Post 500  by Gautam Shah


A building has two components, the land and the structure. The value of land is circumstantial, goes up or down, but does not translate into gain till one sells it or builds upon it. Structures are erected and then maintained till they offer some gain. When a structure does not provide sufficient return, it is altered in many ways, including complete replacement. A structure may have to wait for a very long time till an entrepreneur realizes its potential. The gains after the alteration or replacement must be large enough to pay it off the new investments and return over the value of land. When a piece of Land is highly valued due to circumstantial reasons like location, neighbourhood, connectivity, etc. it also means the potential as a built space is also high.


Costs of maintenance usually come from the rents or lease charges. Even if the buildings are maintained by the tenants or lessee, they would not be contributing anything extra over the cost of having that built-space. Tenants and leaseholders have an immediacy with the utility of building through expenditure on maintenance. The owners of land-buildings, however, have long-term vision for continued returns.

Bradbury Building LA USA

Bradbury building Los Angeles 2005 USA

Costs of alterations are outlined by the safety of the structure. An unsafe building cannot be worth any alteration. Cost of alterations, within that limit, is determined by the new function to be accommodated. The new function must be supported primarily by the existing structure, and than by the site (location, neighbourhood, connectivity).

Times of India Building Bombay

Costs of alterations are of many types, some directly related to the basic functionality, or for the image to be endowed to the building. The image could be for a changed look, for corporate branding or for matching with some local or alien image. A process of change could also add more amenities and facilities. Modern technology offers leaner entities there by saving floor space or increased volumes. Typically windows placed on an outer edge, without a sun-shading recess adds to floor space. Cutouts or light-wells make darker areas functional. Open office layouts, without structural partitions gain floor space. Mezzanine floors, reduced floor heights, creating new or using cellar spaces, plumbing-less toilet utilities, wireless communications, all are designed to gain spaces. Management of a retail or selling area spares spaces. Storage spaces are eliminated by continuous supply systems, home deliveries and digital display facilities.




Replacement of a Building is an extreme step. But it often represents change of ownership with fresh entrepreneurship. Options to demolitions are few. Demolitions have to be carried out in restricted areas where relocations of existing functions, safety, environmental corruption and disposal of debris are prime concerns. Displacements or relocations of the buildings can be done in very select cases, and involve great expense and risk. Relocation of building is carried out in two basic ways. Buildings are dismantled and reassembled, or transported as a whole at another location. The first approach requires building to be consisting of separable and re-unite-able parts, whereas the later one requires a building to be an integrated entity. In reality buildings are exclusively neither of these. It was possible to shift the Egyptian temple from the Aswan dam site as it consisted of units of rock. A modern integrated RCC frame structure cannot be disassembled. A small structure may be shifted as a whole, but a large structure may not have the required street width in an urban location. Displacements are conceived for highly sentimental entities, and only as a last resort.






Post 499  by Gautam Shah










10 COATINGS -Surface finishing technologies










20 CRAFT of WALL PAINTING (Neolithic)

21 CRAFT of WALL PAINTING (Palaeolithic)


23 COATINGS Iron age

24 PRIMITIVE COATINGS Surfaces, Materials and Techniques




28 BLACK Part – 1


30 RED Colours of ancient times




















50 GRISAILLE -monochrome form of presentation








58 GP -General purpose paints



Post 498 –by Gautam Shah


Cosmetic Box

In early 1920 Lacquers were considered industrial coatings, mainly used by White-goods and Automotive industry. Earlier to this period a Lac or Shellac coatings were wood craft finishing techniques and material. Industrial age lacquers were favoured due to their fast drying and non-yellowing properties. Clear Lacquers were increasingly replacing tin as MS sheet coating for food packing but were found suitable for aluminium sheets packing such as collapsible tubes and canisters. Lacquers were also used for the nail polishes and as hair fixing sprays. These lacquers as the name suggests were not made of natural Lac or shellac but from Nitro Cellulose. The lacquers needed thinners of various types for different application technologies and seasons.

