Post 520 by Gautam Shah
Openings are masked, framed juxtaposed, positioned, arrayed, disguised and concealed to add specific functionality. At practical level a layer directly alters the quality of the opening, but at metaphoric level it changes the meaning of the opening. The abstract modifiers include the vista effects of the openings.
Openings are masked to doctor the view to the outside or inside. It could be as an overlay to change the quality of view, to shape the view to horizontal, vertical or some other emphasis, to proportion and scale the view, to divide the view into smaller sections and to occlude or filter the view. Openings are masked to regulate the transitions occurring through it of people, goods, air, moisture, illumination, noise, etc. Openings are masked to adjust their dissimilar colour, texture, etc. from surrounding elements.
Openings are ‘masked’ through means of disguise for altering or concealing their true form, function and location. Masking for styling with forms, patterns or motifs is common in articulated architectures. Openings are potential points of unauthorized entry-exit and so need to be masked with electronic surveillance. ‘Masking of opening’ is also done by contextual placement of architectural and other elements. These elements physically and metaphorically act as a reference to denote not only the holistic perception of the opening, but transitions through the openings.
Openings have a dual personality of inside and outside phase, and nominal masking can also occur on one or both the phases. Masking systems, however, do take advantage of the third dimension, or the depth aspect of the openings. The depth aspect induces a perspective view, where the sides are also visible, adding to the extent of a visual surface, and creating a frame within frame view. This effect is enhanced by chamferring the sides and top-bottom. The chamferring increases the view of exterior from inside, and if on inside face it adds to perceptual illumination.
Opening masking systems are used to frame and overlay the view. Traceries have been used in Gothic windows. Torans have been used in Indian doors. Grills are used to impose patterns on the view. Translucent curtains are used to tone the level of brightness. In future, perhaps a video screen will not only project the external view, but suitably change the hue and tone quality. Modern surveillance tools are intervening controllers, but could also be made energy adding-subtracting devices to modify the environment.
The openings gain a tectonic meaning by their size, relative proportion to surrounding architectural features, colour, texture, shadows, contrasts, manners of arraying, repeated motifs or features, placement or siting, position (horizontal-vertical) and location. As an architectural composition the opening flourishes in consonance with the site, the environment, people and other building elements. Somewhere the differentiated meaning of outside versus inside begins to dissolve through visual and other perceptual reflections. The physical means of masking are giving way to energy induced effects.