Post 453 -by Gautam Shah


Stone Old Church Architecture Ancient Wall Gate

Materials respond to

Other Materials,



Old Wood Windows Shutters Architecture Broken


Materials respond to other materials within their realm. The reactions occur both, in the presence or absence, of the environment and the user. A material of a higher phase reacts more readily to a material of the lower phase, e.g. solid to a liquid. Material with an ion charge reacts to a material with opposite ion charge. A material with lower latent energy becomes recipient.

Federation Square Melbourne -tessellated grid Wikipedia Image by Cookaa

The response of a material, occurs through the surface, more emphatically, than anywhere else. Materials with their own surface systems (inherent finish) respond in the same manner as their body would. However, applied surface systems of the same or of foreign materials show different behaviour. In such reactions, the important factors are, surface preparation, application method, and bonding techniques.



Materials are affected by many aspects of the environment. The effects are local, if environment effects are directional (through specific orientation), or occur comprehensively. The various constituents of the object also respond differently. Single, or mono material systems are often inadequate for such multilateral environmental demands. Multi-material objects or composites are conceived to serve such demands, separately as well as unitedly.

Farshid Moussavi, Detail, façade of Edificio Bambú =Bamboo Building Madrid Wikipedia Image from Francisco Andeyro (Alejandro García González & Francisco Andeyro)(

An applied surface material system, covering an entity, forms its own environment. Here the situation can also be equated to material to environment response.

Effects of the environment substantially relate to the movement of earth-sun, and so have a time dimension. The time dimension makes such environmental effects to be temporary, permanent, recurrent, or variable. One perhaps cannot terminate the processes of nature, however, the effects of environment can be temporarily delayed or quickened and spatially diffused, or intensified, to programme the functioning of an object.

The effects of environment are structurally causative (capable of causing structural changes in a material), and also sensually attributive (capable of providing the sensorial experiences).

Material Response


A user perceives a material-object in different terms like: Engineering attributes, Dimensional features, Surface properties and for Other considerations. A surface is the most proximate and tangible part of an object. A surface, is often the reason, why an object continues to survive in a particular setting. A user perceives the surface of a material-object through factors such as:

EMP Museum founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000, located at Seattle, designed by Frank Gehry

  • proximity (closeness, intimacy, distance)
  • duration (of encounter)
  • frequency and extent (area) of contact
  • mode of handling
  • our past experiences
  • our sensory capabilities
  • our physiological state
  • atmospheric conditions (temperature, humidity)
  • light (direction and level of illumination)
  • orientation, or point of observation.

Close up of a peyote cactus growing in the wild as mentioned in The Doors of Perception, by Aldus Huxley

There are more than 20 mathematical parameters applied to surface description, and some of the terms are: roughness, irregular features of wave, height, width, lay, and direction on the surface; camber, deviation from straightness; out of flat, measure of macroscopic deviations from flatness of a surface.





Post 452 -by Gautam Shah


Estimates are required at different stages of a project, and to serve varied purposes. The basis and the format in each case are completely different. The estimates are monetary as well as non-monetary. A project originates on the strength of Land, Money, Market accessibility, Technical expertise or sheer Interest and will-power. A project initiator or client needs to know, or be made aware of, how such potential can be exploited.

Kin Ming Estate HongKong

The first estimate exercise defines the absolute scope of the project. Very often such reports are prepared by non-designer consultants. Such estimates, largely non-monetary evaluations, are integral part of a project report. It defines a project in terms of its scale, scope, extent and other physical para-metrics. A project is compared to similar entities elsewhere. The estimate evaluates the land, investment, human and other resources required for the project. It also indicates the structure of the entity and time schedules, as to who-how it can be owned, executed, operated and managed. For a realistic monetary evaluation design details are required.

Cyrenian king Arkesilas watching over the bundling of wool (Boardman) or the preparation of silphion.