Lacquer Paint Pic from Wikipedia by Author Victorgrigas

Oil paints based on Alkyd resins or GP Enamels need thinner of single solvent material such as Genuine turpentine, Mineral turpentine and in few instance Naphtha or superior grades of kerosene would work. These solvents singly can work for all application needs and for cleaning-washing post-painting work. With alkyd-based paints, a resin is the film-forming component. It is reduced in viscosity during the manufacturing and later during application. The requirements of solvent-s differ according to ‘length of the resin’ (which designates the proportion of oil versus other modifying-polymerizing agents, such as typically a phthalic anhydride). Short-oil length resins may require stronger solvents. A solvent that dilutes the viscosity alone may not achieve application level of viscosity. Some type carrier or diluent solvents are required which acting as a ‘carrier’ material help achieves application level (such as spraying) viscosity. The carrier solvents evaporate fast before the chain linking (and so film forming-drying) process starts at ambient temperature, raised or baking temperature or through a catalyst enabled reaction.

Wood Brushing Lacquer Pic from Wikipedia Pic by Author Mk2010

The word Lacquer has become a misnomer. A Lacquer in nominal usage means a coating system that is fast drying, tougher and non-yellowing. All lacquers, however, are not NC (nitro-cellulose) lacquers. Other Lacquer coating systems formulations are based on Acrylic resins, Amino resins, Urethane and epoxy systems. NC lacquer dries with evaporation of solvents, at ambient temperature or often in warm chambers. Other formulations require baking-stoving environments or have two-pack system (a catalyst and paint mixed just before application). A NC lacquer film can be wetted-dissolved after drying (such as Nail-polishes of pre 1965 era) by a thinner, and are called ‘non-convertible systems’ (product that does not get chemically converted into something else). But newer generation-lacquers cannot be dissolved or removed easily after drying, and are called ‘convertible systems’ (product that gets chemically converted into something different).

Box Lacquered

Lacquer Nail Polish Pic through Wikipedia -Source by Author » Zitona «

All types of Lacquers, convertible or non-convertible products require very specific type of thinner. A company that formulates the paint system, for reasons of Patent knowledge, may not reveal the exact formulation. So it is very necessary to use the thinner specified by the manufacturer. A thinner is a combination of different solvents. There are two important considerations, action of dissolving and diluting (acting as a carrier), and evaporation rates of the solvents. A Lacquer system may need as much as 75% or more thinners for spray like application. But after the deposition on the surface, it does not require such low viscosity. So some solvents (usually diluent or carrier) begin to evaporate very quickly. Some other slower evaporating solvents, allow time for film to level out.


Lacquer coated Brass

A lacquer-thinner is a combination of solvents of basic Five groups. First group consists of latent solvents like Toluene, xylene and naphtha. The other three groups are of active solvents such as, ketones, esters, glycol ethers. Alcohol, though a latent solvent, in combination with other solvents plays an active role.

Lacquer thinners are affected by the weather and process of application. A normal thinner works for average temperature-moisture conditions. For very wet, windy weather and for brushing or manual polishing with a cloth bundle, reduced the rate of evaporation achieved by adding or using a ‘retarder thinner’. For spray like application, an accelerated rate of drying is possible and for this accelerator or fast lacquer thinners are used. Spray applications require more and faster drying thinner compared to wood lacquers that require less and slow drying thinner.



Shellac finishes were the first true clear coatings. Shellac is an insect exudate known as stick lac. Stick-Lac is refined to remove impurities and lighten its colour. Button-Lac is a manually purified is of darker colour, while machine purified shellac is often dewaxed and de-colourized. Shellac is soluble in methylated spirit or alcohols. Sankheda furniture and Chinese lacquer items are examples of shellac coatings. Shellac is a very effective coating material even in very thin viscosity, as a result its penetration and filling capacity is excellent. It is eminently recoatable so a very level and glossy surface is possible.



