HUMIDITY MANAGEMENT in BUILDINGS

Post 556  by Gautam Shah

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There are few obvious factors that affect the humidity in buildings. The most important ones are, location of the building and season of the year in consideration. Other factors include, ventilation system, heat input in the interior spaces, location of humidity generating sections within a built space, inter-space air exchanges, and the nature-duration-zoning of activities.

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wikipedia image by NepGrower-commonswiki

The humidity management in buildings has two extremes of high and low humid conditions of external environment. The external humidity affects the interior climate of the building by way of air exchange. The air exchange, adds to the humidity content and also dilutes the interior humidity. Adding humidity to space is comparatively easier than subtracting or scrubbing the excess moisture. Low moisture conditions can occur in hot arid areas and occasionally in cold climate zones. High humid conditions are associated with rains, sea coast areas, forested and tropical locations.

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Within a built space, toilets, kitchens and washing areas are prolific generators of humidity. Internal humidity is high in areas with high occupation such as meeting rooms, gymnasiums, cinema halls, industrial process areas such as quenching, etc. and in spaces with insufficient air-change or ventilation. External humidity is highest during a rain-shower and a little while after that. The same condition begins to occur, soon after, in interior spaces. But the external environment has greater scope of natural dilution of humidity compared to internal spaces.

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Smaller openings in hot arid zone for viscous air flow at Gurna mosque Luxor Egypt by Hasan Fathy

Level of humidity is the amount of vapour held by air at a particular temperature. If there is a rise in temperature, the air expands, and as a result more vapour can be accommodated in the same volume of air. Inversely when temperature drops, the air density increases, and its capacity to hold the vapour decreases. Many people cannot sense the fluctuations of relative humidity in the range of 25% to 60%, except through the side effects on the body over a longer period.

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Human body cannot cope up with rapid rates of moisture removal, as it has limited amounts of water available within it. Low level of humidity can remove even the moisture that helps skin to remain soft and supple. In cold arid climates the body has, neither excessive amounts of heat nor moisture and so even minute perspiration will evaporate readily. In contrast to this in hot and humid climates the perspiration does not evaporate readily, causing a heat buildup within the body. This is coped up in several manners such as shifting out to low humidity zones, being in the dominant air movement sections, reducing the metabolic activity of the body by resting and quality of food and adopting appropriate clothing. Air with high percentage of humidity is comparatively deficient in oxygen and may cause problems to people with TB or asthma.

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Low and High levels of humidity, directly affect health and buildings, and ‘sick buildings’ further affect the well being. For both humidity level extremities, the common solution lies in air exchange management between sections within the building and with the outside. Condensation and its consequence effects can be prevented by improving thermal resistance of buildings shell. Humidity generation can be managed by adding or isolating high humidity sections of the dwelling or processing plants, by including or avoiding water bodies in the surroundings.

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Desert cooler or evaporative cooler Wikipedia image by Billy Hathorn

Low relative humidity can lead to discomfort, shrinkage of building components mainly of wood and static electricity discharges. Dry conditions discourage growth of mould, bacteria, and viruses, but dehydrate the protective mucus linings of the respiratory system.  In hot arid climates, low level of humidity and movement of air cause rapid evaporation. The rate of evaporation governs the perspiration and sweating, the prime mechanisms to dissipate the body heat.

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High level of humidity will not allow adequate evaporation of the perspiration, resulting in the rise of body temperatures, and one has to resort to other methods of heat dissipation. High level humidity allows condensation of water over colder surfaces. Inner faces of exterior walls and window glasses are vulnerable to condensation. Such surfaces, if porous or textured, allow mould growth, encourage corrosion dust mite infestation and mildew in fabrics and furnishings.

