Post 260 – by Gautam Shah



A contract is an understanding that can emerge between any two parties, desiring to conduct a relationship. A contract can occur between: husband-wife, client-professional, client-contractor, buyer-supplier, teacher-student, and so on. When two such parties come together to bridge their relationship, a clear notion must emerge as to:

  1. Why do they seek each other?
  2. Are they qualified to play the part they are in?
  3. Have they been disabled (by law or other circumstances) in any manner, to play the part they intend to take-up?
  4. Do they require any external assistance to enact the part they are to play?
  5. Do they have the resources to carry on their duties?
  6. Do they have the competence to enter / alter / terminate their understandings?

George Sheridan Knowles Signing the marriage contract 1905

An understanding about these issues ultimately results into a contract. A contract is a covenant (Latin: come together / an agreement held to be the basis of a relationship of commitment with God), where each one has a distinct role to play.

Marriage a covenant -Roman vows

A contract is an understanding of exchanges between two persons. If, more than Two parties are involved the agreement is called Memorandum of Understanding or MoU. In contractual relationships the involved two parties play distinctly different but definite roles.

The essence of a Contract is: One party requires goods, services, favours, etc. whereas the Other party has means to pay or compensate for it. One party must express the requirements, and the Other party must show personal qualities, requisite means and willingness to provide for the requirements.

Contracts are between Two parties, and there is no space for anyone else to play any other role. Understandings that do not involve or specify an exchange and without a consideration, are not contracts. A contract still can occur between a person and group or between two groups, if a person is designated to represent the group.


MoUs are less formal then contract. MoUs however, are recognized documents that morally bind the signatories. MoUs are authenticated statements of intents, but penalizing anyone for inadequate performance is difficult.

MoUs override many of the restrictive aspects of a contract. Such as: Parties are not very clear about their roles, Two or more people are involved, Actions, compensations etc. are not perfectly lawful, Parties are of different nationality and face a dilemma which country’s laws must be followed.

Memorandum of Understanding

Many complex jobs / ventures fail to take off, unless some exercises are undertaken by the concerned parties to define their respective roles and involvement. Such situations arise, where:

  • Many clients come together to let a professional or agency to solve their problem. (Understanding between clients).
  • Many professionals (contractors or suppliers) come together (form consortium) to solve a client’s problems. (Understanding between professionals, contractors or suppliers).
  • Clients and professionals together need services of an agency or a group of vendors, contractors to execute a system.
  • Consortium, multinational companies handle Jobs / ventures that are conceived / contracted / executed / paid / delivered or become operative in different or many countries.
  • Multi lateral agencies like Governmental departments, semi government organizations, NGOs, come together to undertake works.


Often such exercises occur as part of a job definition or planning process. An umbrella MoU often creates a cohesive structure to tie-up several bilateral or one-to-one contracts or MoUs. Budding or initiating MoUs become a source document out of which a series of bilateral contracts are generated. MoUs become a point of origin or culmination for many other MoUs or contracts.


A treaty is a loosely structured contract. It is also termed as an international agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, and such conditions. In formation of a treaty the parties willingly assume binding obligations within themselves and outside roles. A treaty (if not signed originally) may be affirmed later by a national declaration.

Treaty of Versailles


POSTURES for Furniture Design – 2

Post 259 – by Gautam Shah



We take postures to work and relax. Between these two ends we take many transitory postures. Even within each, there many incidental or micro positions that re-establish balance, regenerate blood circulation, adjust fluid balance, reset the body rhythms and facilitate sensorial perceptions. These body portrayal are accompanied by voluntary and involuntary gestures. Gestures are revelations that aid communication, and often reduce the need for re-posturing.

2 Construction_Workers


Work consists of several tasks in a continuum, which require major body movements, shifting of one or few limbs, and small changes such as the head or eye ball movements (for reading, seeing, smelling, sensing, etc.). Work-task related postures occur mostly to manipulate objects, handle tools and for holding. A task is efficiently carried out in certain positions that is an absolute need for it, or to continue the previous postural adaptation. The absolute needs result from factors like comfort, body position, intra-personal communication, supervision or observance, and reach or access to facilities. Tasks occur in a continuum, so for comfort and for economy of effort, not only the work-tasks but incidental tasks for relaxation, diversion, expression and communication are conducted from the same location, position and using the same facilities-amenities setup.

1 92984-004-5A8B72F9.jpg

Ergonomics considerations ensure that ‘designs complement the strengths and abilities of people and minimize the effects of their limitations’. A good design covers variable capacities of task handling of people of different race, sex physique, cognitive abilities, experience, expectations, motivation and restrictions of age, sickness, boredom and fatigue.