MANAGING FEES -for Building Design practices PART – II

Post 497  by Gautam Shah



A design client visiting a design office or querying about design fees through a communication channel, must provide some basic details about own-self and the project (its location and scope). Such inquiries however, routine must not be answered instantly or orally. A design fee statement is not a commodity rates list, and should be presented after knowing, meeting or vetting a client. A design fee statement presented to a client should be very specific. It should never be a standard print-out with few filled in blanks.

Students People Talking

A designer must mention as to why (under what circumstances) the fees are being stated in the presentation. For this purpose a Fees statement must mention the name of the client, and some details of the project, including its location.

Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode, Kerala India. A large building complex design has many overlapping design interests and fees for a component must have Limitations Statement.

A typical Starting Line could be > In reference to our meeting / your query of Dated: Date-Month-Year, I/We present our Terms, Conditions and Schedule of Charges for the Design Services1 for XYZ project2 for Client3 at, Location of project4.

1 = Architectural, Interior Design, Landscape Design, etc.

2 = Residential, School, Hospital, Office, etc.

3 = Mr or Mrs XYZ or M/s ABC Co (The Client).

4 = Plot or Building number, Suburb, Town, State, etc. (Location of the Project).


It is very necessary to define precisely the scope of design services and for this Statement of Limitations must become part of Design Fees Statement. A statement of limitation restricts the liability to only the listed nature of services.

Pic from Wikipedia by Author Wolfgang H. Wögerer, Wien > French photographer en:Jean-Pierre Sudre, France, 1975.


1 We offer Design Services in the field of ____ . This statement relates to, our offer for design only services. Design services will mean and include designing, describing, specifying and facilitating (by our selves and other consultants to be appointed for sub services) the total project and its systems that are necessary. Design shall mean all drawn, written or digitally formatted documents, oral or otherwise instructed or implied schemes emanating from our office or the staff. The Period of design services shall nominally last 12 months from the date of payment of first payment of fees. On completion of this period, the Design Services will have to be renegotiated as a fresh project.

2 We offer our services as Designers, and for that we do not sell, supply or help procure any components, units, goods or materials, or provide on rent, hire or provide on any other basis: human resources, plants, tools, equipment, implements or gadgets. We also do not undertake any type of operations or servicing of jobs. We do not provide any operational surety or performance guarantees or warrantees for the items, systems, or schemes likely to be generated or formed through implicit or explicit design, suggestion, instructions drawn, described, specified in our design.

3 All payments to vendors, contractors and suppliers shall be made to the party concerned, directly by the client. As a designer our responsibility will be restricted to checking the work bills, and approving for payments, provided such bills or their authenticated copies are presented by the client with appropriate request to us.

President of UW Mark Emmert with an architect Pic from Flickr by Wonderlane

4 The job of Design shall mean designing and specifying all things for a building and its immediate surroundings (if listed in scope of a design project), and apparently for which no sanctions from any authority will be required. However, if any such sanctions / permissions are required, the client shall on own cost arrange them, or negotiate the issue separately with the designer.

5 As a consultant Architectural Designer we operate on our own, providing all such services to cause a building structure. We do not collaborate or agree to take in any help from any other designer or such experts or consultant, working on the behalf of any other agency weather paid by the clients or not. We will not accept or abide by reports, advise or observations offered by such persons or agencies. We will also not allow access or make available any copies of our documents, studies etc. to such persons or agencies.



Post 496  by Gautam Shah


In buildings and landscapes we move around with natural care. The care includes maintaining balance, controlling the speed of movement, knowing which of the body limbs are where, the direction of movement, orientation of the body and postural position. We sense our own body movement and external forces that quicken or slow it down, without using other sensual faculties. We sense the position of our body and the direction of movement. We also perceive the spatial position and orientation with three-dimensional references. And yet within that we attain and maintain the postural equilibrium.