Next estimate exercise occurs with the preparation of design brief. A design brief is based on area or volume of the project structure, plant-equipment capacities, etc. The monetary costs, if any are presumptive, as no detailed cost-analysis is done, drawn from current-day market conditions. The estimate exercises determine the probable budget for the project. The probable budget helps in search of alternatives. Budgetary estimates are usually made by the people involved in the design and familiar with execution of projects. Such estimates help in feasibility check up, primary budgeting, funds planning, in fixing extent of a job, and stages of strategic and tactical actions.


The next major estimation work is a cumulative exercise. Once the design has been framed, and perceived in terms of various jobs, consultants are defined. The consultants are provided performance requirements and asked to present their budget. On a complex site usually there are many such segmented estimates, and these need to be compiled together with additional costs required for the concurrent operations of all jobs or subsystems. These facilitate planning of resources, search of options, check quotations, control on costs, and determine the cost of professional services.

Basilica -Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain), designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926)

Pre-execution estimates are all presumptive. Such estimates remain variable, because for every change in parameters like, the market cost of input materials, labour, etc. the estimates need revision. The fluidity lasts till the quotations are executed. The estimates here onwards are commercial commitments for delivery. The estimates include cost of guarantees and warranties. As these are mostly linked to specified quantities and conditions, downward revision may not be permissible. For any later day change in specifications, the estimate, however, may go upward.

during the construction of one of the WTC towers.

Tender or Contract award estimates are very exact, requiring equally perfect drawings, details and specifications. These estimates are used to verify bills for work. The structure of such estimates is controlled by factors, such as: nature of an item, schedules and sequences of execution, contract system, supervision system and agency, modules of measurements, modes of measurements, mode of billing and mode of payment.

640px-BIM_for_residential_constructionA client may be exposed to selective sections of such evaluation exercises, to increase the awareness of the design process, to solicit additional information, and get approval of certain design decisions.


Post execution estimates are created to determine the total cost of project, taxes, amount fees to be paid to consultants and final cost certification (required for assigning services like security, maintenance and insurance). As the item is born, the post execution estimate becomes static (non changing) document, a historic estimate. Historic estimates conclusively state, the absolute value addition to the wealth, investigate conditions that caused cost over or under runs and to determine the set-off or depreciation amounts. Historic estimates, are usually carried out by third parties, or people not necessarily involved with design or execution processes.



Post 451 -by Gautam Shah


Edge seamed Carpets

A flooring system can be task functional or serving a specific sensuous purpose. Flooring is used for postural activities like walking, running, sitting, sleeping, etc. and for tasks like cooking, bathing, storage, crafts work, praying. Floors serve sensuous aims through colour, texture, gloss, pattern, hardness vs softness, tactility, sound absorbency vs reflectivity, etc.

Sod Turf harvesting for Golf Park Wikipedia Image by Max Wahrhaftig

Flooring are broadly classified as: hard or resilient, soft or scratch resistant, heavy duty, temporary or permanent, smooth or textured, dark or light coloured, hot or cold, opaque or transparent, absorbent or reflective, etc. These terms are subjective descriptions used synonymously. The floors are laid as parallel or inclined to gravity, in a straight gradient or variable gradient, and moulded to single curvature or double curvatures. Flooring are also discussed as exterior, interior, heavy duty outdoors like roads, wet areas like swimming pool sides, marine decks, toilets, kitchens, auto service areas, hygienic like hospitals and pharmaceutical plants, joint-less for sterile areas, technical areas like electronic plants, etc.

Typical opus alexandrinum guilloche floor in Cosmati style from the Cathedral at Terracina. Wikipedia Image by MM

Floors finishes are made of Natural materials, Processed natural materials, Synthetic mono and composite materials, and Composed of multi layer flooring systems.

Natural materials include: clays, soils, sands, stones, gravels, stone chips, pebbles, boulders, minerals, pozzolana, animal excreta and plant decompositions, wood, twigs, grass, leaves, etc.