3 Wissam's_Human_Space_Theory

Work-task execution must allow one to improvise the postures, as it allows improved cognition and better blood circulation. Small and temporary variations in postures help in conducting intra-personal relationships, expression and communication. Posturing is a set of three body activities, occurring for the Main action and just before as well as after it.


6 Apollo_11_mission_officials_relax_after_Apollo_11_liftoff_-_GPN-2002-000026.jpgThe preceding actions are preparatory to main action, to overcome the resistance, look for the sufficiency of space and clarity of direction for the range of movements to occur, look for the required supports and energize the body to gain the momentum and balance. Preparatory action also involves observing everything in the sensorial field, co-workers, tools, equipment and environment.

5 Yuet_Tung_China_Works,_a_craftsperson_at_work_(Hong_Kong)

The main action relates to the intended set of tasks. In case of regular work, the routines are defined as algorithms, so there are no surprises, but a new desk, chair or machine involves actual or mental trial-runs. These trials involve the nature of postures, range and reach of actions. After this, comes the main action, where first few routines are conscious ones, of being aware of the environment, space features and people. These may not require any exclusive postures, but gestures. In case of routine work this may not be very obvious phase.


600px-Hindu_women_bathing_in_the_Yamuna_river_before_worship_at_the_Birla_Temple,_Delhi_in_1946The concluding action of a task is the regaining the balance and allowing sufficient flow of body fluids to those limbs or body sections that will be used now. One may need temporary support till fluid balance is achieved. Usually concluding tasks, after the main action includes organizational efforts, such as house keeping, storing, cleaning, personal grooming, etc. These are intermediate tasks requiring short duration posturing. But as these are different routines from the main work, provide diversions that may not be liked by everyone.







Post 258 ⇒   by Gautam Shah  →


First International effort to develop a worldwide policy for weights and measures was made during May 1875. Some 17 countries signed a Metre Convention or Convention du Mètre, an international treaty to create a ‘permanent mechanism to recommend and adopt further refinements in the metric system’. This was directed towards defining what constitutes a standard measure unit, means to replicate it in great accuracy anywhere and any-time, and towards defining sub units for the main measures.

A decimal system of measurement was part of Wilkin’s philosophical language published in 1668

The metric convention was held at the time of heightened Industrial activity during the Industrial Revolution period across Europe and USA. Signatories of Treaty of Metric were: USA, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, Venezuela.

After the Convention du Mètre in France in 1875, a General Conference on weights and measures or Confèence gènvrale des poids et measures CGPM was organised in 1889. Eight CGPM, at rough intervals of 4 years, were held till 1933, followed by an inactive period due to world war II. These meetings gradually evolved a worldwide policy on the advice of scientists and metrologists (Metrology is science of measurements).

Conférence générale des poids et measures (CGPM), an intergovernmental conference of official delegates of member nations and the supreme authority for all actions. It continued the deliberations of Convention du Mètre.

Comité international des poids et measures (CIPM), consisting of selected scientists and metrologists, which prepares and executes the decisions of the CGPM and is responsible for the supervision of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures.

Bureau international des poids et measures (BIPM), a permanent laboratory and world centre of scientific metrology, the activities of which include the establishment of the basic standards and scales of the principal physical quantities and maintenance of the international prototype standards.

Pavillon de Breteuil in Sèvres was offered by French Government to house the BIPM. The pavilion was built in 1675, and was home to Emperor Napoleon III.

Hectic reconstruction activities began everywhere in the post world war II (1945) period. Major impediments to this effort were the differing National Standards. To allow free flow of raw materials, equipments and technology a platform of common Standards and Specifications was required. In 1946, delegates from 25 countries met in London to create a new organization, to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards. The new organization, Organisation internationale de normalisation, ISO, officially began operations on 23 February 1947, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The word ISO was selected to represent the organization in all languages, because it is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal.

9th CGPM in 1948, meeting after 15 years gap due to WW II formally adopted a recommendation for writing and printing of measure unit symbols and numbers. The name Systeme International d’Unites (International System of Units), with the international abbreviation SI, was adopted for this New Metric System.

In 1960, the CGPM revised and simplified the measure system. Seven Base Units such as: meter (Length), kilogram (Mass), second (Time), ampere (Electric current), kelvin (Temperature), mole (Substance), and candela (Luminous intensity), were established.

