


Surface preparations are physical, chemical and mechanical processes.


  • Physical processes are used to remove unwanted particles or materials (such as rust, nodules, residual deposits, dust or grease, lubricants, cutting-oils, etc.) adhering to the surface. Rubbing, air-dusting, vacuum cleaning, wiping, water-bathing, etc. remove such adhered materials. The particles have remained on the surface due to the holding by surface texture, bonding or ion attraction, and horizontal storage. Washing with soap or a surface active agent (surfactant) can weaken the ion attraction break the weak molecular bond generate by-products that can be removed easily.

Hot-dip galvanizing on a steel handrail.

  • Chemical processes include acid-alkali treatments and solvent washing. The processes roughen, etch or smoothen the surface. In many instances the resultant by-product is beneficial or neutral, so allowed to remain on the surface. In other instances a secondary treatment is required just to remove the by-products of the first treatment. Sometimes Surface preparation agents themselves are the primary surface finishes. Such agents cover the surface area as an intermediary film. Such films help in bonding of the final surface finish. Chemical processes also include burnishing, flame-treatments, surface annealing and hardening, cathodic modification, sputtering and material’s depositions.


  • Mechanical Processes affect the surface superficially. Cleaning the surface by removal processes include abrading, grinding, rubbing, blasting, planning, chipping, etc. There are several surface preparation processes that instead of removing materials, only alter the surface with newer textures by engraving, patterning, surface deformation, etc.



  • New application of surfaces is made to level or create textured surfaces. Some such processes are integral to art-painting methods. The levelling plasters are made with plastic soils (such as used in pottery), and various qualities of lime or chalk materials. In many instances the powdered mineral and colourants are `loaded’ on a freshly coated `wet’ surface. Colours are also blown as dry powders or applied as pastes and dabbed (pressed) into the wet plaster. Such wet coloured plaster surfaces are then engraved or embossed with textures to facilitate the penetration of colours. Similar techniques are used to produce a bass or relief effects, or provide a highlighting boundary to the drawn object.

Major and Knapp Engraving Co. Park Place, N.Y. Abstract medium print lithograph, tinted

  • Gesso, a mixture of plaster of Paris (or gypsum) with size, is the traditional ground. The first layer is of gesso grosso, a mixture of coarse, un-slaked plaster and size. This provides a rough, absorbent surface for ten or more thin coats of gesso sotile, a smooth mixture of size and fine plaster previously slaked in water to retard drying. This labourious preparation results, however, in an opaque, brilliant white, light-reflecting surface, similar in texture to hard, flat icing sugar.





Post 195 –by Gautam Shah 



Systems specifiers like a designer deal with a product or system only occasionally and do not get frequent feedback, whereas a system provider (such as the supplier, manufacturer, fabricator or installer) is consistently involved in supply field, and receives feedback from diverse sources. System providers as a result have a better understanding and capacity to improvise the product. A system specifier may specify a technologically adequate system, but a system provider offers a technologically superior and economically most appropriate item.

Trump International Hotel

Trump International Hotel

A designer as a system specifier must work in close collaboration with the markets (represented as the supplier, manufacturer, fabricator or installer, etc.). To specify performance, ideally a system specifier and the parties capable of submitting the proposal or bid, both must have a consensus as to what the requirements are. But this type of neutral interaction is not possible or desirable in Government deals. So it is desired that requirements of performance are specified quantitatively rather than qualitatively. Qualitative data can provide varying interpretations and cause misunderstandings, but quantitative data is easily verifiable.


From WW-II, and even before that vast majority of buildings (plants, products, systems) were procured using detailed design prescriptions. These contained specifications, standards, manufacturing drawings, processes, inspection procedures, etc. From 1964 and chiefly from 1993 committees of US Department of Defence proposed that objective Performance standards be offered. It is an accurate statement of the needs or performance expected of an entity and ways how that will be assessed.


Performance specifications, unlike the Design specifications (item specifications) do not prescribe the means or methods for achieving the results, or creating a product. Design specifications exactly define the quality of raw materials, processes to convert the raw materials into a deliverable product. The suppliers or vendors have no freedom to choose any other (even if better and economic) materials and methods. Products created with design specifications create a huge liability as the owner-designer, are responsible for ‘design and related omissions, errors, and deficiencies in the specifications and drawings’.