Pic from Fickr through Wikipedia by Author : Bengt Nyman

Balance and movement are two interconnected experiences. Balance, equilibrioception, or vestibular sense is the sense that allows an organism to sense body Movement, Direction, and Acceleration. The organ of equilibrioception is the vestibular labyrinthine system found in both of the inner ears. In technical terms, this organ is responsible for two senses of angular momentum acceleration and linear acceleration (which also senses gravity), but they are known together as equilibrioception.

Exercises using the Interim Resistive Exercise Device (IRED) equipment NASA

The vestibular system, in most mammals, is the sensory system which is the main contributor for the sense of balance and spatial orientation. This serves the purpose of coordinating movement with balance. The vestibular system contains three semicircular canals in each labyrinth, generating three-dimensional sense. Perceptions through the vestibular system are very fast and can generate responses to maintain perceptual and postural stability. But yet compared to sensual perceptions like vision, touch and audition, the responses are little delayed.

Performing with mallakhamb India

Kinesthesis is the sense of the position and movement of body parts. Through Kinesthesis, people know where all the parts of their bodies are, how and which-way (direction) they are moving. Kinesthetic sense, provides the parietal cortex of the brain with information on the relative positions of the parts of the body. Receptors for Kinesthesis are located in the muscles, joints, and tendons.


The sense of balance or equilibrium provides information about where the body exists in space. When the vestibular system gets stimulated, in absence of any other perceptions (like seeing, hearing or touching) we still experience the body movement. In space craft, engineers are checked for their sense of perceptivity of balance and equilibrium in darkness and near zero sound environments. We control speed of movement while going down a hill. The sense of going up or down on a clockwise or anti-clock-wise spiral stair is predictable, because we relate to all those experiences in some other references. ‘A person in complete darkness and sitting in a chair will feel that he or she has turned to the left if the chair is turned to the left’. Similarly, the sense of balance tells people ‘whether they are standing up, falling in an elevator, or riding a roller coaster’.

Tapper balancing act on coconut tree .



Post 495  by Gautam Shah


A front door is a normal entrance and opportunities arrive from it, but a back door is a nominal exit for the luck to run out. A locked front door means missing the opportunities, but an open backdoor mean someone is stealing your secrets. Front doors have protective deities (dwarpal-Hindi), so evil spirits know that this has many possibilities. Back doors do not need a door-guardian, as gossip mongers, never leave it alone, even for a while. Gods may close one door to open another. In Hindi it is said ‘Khuda chappar fadake deta hai’ meaning ‘if God is willing, gives by breaking the roof’. So God does not need an open door invitation to come to your place, but Christ expects, ‘I am the door,’ and ‘no one comes to the Father but through Me.’

Wayna Picchu viewed from Machu Picchu’s access gate > Wikipedia Author Martin St-Amant (S23678)

A door involves a change of state. It offers hope, new life or fresh beginning from the wilderness, but may take one into an unfamiliar realm. On entering a door one achieves a communion with the creator, but most spiritual leaders had to go out of it for the Nirvana. At mundane level, the door illuminates and ventilates a space. It provides visual engagement, but also causes social interference, intrusions, acoustical disturbance and penetration of pollutants.

Mahadeva Temple at Itagi (or Ittagi) in the Koppal district of Karnataka state, India from Wikipedia Author Dineshkannambadi

 A door leads from one space to another space. It should have dual expression of the interior as well as the exterior. The closed or false door of the burial chamber has a hypothetical reality of another world. The exterior or beyond the false door, life manifests as supernatural, unpredictable, full of dilemmas. And to contrast it the chamber interior is made with rich ways of life, virtues, good manners, exemplary behaviour and abundance. Temples and other religious places have elaborate door faces. The doors’ motifs, each represents a microcosm of divine life. There are doors within portals, where one can enter, but unlikely to escape.