Determination of the rod, using the length of the left foot of 16 randomly chosen people coming from church service. Woodcut published in the book Geometrei by Jakob Köbel (Frankfurt, c. 1536)

Acceptance of SI has been varied. For French and other European countries including their colonies, already using MKS system, adopting the new system (SI) was very easy. In 1965 Britain started using it. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa quickly followed and soon exceeded the speed of change in Britain. In 1975, USA officially accepted the Metric system (in the form of SI system), but no specific schedule was set for the change over.



Post 257 – by Gautam Shah 


Main Objectives of Materials Processing:

  1. Shape and size formation
  2. Alteration and induction of properties
  3. Endowing finishes



Body forming processes change the dimensional format of the material through phase-change of the material (solid to liquid to gas, or vice versa), within the same material phase (heat treatments, hot and cold working, and through mechanical work like mixing, stirring), and through material compositions (structuring, assembly).


Grains or dust mixed with a binder material can be cast into solids, or melted-fused as alloy, or sintered to a ceramic. Solids can be rolled into sheets or melt-spun into fibres, ground to powders, or drawn into wires. Fibres and wires are woven into fabric sheets.

Shop Copper Tableware Old Antiques


  • Solid forming: Forging, beating, pressing, rolling, drawing, casting, extrusion, moulding.
  • Sheet forming: Bending, punching, stamping, cutting, seaming, forming, moulding.
  • Linear forming: Drawing, spinning, entwining, weaving.
  • Grain forming: Blowing or granulation, chopping, grinding.


Expanded Metal lattice

Shaping processes can also be classed as:

1a  Flow processes: casting, moulding, extruding, drawing, rolling, forging, hammering, beating, powder-technology, material deposition, stamping, punching, pressing, bending, folding, seaming.


1b  Additive processes: lamination, crystal growth, foaming (lower phase material dispersion in a higher phase material), plating, cladding, mounting, joining, material deposition, fabrication, joining, supporting, holding, keying, positioning, plugging, arranging.


1c  Reducing processes: cutting, chopping, sizing, splicing, scooping, drilling, boring, machining, planning, chiselling, chipping, grinding, rubbing, sand blasting, cleaning, washing, melting, dissolving.

1d  Other forming processes: spinning, weaving, knitting.



Alteration and Induction of properties cause a change in the engineering or structural quality of the material, frequently accompanied by the modification of the surface characteristics. The alteration processes are also designed to regain the lost or the reduced properties during other processing.


2a  Heat treatments: boiling, liquidizing, melting, softening, sintering, baking, drying, fusing, welding, soldering, forging, annealing, heating, hardening, crystal forming, blowing.

2b Non heat treatments: magnetizing, static discharging, infection proofing, cleaning, washing, earthing, wetting, drying, stretching, strenting, stressing, compressing, stretching (tensile), twisting, filling.

2c  Material applications: coatings, depositions, claddings, Panellings, enamelling, inlaying, gilding, printing, moisture proofing, fuming.

2d  Non material processes: embossing, engraving, polishing, burring, charring, burnishing, chasing, buffing.

2e  Chemical treatments: dyeing, bleaching, etching.

Artist Pottery Decoration Ceramic Blue Pot



Finishes are created: By altering the surface properties of the materials at a raw material stage and also after the formation of the object, By reforming the objects, and By applying other materials at a raw material stage or at an object formation stage.

The need for a peculiar finish could be varied, but essentially for: Imparting specific sensorial characteristics, for survival of the object in an environment, for changing the structural properties, as an aid in material processing and forming operations, for storage and handling of the raw materials or components, and for receiving the next treatment.

3a  Processes for Natural Surface Finishes: Natural Finishes result due to many different factors, such as: Elemental conditions of formation, subsequent responses like weathering, cognitive affectations, and later, natural or man-made interventions (angle of cut, tools and techniques used, etc.).


Natural surface finishes have three main cognitive affectations: Colour, Pattern and Texture. The colours are of original formation, subsequent weathering, readjustment of stresses, or induced by physical and chemical changes. The patterns result from the stresses, mixing of constituents, weathering, and the varied reactivity of different parts and constituents. Patterns also result from granular or fibrous orientation, method of cut, cyclic nature of growth, formation of residual products, deposition of contaminants, and tools-techniques of handling and processing. Textures primarily result from the degree of homogeneity, angle of cut, differential weathering, and various formative processes.