Lexus Car

Lexus Car

Performance specifications define the functional requirements for the product, the environment in which it must operate, and the interface and interchangeability requirements. Performance Specifications tell a manufacturer, vendor, supplier or provider: What is considered to be an acceptable product? And How will the product’s acceptability be judged?


Performance specifications state the requirements in terms of the results to be achieved and provide criteria for verifying the compliance.

〉 Performance and Verification: Any condition, characteristic, or capability that must be achieved, and is essential for item to perform in the perceived environment must be plausible and verifiable.

〉 Restrictions in Performance Specifications: Performance specifications must not limit a provider to specific materials, processes (including quality of man power or equipments), parts, etc. One can, however, prohibit certain materials, processes, or parts when authorities have declared quality, reliability, or safety concerns such materials, technics or processes, as for example environmentally harmful technologies. Upper and/or lower performance characteristics can only be stated as requirements, but not as goals or best efforts.

Servers Data Center Server Room Computers

〉 Structural, Architectural and Interior Design jobs and Performance Specifications: Such jobs consist mainly of industrially produced and standard components, but their composition (fabrication, installation or siting) is a unique phenomenon. Performance specifications at parts or components level are not very difficult to implement. Adopting a performance specification strategy for large complex systems, or whole projects is a very difficult proposition. Design professionals can overcome this problem by consciously moving towards self-sufficient systems like plug-in modules, rather then excessively customized products that remain one-time efforts. Performance specifications at lower levels such as for replaceable components and spares, should include essentials for interchangeability and inter-portability.

090929-F-8127S-182It is very difficult to conceive a fresh set of exclusive performance specifications. But one can gradually and consciously reformat the traditional specifications with inclusion of performance parameters for standard parts and components.




Post 194 – by Gautam Shah



A building’s interior climate is perceived for the actual inhabitants of the space. The users have personal likes and dislikes about the environment. Users have different levels of acclimatization. But most important of all, the inhabitants age over a period of time. Unlike a building, these factors are changeable, so when buildings as structures can be designed to be more or less static entities, the interiors must remain ever transient and adoptive. The interior facilities, amenities and the systems, parts, components, materials, are conceived to be replaceable or capable of adjusting to the varied demands.

Climate - Dwelling 2 .jpg

Climate - Dwelling 1

Inhabitants inhabit a building by carrying out activities, for duration, in an appropriate location, and with the help of distinctive tools or amenities. They have a unique adoptive capacity. Their acclimatization, psychological and physical states take time to get formatted, and as a result, the inhabitants need adjustive facilities to continuously modulate their living style.

An interior climate is substantially ‘place’ and ‘time’ dependent. The place, its location within the building shell, orientation, quality of structure and nature of abutting internal surrounding elements, all collectively define the quality of interior climate environment. The time element determines the scheduling and placement of activities that take place in the building shell. It influences the activities to occur simultaneously in different places or sequentially in the same place. We take advantage of the natural resources by time scheduling and orienting the activities.

Hyderabad India Apartments

Hyderabad India Apartments

Time scheduling is very important for efficient inhabitation of a building. Timings of our activities are also dependent on the biological cycles of the body. Orientation is closely linked to the gravity, and the sense of right, left, front, back. Schedules and locations of all activities need some adjustments, as one solution never works for all days of the year.

The interior climate of a building is considered in the context of its inhabitants, their occupation or habitation style. Activities are planned depending on the participants’ age, sex, liking, choices, partners, the availability of amenities, etc.

Mumbai India Chawls (Apartments)

Mumbai India Chawls (Apartments)

Amenities support the inhabitation of a building. Activities are preferably anchored to a location, if they require acutely modulated spaces, complex or large size amenities, and run for substantial duration of time. Demountable and relocatable amenities, however, provide a freedom to modulate the living style varying needs of inhabitants and their visitors, over a very long period of living.

Indian One room Dwelling

Indian One room Dwelling

An interior climate begins to be relevant only after occupation of a building. More often than not building designers and architects have a very generalized view of the likely user. In many circumstances, the buildings outlast the original user-client, and continuously see change of users. Architects or building designers also have to offer climatic solutions within the overall style or the regimen of the building. They sometimes override the activity specific climatic requirements and orientation specific siting of activities. Where such adjustments are minor, a lay person can accommodate own-self, by appropriate improvisation. Complex situations or rigid designs however force inhabitants (or their Interior designers) to modulate the building shell from inside.