828px-Hamilton_Hotel_-_3rd_floor_corridor_-_Portland_OregonIn real buildings a door leads you to other doors. But such halls or vestibules can have few doors leading out. Corridors offer long rows of doors. The doors in corridors, unlike their counterpart in halls, always remain closed, and are full of intrigue and enemies lurking behind. That is the reason why Romans expected every honourable citizen to keep the doors open. An open street door showed a willingness to serve the community participate fully in political and social life. A place of concealment was a place of potential revolution. To keep the doors open and still have some visual privacy the doors were buffered with depth, fauces and atrium. The family members, neighbours and other regular visitors however, used a simpler side or back door set flush with the street, but left ajar. The front entrance door was a decorative entryway flanked by half columns or pilasters to create a picture-like frame. It was without a guard, except drawn or a mosaic motif of a dog.In Roman culture, the front door was always open to a stranger and community but to understand and be treated equal to the family, one had to approach from other means’.

The exterior of the domus depicting the entrance with ostium > Wikipedia by Author Stepan Bakalovich

Early doors were pivoted, and usually without a door frame. The architectural masonry sides provided a portal like framing. This masonry framing acted as a stopper for the pivoted shutter with opening inward or outward. But a door opening outward or inward, has been judged differently. A door opening outward may show that one needs to be more accessible to others. However, an inward opening door may represent the desire for inner exploration and self-discovery. Roman houses had doors that opened inward. Roman society permitted only rare individuals of high honour to have doors that opened out on to the Street. Plutarch wrote that the Romans complimented Marcus Valorous, a founder of the Roman Republic, was allowed a house with doors opening outwards as perpetual recognition of his merit.

Drawing of a typical roman atrium house. From Wikipedia by Author Tobias Langhammer

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

5 Uhr-Tee in Japan! In feierlicher Zeremonie wird dem Gastgeber ein Teepäckchen überreicht, welcher von dem Hausherrn äusserst geschmackvoll eigenhändig zubereitet wird.

There have been doors that have defied the explicit facility of inward-outward opening. The sliding doors did not impinge the exterior or interior space, nor did they force a person to move backward. The saloon or bar-doors were half shutters, moving both-ways. In US the revolving doors were marketed with a lot of hype, as ‘doors that always remain closed’.


DESIGN DOCUMENTS and Liabilities – Part II

Post 494  –by Gautam Shah



Design Documents generated by a design organization are of many different types and created for many levels of exposures. Exposure to employees of the organization, consultants, clients, contractors-vendors and public is well-measured, because the documents mean different things to different stack-holders. As a result, design documents can create liabilities of wrong promises. In spite of aspirations to make design process transparent for all stack-holders, some degree of design maturation is necessary before the design is made public. Design maturation process means only one final version becomes part of public to protect intellectual rights such as copyright or patents.


In an earlier article (DESIGN DOCUMENTS and Liabilities – Part -I) several types of design documents and resultant liabilities were discussed. These were: 1 Personal Documents, 2 In-house documents, 3 Documents for Clients.

Consultant interactions

4 DOCUMENTS FOR CONSULTANTS’ ASSIGNMENT are of two levels: 1 Advice, option seeking or exploratory, an informal level of consultation, and 2 Formal or Action level, for the actual finalization of the scheme, and to decide the modalities of execution. In the FIRST case, the interim design documents that are schematically complete, but lacking in finer details may serve the purpose. However, if any alternatives are sought then these must be self-evident and marked with an order of preferences. For the SECOND case the documents must be very definitive and complete. It must also unambiguously state the consultant’s responsibilities and liabilities.

Wright brothers patent plans 1908

5 DOCUMENTS FOR PERMISSIONS / APPROVALS are very much a condensed version of the scheme, as the authorities wish to check compliance with existing rules and regulations. Such drawings have prescribed format of presentation, including content, scale and manner of expression. A practical rule is to show information that is asked for or absolutely required for the purpose.