3b  Processes for Manufactured Surface Finishes: Manufactured Surface Finishes result at three levels: Raw material stage, Product formation stage, and later, through Application of surface finish on completion of the system. In an integrated production setup all three could be a single stage or plant process, but in most other fabrication shops only the last two processes are combined. For a site fabricated systems like buildings, the last process, i.e. surface finish application, is a distinct process as it is carried out at a site. Manufactured surface finishes as a result are of two categories: Plant based and Site-based systems. Though lot of preparatory work may occur in the industrial plant for the site-based surface finish application. Products fully surface finished in industrial plants require very careful handling (transportation, loading, storage, delivery and positioning), and so may carry protective but removable coatings or shields.





Post 256 – by Gautam Shah



Buildings are conceived for a specific use intensity. The use factor, perceived as a probability, makes a building a viable entity for a defined period. This factor must be rational, realistic and economic for the times buildings are designed. Premature provisions for extra capacities, mean a frivolous investment of resources.

Addition mismatch

Buildings, designed for current day needs and for a predictable increase in it, have built-in capacities for minor growth. The technologies of building and its amenities have been shifting to miniaturization or micro-sizing and getting synthesized, resulting in substantial space saving.

Addition to Louvre Paris –Glass Pyramid

One can accommodate growth needs of minor nature through space re-planning and changing the existing facilities. Additions occur through outward transgression from local receptors such as gaps, openings, nodes, limbs, etc. Major additions affect the character of a face or entire section of a building.


Building forms or shapes like circle, triangle, or sphere, pyramid, etc. do not allow outward transgressions as these do not have attachment nodes or receptors for additions. For the same reason, even modular additions to these forms cannot be made dependent to the basic building. Some form like a rectangle square or cube or drum have possibilities of axial growth.

Addition in corner

An addition to a building nominally subsists on the existing structural provisions and services, whereas an extension relies more or less on its own newly created provisions. Additions, if any, must be preconceived like a computer’s open-ended system.

Open-ended Architecture -multiple alternatives for additions

Additions could also occur as an afterthought. Additions, circumstantial or planned, follow the regimen of the original building. Additions to complex buildings such as with intricate structural systems, elaborate styles, diverse configurations and multi purpose utility will require an expertise equal to, or even of higher order than the one put into the original creation.

Flatiron Apartment Cities New York City Bronx

Designers prefer to add to a building by creating a self-sufficient entity, sited in such a way that it does not defy the sanctity of the original building. Additions, however, always stand out as a differentiated statement due to variations in materials, styles and technology of architectonic elements.

All Saints Church, New-church Plan showing additions

All Saints Church New-Church Additions with new materials + technologies

Buildings are ‘added’ with certain looks to ‘upgrade’ them to current fashions. The style loading often took ridiculous levels, when bridges and railway stations were upgraded to Gothic or Roman styles. New facades were mounted on various structures. Additions or decorations were superfluous, insincere and made with make-believe materials. As a reaction against mounting of historical or sentimental values of past eras, iconoclast buildings, bereft of decoration were conceived. These often reach the other extreme of punk culture, where nothing is conformist.

Punk Architecture of Additions

Maritime University Campus additions

Additions allow intensive use of land as a commodity, enriching not only the owner, but also the local administration. In urban areas additions are controlled by minor tweaks or favourable interpretations (for political reasons) to building regulations.


Additions supplement the building with enhanced or new functionality, which can also be achieved by the opposite process, the subtraction. Planned eliminations can help redefine the buildings’ value. Removal of unnecessary appendages leads to efficiency by reducing the wear and tear and other decay causing elements.





Post 255 –by Gautam Shah



A partition wall is generally a non-load-bearing element, except in an emergency when it may temporarily carry a load or stress. A partition wall could be an internal unit designed to divide spaces to form separate rooms, circulation spaces and enclose services or ducts. External partition walls enclose a space, provide a barricade, be a decorative surface appendage, or provide massive effect to linear elements like columns or slab edges.

Glass Partitions

Partition walls do many other things besides dividing or separating. Partitions are intervening elements, so have dual personality. Open partitions as mid space dividers have both faces with nearly identical functionality. Some partitions however, abut an entity as a skin, on the verge of becoming part of it, have two faces, but each one serving a different purpose. Panellings and cover walls, are very similar to partition walls. Claddings fixed without an intervening cavity are not partition systems. Panellings and cover walls are dependent entities and do not need lateral stability.