Tatami Flooring, Japan Tamatsukuri Onsen in Matsue, Shimane prefecture, Japan Wikipedia Image by 663highland 

Processed natural materials include: products processed out of natural materials like baked or fired clay products, ceramics, vitrified materials, paper, textiles, timbers, plywood, tar, creosotes, gums, resins, metals, alloys, glass, etc.

Wooden Plank floor Fixed with nails San Juan Ancestral House in Santa Ana, Manila Wikipedia Image by Robby dela vega

Synthetic materials are mono or composites, and include: Metal and alloy sheets, foils, sections, organic and inorganic particulate or layered composites, polymers and elastomeric products. These are generally produced from elements rather than natural products. Often a material cannot provide a suitable finish or body-mass that can be applied as a floor finish.

Composed of multi layer flooring systems: A floor-finish itself becomes a combination system or a layered composite mass. The top layer works as the floor finish layer. The intermediate layers provide the necessary stiffness, strength or the body, side layers or the edge creates required connectivity to similar floor finishes or structural systems. The bottom layer is designed for suitable interaction with the substrate and the bonding media.

Technical floor -raised base Wikipedia Image by Photographer: Jonathan Lamb

Type of Floor Finish systems:

  • simply laid on
  • mechanically keyed
  • adhesive bonded
  • cast in site

Simply laid-on Flooring systems: These flooring systems remain stay-put due to the gravity. The units of floorings are broad based, and their sheer packing (tight conglomerations of several pieces) provides the stability. Such floorings do not work properly on sloping gradients and in vibratory (high traffic conditions) conditions. Thin or low mass blocks come off due to moving traffic or may get blown off by winds. Some gravity stayed floors (e.g. carpets by cleats, zippers, Velcro, etc.) are fixed or keyed by mechanical fixers. In some instances backing materials like rubberized coating also improve staying by increased friction.

Examples of Gravity stayed floors are: cobbles, brick lays, gravels, sand spreads, carpets, rugs, floor spreads, Daris, Chattais, woven mats, feet dusters, wooden boards, synthetic flooring mats, plastic and rubber tiles and rolls.

Pebbles floor Li Jiang Guesthouse Wikipedia Image by L-Bit 

Mechanically keyed Flooring systems: In this case the floor finish is incapable of staying in place due to the thin mass, law weight, absence of gravity (inclined, vertical or upside down surfaces), presence of other pulling forces, small extent or spread. Floor finish is mechanically keyed to the substrate or the structure. Mechanical fastening is achieved by systems, like nut-bolt, nails, screws, rivets, seams formation, stitching, etc. and also through: friction, suction surface tension, magnetic pull, electro static attraction, etc.

Examples of Mechanically keyed Flooring are: bus floors, stage wood floors, cladding, panelling, stair carpets,

Adhesive bonded floor systems: Floor finish is stayed by affixing in Three distinct ways: 1 several small units of floor finish are affixed edge to edge to create a larger unit, so that it can due to sheer extent stay-put in a place, 2 many different materials are layered, 3 the floor finish is affixed to the substrate or structure.

Examples of Adhesive bonded floors are: Natural stones (Marble, Granite, Slate, Sand stone), Cast material (cement blocks, mosaic tiles, IPS, Ironite) synthetic tiles (PVC, linoleum, Glass fibre), Ceramic tiles (bricks, terracotta, baked clay, glazed, porcelain, highly vitrified) and films, foils.

Cast on site floor systems: These provide a flooring system that is uniform in quality and very extensive so almost joint-less in nature. Such systems are usually designed to develop a bond with the substrate as the surface is formed by processes such as curing, evaporative drying, cooling, oxidation, calcification, chemical bonding, polymerization, heat, radiation and moisture induced changes.

Examples of Cast on site floor systems are: cement concrete floorings. Cement cast floors (IPS), cow dung, Surkhi and lime combinations, synthetic or culture marble systems, fibre glass and other resin+fibre matrix spraying composites, Organo plastics, tar-bituminous materials, Paints (Enamels, Cyclized rubbers, Lacquers, Epoxies, Polyurethane, etc.).