Montreal Habitat



Post 193 –  by Gautam Shah



We, conduct tasks more efficiently, in certain positions or postures. To achieve, maintain or terminate (transit to another one) postures we normally do not need devices, but for some posturing certain devices and amenities are required. The capacity to change over to another posture and sustain it depends on the physiological structure of the body, deformities, age related in-capacities, motor (movement-flexibility) potential and response time etc. Body posture devices and amenities are primarily designed to make available maximum energy for the activity. The posture-devices could be support available from other beings. The efficiency of task performance is a direct function of the body posture achieved.


Posture for home work

Posture for home work

Wissam's Human Space Theory Personal space for posturing

Wissam’s Human Space Theory Personal space for posturing

We need to take different types of body postures for conducting various tasks. The posture could be defined as main position of the body for the task, and micro variations that may be required for conducting sub-tasks. Other micro variations include postures for relief and diversion.

Posture for contemplation Caspar_Netscher_-_Young_Girl_Holding_a_Letter_(detail)_-_WGA16521

Posture for contemplation >> Caspar Netscher Young Girl Holding a Letter

Devices related to postures include amenities that allow work in certain position and body configuration. Other devices extend the reach of human limbs, and thereby reduce the need for posturing. Posture devices are also used for correcting deformities and work deficiencies of the body. Understanding of Postures is very important in design of furniture, amenities, facilities, tools, gadgets and machines.


Different postures of participants >> An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1768


Gravity is one of the most important factors to affect the postures and the need for posture related devices. Besides the conduction of a task, the postures are formed in consideration of the Environment such as for the heat exchange of the body and moisture control mechanisms. Postures must allow functioning of the important Biological routines such as breathing, metabolisms, fluid control, blood circulation, etc. Postures are taken primarily to conduct tasks, and also allow Sensorial perception. Posturing instinctively takes care of needs for Security and survival.

European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne, Expedition 21 commander, exercises on the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT) in the Harmony node of the International Space Station



Post 192 – by Gautam Shah 





Curtains, in history have preceded formal construction of a door or window. Crude forms of cover over openings have served the functions of doors and windows. Primitive covers over the openings, the curtains, were of woven mats bounded by a stiffer edge staff or stick. These were placed over the opening for protection, to reduce light, obstruct the breeze and rain, and to obtain privacy.

Screenshot_2019-10-21 Pinterest - India

Woven fabrics and mats that were used as floor spreads, the residual pieces of which were also used as cover for the window like gaps. The system of mat covering over a window continued even when the doors and windows had wood planks shutters. The soft-covering were no different from the solid plank doors or windows’ shutters, except that it was easier to manipulate. The soft-mat was hung from top, so could be drawn up by withdrawing from a corner, or folding bottom edge upward. The soft-woven mat was a robust-weave similar to the floor spreads, and did not allow any light, in a closed position.

Roll up cover for opening

Roll up cover for opening

Curtains of lighter fabrics material draped on a stick or taut rope provided a functional option to otherwise either open or shut opening system. Curtains have been traditionally mounted on rounded wood stick or metal rods with side brackets. Hanging was through vertical leather or inter-woven stripes seamed in the body of the curtain or over stitched as hanging loops.


For very long or heavy curtains, the straps were extended to the bottom edge of the curtain. The extended straps were covered either by a second layer of fabric or through pleating. The inner layer of fabric was thinner (sheer material like silk) and fluffed, or velvet like flocculated fabric providing simultaneously a glossy and dull interior surface. Outer fabrics were stronger but of a simple weave or decorative jacquard weave.

Over the wall mounting with pelmet

Over the wall mounting with pelmet

It was possible to accommodate a hanging rod within the wall thickness, but this gave dominance to the opening’s ‘surround’. During mediaeval and renaissance periods walls were comparatively thinner and internally fully panelled, which did not accommodate the hanging mechanism within the thickness or body-depth of the walls. Hanging rods were required to be mounted over the walls, now encased within heavy cornices, or head level bands (pelmets).