Toilet Partitions

Partition systems are full height touching both the floor and ceiling, or part height, touching either the floor or ceiling. Free from the floor partitions are used where floor cleaning is frequent (toilets, dressing booths, shower stalls) and where a gap at floor level helps movement of air. Upper level free partitions are used for ventilation and visual continuity at ceiling level. Partition systems are fixed or relocatable. Collapsible or folding partitions have an accordion like arrangement or fold up like the window blinds.



Partition systems can be categorized in following manner:


This consists of a frame matrix or grid supported all around, and covered by a sheet material. Frame grids are designed considering the architectural character, the framing material’s commercial sizes and sheeting material’s size, but always accommodating the panel joints over the frame section. The sheeting material may not reveal any part of the frame, but a well-designed system could, through the joint lines reveal the character of the frame matrix. Such systems could be a single side, provided the non-sheeted side is unimportant or the frame matrix is well modulated. Frames in such partitions need to have lateral or sideways stability depending on the extent of the surface negotiated between structural elements like wall, column or another partition at an angle. Frame and cover systems are easy to build (but not necessarily economic) yet government departments lacking imagination go for it. These partition systems need seam closing at free ends.


Materials for framing are wood, mild steel or aluminium sections. For concealed framing often unfinished or raw timbers are used. Sheet materials for covering are plywood, hardboard, MDF, particle boards, chip boards, metal’s plain, corrugated or embossed sheets, cement fibre sheets, paper boards, glass, cellophane, plastics, composites, fabrics, woven mats, palm leaves and reeds.



These partition systems have studs (a vertical member) fixed at top and bottom. Studs are generally independent of each other, but sometimes are interconnected with one or more horizontal ‘spacer or tie’ members. The studs are stabilized by the in-fill material, along the direction of partition, but need to have stability of their own in cross direction. The studs are spaced according to the width of in-fill material, but spaced to provide a stable system. Studs become visible on both sides, placing the in-fill material at mid section. Studs are less dominant where in-fill materials are fixed as flushed on one side. Studs are also totally covered by a running sheeting material on both sides.

Fire protection partition of RCC

Stud materials include sawn wood sections, wood logs, Mild steel and aluminium extruded, folded and fabricated sections, PVC extruded sections, stone pillars, precast RCC units, and also laterally placed sections of in-fill materials, and taut ropes of steel or fibres. The In-fill materials could be: stretched membranes, fabrics, plastics, composites, pliable materials like metal sheets, or stiff materials like plywood, block board, MDF, wood composite boards, stones, glass, timber planks and grills.


These consist of small elemental panel units which are placed in or over a frame system, positioned edge to edge but fixed to top and bottom parts of the structure, or fixed edge to edge. Panels are preformed, composite, dimensionally modulated, and multi-functional units. The panel may be with seams on side edges, or framed to cover-tucked in edges. Panel systems are used for creating ‘open office plan’ layouts, exhibition display systems, information kiosks, etc. Panel units have butt or snap-on or hinge joint systems on the edges. Panel units are usually self supporting systems, through layout geometry, but in very extensive partitioning, frame and panel systems are formed. The panels are also fixed directly to the floor and to the ceiling or beam bottom through channel or stud receptacles.

Open Office – Panel partition system

Panels are multi layered sandwich composites with hollowed inner core and different finishes on either side. Dimensional modulation of 100mm or 300mm is very common. Top finishes of many varieties are available like: fabric, paper, wood, plastics, stainless steel, glass, and painted, screens printed, embossed or coated.

Sliding Partitions –Shiroshoin Nishi Honganji


Folding partitions consists of modulated units, which fold together or a construction of linear members that collapse (lift doors). Sometimes the panels are demountable, so removed completely and stored separately (storm shutters). Sliding partitions are mounted on a track or a channel, at top, bottom or both. A combined sliding and folding partition have sections of small width. Folding partitions are used as part height space dividers or isolators, in homes, offices and heath care facilities.

Folding partition





Post 254 ⇒   by Gautam Shah  →


An opening in a wall without a head seems incomplete. A heading element completes the identity of a gap. The heading element, as a flat, circular or a segmental arc, creates a doorway or gateway. The heading element with or without a super structure, bridges the sides of the walls or the jambs giving a structural stability in stresses like an earthquake. The bridging or heading element is appended with small super body to enhance the surface at head level. It does not add any bearing load.

Temple of Horus at Edfu Egypt

From primitive times it was realized that heading elements, need to be of better quality material, then the bearing structures and had to be of monolithic materials like wood or stone. Such large monolithic entities of extra ordinary size and weight have been managed in on open sites construction of Dolmens. To carry and manipulate such a mass inside partly constructed site was very difficult.