Warehouse heavy duty floor Wikipedia Image by AGVExpertJS 




Post 450 -by Gautam Shah


Trivial or non-substantive changes are caused by the user, without the help of a professional designer. Such changes are mainly limited to the interior domain of the space. These are personal adoptive changes. Highly articulated interior spaces have either a very strict regimen or very neatly defined functionality, and so do not allow major changes. A person acquires such a space at a premium rent or charge, is aware of the restraints, and so may not have the obsession for change. Trivial changes relate more to the sensorial aspects of an interior space, rather then its spatial quality. Such changes are ‘applique’ and do not affect the depth of the structure. The application or removal, both are ‘benign’ or non ‘causative’.

Exterior side Trivial changes for personalization > En Wikipedia image by Wikierpedia

Non-substantive changes on an exterior side of a building are caused for personalization. These changes rarely occur in one comprehensive exercise. Personalization is a social response to the conditions in the neighbourhood. Indians dominated residential areas in UK, USA, and other countries show strong personalization of exteriors, perhaps to imprint their Indian affinity. This is in stark contrast, to an Indian house in a community sparsely populated with Indians. Here the house owner avoids the external personalization.

Raw houses California st NW Washington DC Wikipedia image by AgnosticPreachersKid

Exterior side changes on buildings, trivial or otherwise, are discouraged by the local authorities to sustain the ethnicity of the neighbourhood. Exterior changes of all types, are not allowed on leased-rented properties. Logistically it is difficult to cause any change on the exterior faces of a multi storeyed building. In buildings where galleries or balconies are provisioned, occupants place demountable entities like flower plants, mobiles, hangings, screens, etc.



Buildings need substantive changes mainly when the user or usage change. Substantive changes are executed by professional designers, in both the domains, unless restrained by extraneous causes such as budget, logistics and local authorities. External changes are difficult in buildings with multiple owners (shared) as there is obligatory discipline. Similarly buildings located in dense localities have severe logistics problems that make it very difficult to cause any changes on the external face. Multistoried buildings with nearly integrated curtain walls as the exterior skin offers no scope for any external modification.

Difficult logistics for substantive exterior change in Multi-ownership apartments Gurgaon Delhi

Substantive changes are caused by brand conscious companies that have very defined para-metrics regarding Graphics, Space and Architecture. To accommodate first two the architecture needs alterations. Substantive changes relate to immediate commercial needs, and also to perception on how long one will stay in the new premises.

Commercial renovation substantive changes on exterior for branding



Post 449 -by Gautam Shah



Personnel are the most important asset for any organization. First, persons with only required qualities are sought. Second, better compensation is offered for hiring specific qualities. Third, incentives are offered for the readiness to reformat the talents and traits. Fourth, employees unable to convert are punished or shifted out of the organization. Organizations hire and retain people with required education, skill, experience, inclination and personality trait. Organizations fully exploit the individual talents and traits. Organizations recognize, support and even reformat these qualities through formal training and opportunistic exposures. Members of the organization are motivated in different ways to modify or upgrade their expertise. Organizations consider personnel as Human resources are not only immensely manipulable, but up-gradable to seemingly infinite levels of efficiency.

Puppet Designer- creator

Organizations have varied capacity to train and reformat the personality trait, natural talent and skills. Very small organizations have no opportunistic exposures to retrain an individual staff member, and as a result, find it easier to hire and fire the required people. Large organizations handle large volume of work, and so can effectively reposition the personnel for reformatting the talent. They shuffle their staff to adjust to consistently fluctuating needs. For large organizations, it is more prudent to retrain a person, than hire a stranger, and disturb the normal work culture of the unit or fire an otherwise known person.


Studio Aalto Upper floor

Once a person is employed, the management of the organization continuously monitor the performance. Organizations relate the performance of an employee to the profitability. This is more so in Design organizations where human resources are an important asset, unlike in manufacturing units where productivity of machines and raw material costs have greater significance. An Employer sees performance as a tool for future efficiency to be gained at a specific cost, whereas an Employee perceives performance as immediate compensation, personal fulfillment, future promotion and skill gain.

