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.




Post 190 –by Gautam Shah




Objects are seen when illuminated. Light illuminates objects, but in the process affects it in several ways. Some light is absorbed within it which is mainly responsible for perception of colour. If the object is transparent to translucent, than part of the light gets transmitted though it. The transmitted light (through the object) may get re-reflected through the object. In the process the re-reflected light gets scattered. Light also gets specularly reflected from it the surface of the object provided it has reflective properties.



Nearly reflective surface -Glossy coating on wood

Specular reflection: The substantial quantum of light is reflected from the surface, in equal and opposite direction, to the angle of incident light.

Diffuse reflection: The light that gets scattered in many directions.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, National Mall

lathe turned pillars chennakeshava_temple_in_belur

Gloss is one of the most important of parameters that describe the visual appearance of an object. It is an optical property of a surface to reflect light in a specular (mirror-like) direction. A specular reflection can be said to be a reflection in very small range of direction. This is distinctively different from diffuse reflection, where the incoming light is reflected in a broad range of directions. Factors that determine the gloss are the refractive index of the material, the angle of incident light and the surface topography.


early american room

Distinctive examples of specular and diffuse reflections are glossy and matte paints. Matte paints have almost exclusively diffuse reflection, while glossy paints have both specular and diffuse reflections’. A surface of a non-absorbing material such as plaster, are nearly perfect diffuser, whereas polished metallic objects, glass, and some polymers are specularly reflective.


chicago_bean shiny_mirroring_mirrored-1001730

Texture of a surface is a key determinant of level of specular reflection. Objects with a smooth surface, i.e. highly polished or containing coatings with finely dispersed pigments, appear shiny to the eye due to a large amount of light being reflected in a specular direction. Rough surfaces have irregular defects or undulations which scatter the light in other directions, and so appear dull. Dull surfaces do not reflect the image (like a mirror), so the reflections seem blurred and distorted.

lines reflections

In case of transparent and translucent materials, not only there is surface level specular reflection but the back face coatings-treatments and closely placed materials (substrate materials) also reflect specularly. The reflecting material of mirrors is the highly polished surface of glass, and its capacity to reflect light from the back side coating of lead, aluminium or silver.

1 matt.jpg

Gloss is often considered a subjective term (though scientific tests exist) for representing specular reflection of a surface. Commercially, in the surface finish world, gloss is recognized as Flat or matte, Egg shell, Semi-gloss, Full gloss. A Flat surface is considered free from sheen even when viewed at an oblique angle whereas at the other extreme Full gloss is a mirror like face at all angles of view. Satin (silk) finish is somewhere between Egg shell and semi gloss finish.

A rough guide for level of gloss of a surface is: Flat (0 to 10 % reflective), Low Sheen (10 to 25% reflective), whereas Glossy (70–90% reflective).


Dull-matt surface

Dull- matt surface Unglazed Ceramic

  • The non-reflecting surface of a flat-matt finish helps to hide or de-emphasize the imperfections of the surface to be painted. Semi-gloss finish and high-gloss finishes highlight such imperfections. Flat-matt surfaces do not reflect light at any angle so are very useful as a coating-finishing over very extensive surfaces such as corridors, lobbies, halls, ceilings, and exterior faces, etc. Flat-matt finishes over the floors, also offer an assurance of their being no slippery surface. Flat-matt surfaces show off true colours at all angles, so are visually more recognizable. Flat-matt surfaces may look patchy if the substrate or the application techniques are improper. Automobile interior trims are intentionally designed to be of matt finish so as to minimize the irritating reflection while driving.

Reflective-Glossy Roof

Walt Disney Concert Hall LA CA

Walt Disney Concert Hall LA CA

  •  Semi-gloss and full gloss finishes offer better wearing, cleaning and humidity resistance than flat paints. Flat paints may show polishing or burnishing marks when rubbed for cleaning. Semi gloss surfaces are slightly deceptive and may not show true colour or depth perception.
Brushed Matt metal finish

Brushed Matt metal finish

  •  High gloss surfaces get easily tarnished by oil, grease or waxy streaks. High gloss surfaces are first to show off substrate impurities and malfunctioning of plasticizing agents or entrapped moisture, etc. High gloss surfaces show of minute scratches or dents etc. in terms of defective specular reflection. High gloss surfaces are very deceptive in colour recognition.




Post 189 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 

Dimensional coordination

Ancient measure systems were based on the human limb sizes and body’s capacities. These were function-related measures such as: foot size and walking, thumb and width, fingers and numbers, palm and holding capacity, head load or horse power and carrying capacity, etc.

In a series of measure units, the sub units, though body related, were nearly independent. The interrelationships between sub units were simple but enforced. Various measures’ series were mutually incomparable and to an extent incompatible.

Across the world there were innumerable measure systems, but the Foot-Pound system became dominant due to extensive colonization by the British Empire.

The Metric System (created in France post Revolution period) was an abstract system with a Mathematical Order. It had the advantage of Logical Fractions. All measure units were divisible to 10X. But (early) Metric system had several sub units, many of which had no effective use. For some people the rationale of Metric system was too contrived as its scale did not relate to human body and its parts-whole-parts relationship.

In thePost Industrial Revolution‘ period, trade and industry all over the world recognized the need for a Universal Dimensioning Discipline. At that time better coordination was also required for conversion and transmission from old measurement systems to the new SI system of measurements. First worldwide understanding emerged in the adoption of SI as the Universal Measure System.