Dolmen on Ganghwa, Republic of Korea

Anta da Aboboreira Dolmen, Baião, Portugal

The Lion Gate, at the main entrance of the Bronze Age citadel of Mycenae, of 13 C. BC, had a huge lintel that measures 4.5×2.0×0.8 m size, spanning 3.10 m gap. The corbelled masonry courses reduce the bearing load on lintel.

Lion Gate of Mycenae, southern Greece

Lintel stone at the Treasury of Atreus

Póvoa de Varzim, in Portugal

A gap can be headed for decorative and structural purposes such as bridging the side and to carry the loads of super structure. Monolithic structures such as wood lintels have uncertain life, Stone lintels had ill-defined bearing properties, and were prone to sudden cracking under load and movement or torque stresses. As a result for several centuries, gaps have been square headed by lintels, and topped with arches or corbelled masonry work.

Royal Palace entrance of Ugarit on the Mediterranean coast of Syria

Trabeated arch Delhi India

Newgrange a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland

The door heads of stone after serving the function of a bridging element (adding the integrity of a structure) were load-lightened by variety of techniques. These included corbelled masonry, arching, double layered lintels, a secondary layer of lintels, provision of lattices, openings (lites) and deep carving. In case of wood, geometric constructions like framing or trussing was used. Romans’ covered opening gaps with full, segmental and flat arches of bricks and stones.

Ancient Roman arched heads

The Romans, later in Romanesque and Revival buildings, the Tympanum or triangular pediment was used as the basic form for door head. It had stone carving, and sculptured terracotta as story depiction form. Later the pediments’ forms were dissected and several versions were created.

sections of the sculpture of the tympanum of the Parthenon

Tympanum Allen County Courthouse (Indiana) USA


The pediment as a triangular form was a strong shape, its tapering ends reflected the structural behaviour of a spanning element. It was projected out of the wall and supported by free columns or half-pilasters. Due to the small width of the gap the pediment triangle was also small, and could not accommodate any sculpture. The pediments were cut at top, bottom and even sides to add sculpted over sized figures, geometric patterns and medallions.

Broken or dissected Pediment

In India and other parts of Asia Door heads were treated, both as a stand alone panel, and also integrated with the openings’ treatment. There were few representative elements common in temple doors, such as the Goddess Laxmi (of riches), Crocodile, Elephants, Lotus and water. Depiction of a mythological story is also common. The door head panel was not a triangular bound entity like European pediments.

Ornate lintel Wat Phu, Champasak Laos

Khmer Lintel

bas-relief in a Tympanum at Banteay Srei shows Indra releasing the rains in an attempt to extinguish the fire created by Agni

Lintel over Mandapa entrance at Chennakesava Temple, in the Hoysala architecture tradition of southern India

The blind door at Banteay Srei by columns and topped by a tympanum with a scene from the Mahabharata

A 9th C lintel at Musée Guimet, with Garuda carrying Vishnu

Kirtimukha above a Hindu temple entrance in Kathmandu, Nepal

Door jamb and lintel of Kasivisvesvara temple Lakkundi, India

In Gothic architecture, the triangulated door heads became circular or pointed arch. The thick wall and the door head both were chamfered. The tapered sides had serrated edges. The fluted lines were stretched to the sides of the door. The flatter section over the door and covered by the pointed arch was the story board.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

In Spanish architecture the door heads have grown from the finite confines of the tympanum to become an integrated approach to framing of an opening. It could cover a part or whole of the façade, often including upper-level window openings.

Vila do Conde – Detail portico manuelí església

Rococo portal in Matriz Church

Mission San José (Texas) USA

Wood Door heads have been very different creations. Material, mass and strength have moulded their design.

carved wooden door in the Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia.

wood architecture Door Head of Norway




Post 253 ⇒   by Gautam Shah  →


A project is a unique endeavour undertaken to form a concept, create a product or render a service. Projects take diverse shapes, ethereal ideation or conceptualization, forming a strategy to actualize an idea, recollection of a happening, reproduction of an experience, a search for a match or fit, scaling an effort and detailing for an outward expression. A project is something distinctive from traditional, routine and ‘bureaucratic means’. A project must emerge out of circumstances, but aided by all kinds of debate and analysis and policy formulations. It always deals with fairly complex environment to address social, business and organizational issues.

Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II.

Projects have finite amounts of Time, Money, People, and Resources, and conditioned by technology, legal, social and such obligations. A project is perceived as an exclusive entity, but with a fair chance of it being re-enacted.