Eames Office


Personnel of the organizations are structured in three basic layers.

  • Chores that require little innovation, and which can as well be assigned to machines, are handled by workers (messengers, model makers).
  • Assignments that require some degree of thought but are methodical in nature carried out by technicians (site supervisors, draftsmen, CAD operators, etc.)
  • Tasks that require creativity are handled by experts or professionals (designers, subject experts).

This layered-arrangement varies slightly with the nature of the work in the organizations. Designers involved in Design+Build practice have the first category as the dominant layer. Organizations involved in design creation work have the third category as the dominant layer. Whereas Service organizations such as concerned with testing, evaluation, data management, administration, presentations, etc., have the second category as the dominant layer. In Small Design organizations, the focus is on Design creation, and services are outsourced. Large organizations have enough assignments to operate own and a viable in-house services unit. Large Design + Build practice operates production units attached to the design set-up, or as a distinctly separate workshop facility. Where the organization creates prototypes, the former is the setup, and where deliverable products are created, second option is used.




Post 448


Adhesives join materially and dimensionally different materials. Adhesives can penetrate deep groves, closely spaced sides and other difficult to access forms to create a joint. Adhesives are very low viscosity or thin body materials so take up very little space. Even their overlapping joints do not add much to the thickness of the assembly. Adhesives allow uniform stress distribution, unlike screws and nuts which create localized stress points. Adhesive Joints may be designed as required, to be elastic or rigid. Adhesive joints can be demountable and very clean on removal.

Glues, Gums, Adhesives

Adhesives form a joint at ambient temperature and at very low processing temperature. Adhesive joining does not affect crystallographic structure of metals or plastics. Adhesives can create very extensive, multi layered laminar compositions without physically cutting or puncturing the materials.


Shoe sole joining with adhesive

Adhesives bonding are surface sensitive joining system. Adhesives require elaborate surface treatments, specific application conditions, curing procedures and sometimes considerable expense of time for setting. Screws, nut-bolts and other mechanical fixings nearly involve substantial mass of the material being joined, so often can join materials with weak surface components. But for adhesive bonding the integrity of the surface component, with the rest of the material is extremely important. Inspection of the joint is difficult. Joint design becomes very critical, compared with other mechanical and thermal processes. The adhesive itself may corrode the materials it is joining, or induce stresses during curing.

Plywood layers joined with Urea formaldehyde

Many of the adhesive products are used as sealants, masking pastes, caulking compounds, bulk fillers, water proofing materials, cracks and crevices filler, temporary to permanent holding compounds (such as for metal sheets, glass, etc.).

Senior Airman Collin Uvanni caulks the baseboards of the new post office at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, June 6, 2006.  The office, constructed entirely by the 1st Expeditionary Red Horse Group here, will nearly double the size of the existing post office.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brian Ferguson)


Adhesives have many formulations and forms, both of which are closely linked to the technique of applications, material surface types and shape configurations. Adhesives can be broadly defined by what they join, such as paper, wood, metals-ceramics-glasses, fibers-fabrics, plastics-elastomers, and biological entities like skin-bones-hairs. Adhesive joining technologies also are a method of categorization, such as liquid-paste spread, hot glues, tapes or patches, ambient temperature curing, baking, heat curing, fusing, surface softening or dissolving, pressure softening, instant bonding, contact adhesive, etc.

Solvent based adhesive

One of the largest markets for adhesives is for wood, paper and fibres. Wood adhesives are of basically two types: 1 Used for joining wood components by carpenters and workshops, these are Polyvinyl Acetate (PVA) and Acrylic emulsion-based adhesives, 2 Used for plywood composite manufacturing such as plywoods, particle boards, etc., such as the Amino resins made from Urea, Phenol and Melamine processed in combination with Formaldehyde.