Maria Anna of Austria praying - heavy drapery

Maria Anna of Austria praying – heavy drapery

Good quality production of lace and tapestries encouraged curtains with decorative borders. Borders in a curtain occurred not only at the edges and seams but were extended as drapes.


A fringed valance, cascades, festoons, ruffled trims were used in addition to many elaborate styles of covering the pelmet sections. Curtains began to be of very thin fabric allowing heavier pleating. Sheer (or see-through fabrics) curtains allowed passage of light, but more importantly occluded the manufacturing defects and rings in the then available ‘flattened disc or cylinder ‘clear glass’.

Meister von San Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna

Byzantine curtains in the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo,

Tapestry or velvets like material were used as gathered or partly compressed form as the over-curtain (draperies). These were also mounted over very thin translucent (sheer) material for under-curtaining.

Under and Over curtaining

Under and Over curtaining

When large sized distortions free clear, glasses were available, the rectilinear divisioned sash windows were replaced by large glass face windows. The curtain styling now became much simpler, dependent more on the quality of light permeating through a textured fabric and the mode of pleating. Curtains over clear glass windows were designed in consideration of colour seen from exterior as well as interior side. Heavy curtains of old times made a room acoustically very quite, compared with the thin body modern curtains.

Cafe curtains on Russian Train

Cafe curtains on Russian Train

Curtains are mainly used in places of residences and commercial offices. In trade and commerce establishments, the curtains at the street are entirely of different nature. Café curtains are double curtains, where the bottom one is hung by strapping. Parlour curtains are hung on the lower half of the opening. Roll curtains fold or roll upwards. The bulk of folded or rolled-portion, limits the height of a curtain and torque or twist in the rolling mechanism governs the width of a curtain.




Post 191 – by Gautam Shah



Building Repairs

Repairs to a building mean, to mend, to restore, to revitalize, restore after damage, injury or decay, reinstatement of loss. Repairs are corrective actions compared, to maintenance, which are preventive in nature.

Kolkata India

Kolkata India

Buildings with adequate or timely maintenance require lesser repairs in extent and frequency. Efficient maintenance is not possible in un-repaired or poorly repaired buildings. Minor or localized repairs are not noticeable, but major and extensive repairs renovate a building. Similarly frequently or extensively repaired buildings get completely altered.


Repairs to building are carried out with different tenancy-ownership rights and their intentions. Self owned and used buildings are maintained or ignored depending on the financial facilitation. However, building leased-rented out have clear realization of its economic return and so are likely to be well maintained and spatially extended. Buildings with some heritage or style value may be well cared through conservation, if there is associated economic value or societal prestige.


Repairs, in most cases are based on compulsions and convenience. Repairs are series of ad-hoc and non related compromises between the immediate physical needs of the building and the availability of finance. Repairs are often carried out as a sequel to the maintenance work. Buildings present a decayed look, when repairs and maintenance are infrequent or inadequate.



Building as a system is an assembly with varying levels of integrity. In building many components are replaceable, while others, though replaceable, may disturb the equilibrium of the shell and have catastrophic consequences. Repairs are made to replace parts of sub-components. Buildings designed as ‘open end systems’ are easier to repair, compared to ‘closed ended systems’ or very ‘tightly’ designed entities. For repairs it is necessary to procure parts and components from open market or original system suppliers. In the first instance, the parts have to be very basic and universal to persist for several generations, whereas in the second case the original supplier, invariably a proprietary entity, has no commercial interest to meet a demand as long as a building last.

Question of Repairs or replacement

Question of Repairs or replacement

Repairs which usually occur very much later in life of a building are done with equivalent materials and techniques. The modern materials not only function, but age differently.

In case of historical buildings, the repairs are required more for correction of deterioration caused by forces of nature, rather over-use of the premises. Repairs in historical buildings are done as a strategy of conservation, carefully preserving and continuing the original character.

Self Help repairs

Self Help repairs

Buildings are repaired, if only there is place validity of its purpose and a time relevance of its life. The repairs depend on the location, purpose and quality of the shell or structure. Buildings where quality of space determines the efficiency of work activities, and which in turn scales the economic returns, are well repaired. But as soon as the work-activities become dysfunctional or economic returns taper off, a decision has to be taken whether to demolish the building and replace it with new one, or to maintain it through substantial repairs. Sentimental values associated with buildings also determine the scale of repairs.