Projects usually have a dual personality, technical, and procedural, but not exclusively one or the other. While managing a project situation what is unfamiliar and non routine, invariably necessitates all kinds of learning, adaptation, problem solving.

Columbus coming to Americas

Projects have four interdependent parameters, Scope, Time, Cost and Quality. Projects are so Scope or extent dependent that an increase in size may delay a project, increase its cost, or compromise the quality. A Time dependent project when delayed impacts the benefits or losses out of it. With early or accelerated execution, extensive benefits could be derived. Cost generally determines the extent of a project in the early stage, but costs are extremely variable and can change the perception of extent. Quality parameters are likely to be the prime casualty, when conditions are abnormal and survival of an individual or the society is threatened, such as during war, natural calamities, catastrophes etc. Though best or most challenging projects planning methods have emerged in such acute conditions.


These interdependent parameters can make a project critical. As a planning and forecasting tool, projects are hypothetically made critical by ‘tweaking’ one or few parameters. A project in critical mode reveals its weak points or inferior sections. A project is considered as weak as its most inferior section, but the project achieves a strength equivalent to the average strengths of all its sections. Project management systems entail recognition of such dependencies as risks, and provide means for dealing with them.



Post 252 –by Gautam Shah



A sheer fabric is very thin material, which makes it very translucent face and enlivens the light that to filters through. A sheer fabric has a graceful and natural fall. The translucency and soft bearing of sheer or similar fabrics have been preferred in all ages for dresses and draperies. The most desired of sheer fabrics, is the silk, The oldest is Linen and, Cotton has been most widely-used fabric. Polyesters are emerging as multi-use fabrics that can be formed to desired textures, effects and strength.


Sheer effect in a fabric comes through due to natural fineness of the yarn itself fine spinning and weaving. Many synthetic yarns (polyesters, Aramid) are formed of very long staples or filaments, so are used alone or as co-spinning material to achieve similar effects. Some of the most used sheer like fabrics are made from cotton. Some of the lattices like airy or net woven fabrics are so pliable, flimsy and semi-transparent that they behave like a sheer fabric.


LAWN of Linen

Linen fabrics are made from fibres of Flax plant. Linen is a Bast fiber or skin fiber collected from the inner bark (phloem) surrounding the stem of certain plants. Linen fabric manufacturing is very ancient (nearly 35000 BC) but a labourious process. The linen fabrics were woven from hand-spun yarns, and considered very fine for their times (in comparison to wool, etc. and absence easy availability of cotton), but were actually fairly coarse compared to modern fabrics. Flax fibre is both, long and short staple fibres. It is not elastic, and so difficult to spin and weave without frequent breaking in dry state.

Linen fabrics are smooth, absorbent, lint-free, cool to touch, initially little hard but frequent wash-beating makes it softer but brittle. Linen fabrics do not stretch, and acquire a near-permanent crease on sharp folding, a desired quality for curtain making. Linen fabrics show resistant to damage from abrasion, so were preferred rubbing-polishing fabrics for cutlery and jewellery. Linens resist dirt and stains, and have no piling tendency (forming of small spherical bundles of loosened fibres formed due to frequent washing and wearing of fabric).


Lawn fabrics of Linen are very thin, with characteristic presence of slubs which are considered defects, or aesthetic surface characteristic. The fabrics after several washing cycles became soft, pliable and had beautiful fall. The fall of curtain fabric was further enhanced by storing fabric under weight or ironing. Original linen fabrics were non dyed that is of natural cream (grey cloth) or washed white shades.


LAWN of Cotton

The term Lawn derives from Laon, a city in France, which produced large quantities of linen lawn. Linen is a plain weave textile, originally of flex, then chiefly of Cotton, but now in 80:20 mix version of cotton:polyester. Cotton lawns have high count yarns providing a silky smooth or un-textured feel. The fabric is made, using either combed or carded yarns. When lawn is made of such shorter staple cotton, it has a softer feel and dull lustre.

Mulmul fabric of Bengal

The fine count yarn and close weave create sheer like feel in the fabric. Lawn is a lightweight cloth, crisper than voile but not as crisp as organdy. After weaving, lawn fabrics are processed further to endow different finishes, to alter the feel and behaviour of the fabric. The finishes create lawns ‘from soft to semi-crisp to crisp, but the fabric is never completely stiff’. Lawn is valued for its lightness and translucency, which ranges from gauzy or sheer to an almost opaque effect. Lawn can be white, dyed, and printed, but newer with in-woven patterns. Loans are, though produced with micro slubs to imitate antique linen fabrics, or woven with ‘wire fillets’ or long lines patterns.