Hockey stick reinforced with adhesive tape

For wood joinery workshops, and packing and labelling fields two major types of adhesives are used, Adhesives based on solvents and based on water. Water-based systems are mainly in the form of emulsions. Water-based formulations of Polyvinyl acetate (PVA), Ethylene vinyl acetates (EVA) and Methacrylate, are widely used. Solvent adhesives include acrylics and styrene-butadiene (SB) latex. Acrylic resins are used for removable and permanent pressure sensitive applications.

Super Glue

Neoprene or Polychloroprene was the first synthetic elastomer adhesive. It is widely used in shoe manufacturing. It is also used as a contact adhesive for attaching large surfaces and very quickly. It provides water and heat resistant bonds. Epoxy adhesives are widely used for structural applications. Epoxies offer reliable and good adhesion to all substrates. Urethane adhesives are environmentally tough, abrasion resistant and flexible adhesives. Instant adhesives such as cyanoacrylates provide an instantaneous bond and are called super glues. These are available as liquids, pastes, and gels, that set at normal or elevated temperatures. These are used for repair work of pipes, toys, ceramics, etc.

Scotch Tape



Post 447


Fibres, yarns and fabrics have poor bulk, or have lost bulk during various treatments are re-bodied by many different substances. Bodying is also possible without any substantive coating. Certain heat and water treatments shrink the fabric, increasing the bulk.

Starched sized Neck Cloth

Weighting or bodying is a fabric finishing process that may be applied at fiber, yarn or fabric stage. Users oriented bodying processes mostly occur after the fabric production, at clothes stage. One of the oldest known weighting materials has been the size. Starch, gums and gelatine have been used to size fabrics for stiffness, glaze and adding weight. Wool, jute, linen and such coarse fiber fabrics do not require weighting. Fabrics of cotton and silk, in fresh state, and used (after some wear) state need bodying.

Anna Pavlova in Giselle, wearing a romantic Tutu

Classical bell tutus in The Dance Class by Edgar Degas, 1874

Traditional sizing treatments are temporary. Modern day chemicals such as modified starch, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and acrylic co-polymers provide long-lasting effect. Sizing of the warp yarn is required to reduce breakage of the yarn during weaving.

1890s wedding dress made from weighted silk. The splits and damage visible on the sleeve are caused by the weighting process of the fabric.

Raw silk contains from 25 to 30 % of its weight in sericin or gum. When the fiber is cleaned or fabrics are washed, this substance is removed. Silks are weighted to recoup the loss in fiber weight, and to add greater body to fabric. Silk has an affinity for several metallic salts, like iron, lead, and tin. The weight lost in the de-gumming process is refurbished by soaking the fibre or fabric in a bath of the metallic salts. For freshly woven silk fabric, it is first placed in an acid solution of stannic chloride (a chloride of tin). After the absorption of the substance, the fabric is washed, placed into a solution of sodium phosphate and washed. During this process, an insoluble compound (tin phosphate) is formed. This adds weight and body. Sometimes further treatment with sodium silicate is done. A silk can hold considerably more than its own weight, though heavy weighting reduces abrasion resistance, leading to greater wear and tear. Weavers and merchants, once added 10 times more weight, then the customary processing loss of 20 %. One simple way to check presence of chemical weighting compounds is to burn a piece of silk fabric, and it leaves behind a perceptible skeleton of metallic compound.

Laundry Starch

Cotton and other materials are sized for very temporary to permanent treatments. This may be in the form of starch, gelatin, or resin or a combination of these with lubricating substances such as oils or wax. Starches and gelatin are temporary sizes and are removed during laundering. Cheap cotton or rayon fabrics are often heavily starched for stiffness which after laundering may become quite limp. Fabrics like organdy are permanently stiffened Cottons.

Starch Weighted head scarf

Wool fabrics are not weighted, but compacted or fulled to give the fabric more compact or denser structure. Melton cloth is very heavily fulled wool fabric, with a dense -felt like texture.

Melton Wool

Silk Sizing