Presentation of scheme

6 DOCUMENTS FOR PRESENTATION / PUBLICATIONS are created for the design office, client and other public agencies to market, publicize, generate a debate and solicit funds for the project. Preparation of such documents is often handed over to professionals. Provisions (sizes, proportions, scale), facilities and amenities, indicated on such presentations are frequently considered promise. This happens when presentations are created before, or in the early part of the project.

Component Details from Wikipedia, Author: Thorsten Hartmann

7 DOCUMENTS FOR JOB AWARD OR EXECUTION are of many different types, but mainly of 1. Set of working or execution drawings, specifications and quantity schedules, and 2. Site communications and Reports. Even where a job is simple, known or traditional, these must be formally defined. Contract documents have one major problem and that is consistency across the documents. A write-up on drawing sheets may be interpreted differently from the drawing, unless it is properly linked. A detail and component drawings are sometimes at a variance. The trades or the jobs are not distinctly recognizable, generating many quarries from the main contractor or vendor.


1 Set of Working or Execution drawings consist of following:

Layout Drawings, as the name indicates, are used for laying out the work on a site and specifying the whole work. This is the main or starter drawing, and so it establishes links to other drawings and details. It is used for conveying methods of interpretation for this and other linked drawings. Measures (dimensions, tolerances, fitments, margins, and measures like weights /mass /speed /time), which cannot be graphically indicated or linked to any particular graphical view are presented as a common write-up or explanation. Being the basic drawing, it provides a common ground to indicate, when and how a part or parts of drawing become execution worthy. Limitations and responsibilities of various agencies’ work, time schedules and inter linkups for start and completion of various items, parts, etc., are all specified in the layout drawing.

Architectural Details : Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, WIS,28-WATO,1-

Detail Drawings are large scale (and so detailed) presentations of (vertical, horizontal or inclined) sections. Sections are recognized for the complete presentation of the building form, space entity, orientation and sequencing. Detailed sections often overlap at the edges, and care should be taken not to duplicate the details and dimension. These drawings are accessed by several trades’ persons or vendors, so delineate the work responsibilities for siting or laying their systems. The drawing also establishes the relationships (such as sequence of assembly) for various systems and component. The detail drawings include legends showing graphical vocabulary used for identifying various materials in sections and on their faces (elevations). It also includes graphical symbols to represent very small parts or standard components.

Component Drawings are accessed mainly by the specific vendor or contractor. The details consist of fitment conditions and operative parameters. Components’ details without siting specifications can mean that standard or the vendor’s conditions apply. Standardized components may also be indicated by referencing the recognized standards’.

Written details are of different types such as: 1. Within the drawings, 2. attached to the drawings, and 3. stand-alone documents that can be used independently, without reference to the drawings.

Written details within the drawings describe quality parameters of the parts or components such as finishes, procedures and schedules of assembly, required work precautions, etc. These are tabulated in terms of trade-job and scheduled in terms of start-end times.

As a separate document but attached or referenced through the Drawings: Where Specifications are not related to any particular drawing or a view, describe common materials and processes etc. relating to the entire work, and when are very lengthy; are supplied on separate sheets of paper accompanying the drawing. If necessary, mention of such sheets is made in the relevant drawing. Such sheets sometimes are bunched together as a catalogue of Specifications of Works.

■ As Memos and Short Messages: Site and Design Office continuously exchange messages of inquiries, clarifications, confirmations, rejections, acceptance, corrections, reporting, etc. Some such communications have an effect equal to a revision of a specification or initiation of a new specification. For this reason all messages, routed through whatever mode of communication must be Dated and Numbered with Author and Receiver’s Identity. It is often more prudent to separate out Communications that could have Consequential Effect, and reconfirm them in the weekly or periodical reports. Communications relating to a specification, must mention the relevant part, component, subsystem or section of the project and exact location (drawing, communication, tender etc.) where it was earlier referred to.

Haines Shoe House in Hallam, Pennsylvania