Sheer Fabrics


Muslin is loosely woven plain weave cotton fabric. Muslin is usually made with slightly irregular yarns, but an even weave. It can be woven with tighter or looser warp areas to produce striped patterns. Most muslin is white or cream, but can also be seen in a wide range of dyed colours.

Marie Antoinette in Muslin dress


Organdy was made of cotton and Organza was made of silk, but both have synthetic versions. The fabrics are extremely sheer and crisp. Like lawn, they are plain weave fabrics with fine and even yarns. The yarns are of combed material than of carded variety. The yarns-fabrics are treated with acid to achieve the sheers and crisp qualities. Batiste is a soft and opaque fabric, produced in same manners as organdy-organza, but without the acid process.

Gauze: a fine, soft fabric with a plain, very open weave. Very open muslin fabrics are also called gauzes. Gauze fabrics have good fall but ‘fall down’ or gather at bottom with own weight and shifting of weft yarn. The fabrics form backside reinforcements layer, if stabilized with adhesive like materials.

Gauze fabric -loose weave

Net: Net or Netting fabrics are of three types, knitted, woven and fused. These are soft in feel due to their open and usually light formation. The fabrics are valued for their light filtering qualities. The fabrics often have alternating mass of opaque and net zones in warp direction. The opaque sections provide reinforcement to the fabric in hanging, and form an edge line of a pleat in the curtain.

.Synthetic sheer fabric with Net base



Post 251 – by Gautam Shah



Human behaviour is evident in responses related to: Body, Environment, Space and the Occupants.


BODY: The human behaviour is seen as conspicuous actions through body-limb movements or postures, discreet expressions of body related gestures, and also as overt expressions in modes like speaking, writings, painting, etc. Human behaviour originates from the genetic make up and is further conditioned by the experiences.

Physiological components of human behaviour are seen in survival, health, well being and comfort, spatial occupation with dimensional accommodation and fitment of the human-body, task functionality. Human behaviour relates to others. It manifests through group behaviour dynamics, expression and communication. Human behaviour can be sensed through cognition, psychology, sensorial perception, response mechanisms, metabolism, past experiences, inherited and learnt faculties.

On the Steps of St Martin's

The response mechanisms could be: accommodation, adjustment (like acclimatization), spatial shifting or temporal rescheduling, biological corrections or degradation. The responses are also assisted by the supportive systems such as tools, implements, gadgets, equipments, facilities and amenities. Body responses achieve task functionality by way of compliance within set confines for nominal to extreme purposes. Body responses achieve both, stability and mobility necessary for efficiency, comfort and security.

ENVIRONMENT: Environmental responses form a process of becoming aware of a space. Environment is the supportive system that moulds our perception and commands the responses. It permeates into a space depending on the spatial characteristics, such as the size, shape, sequencing, quality of barriers, etc. Environment formats a life style that passes on from one generation to another as ethnicity or ‘cultural ethos’. Environment also includes real presence of other occupants. The process environment acclimatization is in way a physiological reaction.


SPACE: Space is the setting where environment and cognition actualize concurrently. As cognition is personal, it endows environment subjective significance. Nature of cognition is one major factor that governs the Space experience. Environment is continually variable and so a space experience is ever expounding. It continues to reveal differently in spite of its scale or spatial features remaining static. Some environmental conditions and spatial features often occur in concert. And so we expect the presence of one to trigger the other. The accommodation of environmental changes makes the process of inhabitation tougher, but always equips one with better skills and greater efficiencies.

Street Football

OCCUPANTS: Occupants of a space are real, and sometimes through the metaphoric presences. Behaviour responses are due to the biological needs and also for cultural reasons or social norms. Occupants show varied behaviour due to factors like age, sex, level of adaptation, familiarity, limb capacity, body-limb coordination, sensorial abilities and reach extension tools, etc. Behaviour (even of lone beings) is substantially in the context of ‘awareness’ of other human beings (and not necessarily the physical presence). Interpersonal relationships among members of small groups are a result of the personality and cultural backgrounds of the individuals involved, their tasks, and the nature of the spatial arrangements or physical settings. Various races and cultures respond differently to the amount and arrangement of spaces. Humans evaluate the acceptability or appropriateness of behaviour using social norms, and regulate it by means of social control. The Sociological responses of human behaviour relate to the social needs of the occupants and awareness of their implications. The space, environment and the occupants together foster a social-contact mechanism.