40 – Modulation with Body based Measure systems


41 – Foot-Pound (British) and Metric systems of measurements


42 – Need for a Coordinated Measure system


43 – Universal Dimensioning Discipline


44 – SI system of Measures


45 – ISO Modular Preferences -1


46 – ISO modular preferences -2


47 – Application of ISO Modular preferences


48 – Implications of ISO Modular coordination of Dimensions


49 – Implications of ISO Modular coordination of Dimensions -2


50 – Implications of ISO Modular Coordination of Dimensions -3

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Post 188 –by Gautam Shah


DETAIL_OF_ROYAL_DOORS_Holy_Ascension_Russian_Orthodox_Church_(Unalaska)New technologies for doors arrive more frequently due to developments in materials technology, and also occasionally due to design innovations. Improvised doors are offered by building components’ manufacturers, and sometimes devised by creative designers. But ideas for radically different types of doors have been adopted from literature like scientific fiction, children’s stories of adventures, media such as scientific movies, television serials, and from video games. New doors have been modelled on various gadgets and industrial equipments. Unusual opening systems have come from submarines, space capsules, cameras, chemical reaction vessels, dams, dykes, deep sea drilling units etc. Such opening systems may not be recognized as a door, but rather function like a valve or controller of opening.


Hangar One at Moffett Field 1963 USA with segmental folding doors


Isolation areas in research laboratories and nano technology plants require hermetically sealed zones need doors with a positive seal (completely leak-proof). Very large and light weight structures, such as domes and roofs require openings for access to external face. Such circular flexible doors of membrane or skin thin materials diverge to edges for closing, but bulge or sink to a concave or convex form due to suction or pressure. Heart valves are implants that beat, but function like a door. Air curtain fans and showers create a wall of cascading air and water, but a breach-able door opening. Similarly sonar zones, in industrial plants remove particulate matter from the things that move in or out are also a door system. Offshore or deep sea marine structures such as oil-gas drilling platform and recovery or collection centres, coastal protection barriers such as dykes have doors for water. The water gates were once devised as very large geometric or space structures but are now built as membrane or shell structures.


PVC strip door for warehouses eliminates the bother of closing-opening

Industrial doors are very large and intensively used openings. Normal sliding, folding or swinging shutters take a lot of time to close or open and with every such operation the interior environment gets corrupted. Air curtains are noisy and cold. Flap curtains of non tearing polymer or composite sheets have proved a better option. Ion charged openings and sonar barriers are not very satisfactory in many applications. Some radical solution is required.



A pound lock on the Keitele-Päijänne Canal at Äänekoski in Central Finland

A pound lock on the Keitele-Päijänne Canal at Äänekoski in Central Finland


A door is perceived to be an opening in a barrier, an open-able component of the barrier system. However, if whole of a barrier were to disappear, collapse (physically shrink) or become non-functional for a while, then it can serve the function of an opening. A barrier will have to collapse to its edge or perimeter, away from its centre, almost like the folding leaves of a camera shutter. Here the leaves could be of gaseous or liquid substance, or a field of energy. Games, science fiction and movies explore such radical concepts.



A door has traditionally served the purpose of entry and exit to and from a space and one world to another to another (earth to heaven or hell). Egyptians painted an image of a door but new modes of transfer, transport or travel such as in movies and TV serial Star Trek. Tele-porting may entirely change the shape, size and configuration of the door in future, perhaps it will be a controller of opening rather than a door. An opening that can be cut anywhere in the barrier or membrane, a self seaming door is a sci-fiction concept emulating the biological healing.


Star Trek Teleportation -a door to another space



Post 187 –by Gautam Shah


Types of Specifications in a Design Practice

A Design Office generates a variety of Documents that contain some or the other forms of Specifications. Such Specification related documents are of following categories:

  1. Drawings, Graphical representations
  2. Literary explanations
  3. References to other Graphical Representations and Literary explanations, Legends, Indexes, Lists.


Quality of Expression in Specification Writing

Writing Specifications is the most important way of facilitating a product or service. Specifications writing is an extended activity of contracting, so here too all the contract fundamentals are strictly followed. Such as a contract has to be enforceable, and whatever is specified must be doable. Specifications cover all valid and essential requirements of the job. A major danger in writing specifications is to include unnecessary information, choosing what to exclude is as important, as choosing what to include. Specifiers (Designers) must eliminate any requirement that adds no value to the Product or Service being acquired. The Specifier (Designer) must state clear conditions in a complete language, and yet remain brief.


Defects in Specifications and Liabilities

Very few specifications are totally free from defects. As a fundamental principle of law, a specifier (Designer) is responsible for the consequences of the specifications. Designers usually put in a disclaimer (in the contract with their client) for errors found in their work. The Insurance companies that cover the designers for Professional Liability (Professional Indemnity Insurance) insist upon it.


Most of the specification writers (Designers) incorrectly presume that their text of specifications is read and interpreted by comrade technocrats only, with whom they share similar experience and mind-set. Specifications, however, are more attended by non technocrats like the administrators, lawyers, jurors and judges. A contractor or vendor interprets the specifications, as long as the interpretation is commercially reasonable (read as an earning proposition).



Accuracy and completeness of Contract Specifications

A Contract is in force the moment it is signed, or dated to be effective. Once a contract comes into force, any thing that has been left-out, or not properly defined, can be only corrected through a Negotiated Supplementary Agreement. A Contract and Specifications must not leave out any aspect, as something to be agreed or determined later on (e.g. a clause like: plastic paint of x quality, but colour shade to be approved later).

Specification Writing is a last moment compilation, and as a result it is common to see specifications of items that do not exist, or have been eliminated from the project. Specifications of only intended items and required quantities of work should be provided to the contractor. Otherwise, the bids will reflect the necessity of being prepared to handle Intended items and Quantified work.