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A laminar flow through low level openings for Hot humid climate Wikipedia image by Arayilpdas

Air movements within and around a building shell are very effective for humidity management, in all types of climates. In colder climates inter-room air exchange helps in dilution of humidity without major change in a heat profile of the body. Conversely direct ventilation of toilets, kitchens and such other zones removes humidity from acute areas. In warmer climates high speed air movement -the ‘winds’, help in heat and humidity exchange. Winds have turbulent or laminar air flow properties. A laminar air is more comfortable than turbulent air. The later one creates greater displacement of air mass, but the former one achieves a better mix of air. This is the reason why in hot arid climates small size opening is used to create turbulence or a viscous flow, and in hot humid climates a laminar flow is generated through body level openings to displace the humidity.

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PERFORMANCE of a DESIGN EMPLOYEE

Post 555  by Gautam Shah

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Design organizations need people of many different talents, but usually just for the duration of a project. Design organizations employ people with only requisite talent. Larger design organizations have some capacity to reassign and keep engaged the talent, but smaller organizations, go for ‘hire and fire’ policy. Design organizations, like other business entities, relate the performance of an employee to the profitability. For Design organizations human resources are very important assets, unlike in manufacturing units where productivity of machines and the raw material costs have greater significance.

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The employee perceives own performance in terms of compensation, personal fulfillment, future promotion and skill gain. When an employee has a chance to any of these, the person is well motivated. But an Employer sees performance as a tool for immediate profit to be gained at a specific cost. The organization, even after a person is employed continuously reassess the performance and relevance. The assessment relies on capacity of the individual to handle new roles with increased responsibilities. Performance can be conditioned as the enhanced capacity to deal with more complex or new problems, share of responsibility, greater authority, etc.

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image attribution >Sladen at en. wikipedia

During employment performance of a person is considered on many factors such as individual ability, personality traits, input effort, sincerity, perception of the role, motivating factors for seeking the current position, etc. An employee can be motivated for gain, comfort, increased learning, or even enhanced motivation.

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Θ Designers under the age of 30, have few positive operants in their favour, like: highest mobility -capacity to settle at any geographical location, work under the most difficult of conditions, and highest learning abilities. These qualities are very appreciated by employers, and so desire to hire people either as a complete fresher or less than 30 years of age (i.e. with 5/6 years of experience).

Θ A person before the age of 35 must gain the varied experiences and find the best employment in a larger organization, look for a participatory role in mid or smaller size organization. Alternatively this is the right time to plan own professional practice (self employment).

Θ Design professionals, by the age of 35 years begin to mature with sufficient work experience, personal contacts, and specialized knowledge. But they also begin to have Negative operants like: reduced learning capability, lesser reorientation faculties, less motivation, less migration and reestablishment willingness.

Θ Design professionals have last opportunity, before the age of 45 years, for seeking fresh employment. It is now the last opportunity to convert all accumulated abstract gains of the past (experience, expertise, know-how) into promotion or other materialistic forms.

Θ The chances of re-employment taper of drastically beyond the age of 45 years. Only way a designer can hope to shift the position is by joining another organization as partner, senior associate, consultant or a free-lancer. Such opportunities are very few, and would demand persons with outstanding competence and capacity to contribute.

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The employer terminates the services of an employee when the person becomes irrelevant for a role for behavioural or technical reasons. Employees in spite of the experience are not able to cope up with emerging technologies, or are unable to reset with changed office work culture. Employees become lethargic with advancing age, show unacceptable social behaviour and resist shifting to a new location.

Performance is not any absolute index but a contextual evaluation. The circumstantial conditions are, the employer as a human being, ever-changing needs of the organization, work culture at the place of employment and the optional talents available. The other set of contextual conditions are, the employee’s age, learning capacity, chances of promotion and compensation and optional opportunities for re-employment.

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Wikipedia image by Creaviva

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DESIGN METAPHORS

Post 554  by Gautam Shah

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Designs are representations of ‘themes with abstract content’ at one level and ‘intentions of functional nature’ at another level. As a theme, designs consist abstracted forms or motifs. The motif is an object or experience appearing several times in a peculiar context, or on its own in a changing scenario. It may appear as a consistent pattern or organization in temporal or spatial scale. Motifs or patterns enable us to enact, depict, narrate an objective. A motif can be structured pattern, imagery, phones, musical element or scale, gesture or posture, used to express a concept or reinforce it. In later case the motif serves the purpose of a metaphor as an abstract representation of something.

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Art Nouveau Doors in France Boulevard du Montparnasse Wikipedia image by Dinkum

Designs, also represent intentions for a future object or happening. The functional nature of the object or happening, are too large in scale and long lasting, and cannot be expressed except in some surrogate form. The form allows condensation, comprehension, manipulation within a sensorial reach capacity. All aspects of design intentions cannot be transformed as a surrogate for several reasons. The surrogate manifests on, media of some type, which has limitations of size, formatting technology, scale of detail, retention and recovery, temporal variations, etc. These forces, one to adopt metaphoric forms for expressions. For example colours become monochrome, solids and surfaces presented through edges as lines, graphics for cut section views, frames in time sequences or cuts for zones in space.

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Story telling through imagery and metaphors -Pabuji no Pat, Rajasthan India Wikipedia image MicheleLovesArt

Metaphor establishes an ephemeral link between a real and unreal things or between two unreal things. So a relationship between a real object and its representation is metaphoric. The design intentions for a functional object or happening as a surrogate relies heavily on things ‘unsaid’. People who read design for the first time never make a ‘head or tail’ of it. But cues to the represented reality are strong enough to cause the learning. Most designers experience this, and so make design presentations in many different formats, such as plans, elevations, isometric or perspective views, models, renderings with shadows etc. These act as the metaphors for metaphors, but cumulatively transmit the idea of design. Here metaphoric design representation is an analogical bridge to something that is far away. Somewhere a comparison, association, slight familiarity is established, and the design is justified and accepted.

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Door metaphor for change -Flickr image by Hartwig HKD

 Designers use metaphors:

1 to establish a cognitive link to the intended environment of the design object or happening.

2 to project a unitized organization from the diverse components or situations.

3 to envision a unitary concept overriding distributed and differing elements of the design.

4 to imply the absentee elements and their relationships with a real entity.

5 to ascribe a sensorial experience to environmental or spatial conditions.

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Surfing a metaphor used in Internet -Wikipedia image by (original) Megan L. Stiner

Metaphors occur in design formation because one is dealing with many different stack holders, each of which has different level of knowledgeability, cultural background and relevance to design process. First design presentations are highly personal expressions, which are abstract and unstructured entities. In initial stages the nature and content of design are formative not amenable to nominal design language. So the only recourse is to ‘sing’ about it. ‘Singing’ allows literary intonation of feelings, and both of these have been with us for a long time, and so familiar.

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“Vimaan” architecture (light-airy like an aeroplane) Galleries at Rani ki Vav (step well) Wikipedia image by Mv.shah

Design metaphors are often described as concept or idea, but design metaphors rely on real forms and experiences. The forms and experiences lying in subconsciousness, ride on to some justifiable precept. A “very large hall” as a description is reinforced with degree intonation, becomes a metaphor. Descriptions like “vast expanse of airy space”, “bright open rooms”, “presence in the neighbourhood”, are not metaphoric unless reinforced with a real object or experience. Some situations however, have accepted relationships, like cool (mountain), breezy (sea shore), dark (night), spooky (sound-echoes). In design to endow the intended experience metaphors accompany, literal symbols (including motifs, patterns), similes, material expressions, architectonic elements, established spatial forms, time scheduling the experience (delaying, accelerating, enhancing) and sensorial exposure and reach.

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Runestone Uppland Sweden Wikipedia image by Berig

Motifs and patterns have inherent meaning and order, and these are used as a superlative or emblematic expressions. At this level it can serve few intentions of a metaphor. But such usage requires an ethnic maturity and associations with other objects and expressions.

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Museum of Old and New Art -Nolan snake painting of motifs Wikipedia image jeffowenphotos

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