ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part III

Post 740 -by Gautam Shah

5 Abbot Suger and formation of Gothic Structure —

43 Basic features of the Gothic architecture, like Rib Vaults, Pointed arches, thin ribbed columns and height Ambulatory Vaulting, Basilica of St. Denis https www flickr com photos pro7227729490

Basic features of the Gothic architecture, like Rib Vaults, Pointed arches, thin ribbed columns and height, were in use before, but for the first time, all were assembled together. The density and darkness of the Romanesque buildings were due to the heavy load bearing walls required to support the masonry domes. The heavy walls also accommodated the displacement thrusts within their thickness. The heavy walls could not rise up to great heights.

36 The sense of Vertical The ceiling at the crossing, St. Denis https www photos scottgunn 28857102347 b81658603a_c

Suger recognised the value of, than sporadically used concept of flying buttresses. Sugar also saw that buttresses placed outside the enclosure skin, made the interiors free of heavy walls. The technical improvements of external buttresses and pointed arch-based vaults reduced the ‘self or dead load’ on columns. The enclosure skin or exterior walls were more or less replaced with columns. These schemes created greater height and larger windows.

38 The apse or East side of Cathedral with flying buttresses in 1878

44 Reformed Nave Basilica St Denis France Paris Wikipedia Image by Britchi Mirela

37 Basilica of Saint-Denis, Paris, interior Wikipedia Image by Rita1234

The significance of Saint-Denis, then, was not that its master builders pioneered the new forms of construction, it was simply the first time that they were used together with the intention of creating a markedly different effect than that which prevailed in the abbey’s Romanesque contemporaries. By skillfully combining these pre-existing threads, a new architectural creation was created.

41 Abbaye de Saint-Denis years 1140-1144 1231-1281 cd246320b8_k

Gothic style as it evolved had the columns and the vaults. The new features, like, rib, pointed arches, and column to column windows, all accentuated the verticality. The Gothic architecture intentionally maximized the lightness of the space through height. The abbot was deeply affected by the results of his own alterations and ‘wished to reinforce the same through artistic glass works’.

39 Gothic vaulting reduced the roof loads and use of pointed arch and vaults allowed equal roof height for all span widths. St. Denis https www photos scottgunn 28857101797

In the first phase Sugar had to see that during the construction original structure remained substantially functional. The original Romanesque nave, the central space was kept intact. Suger added two bays (of 3 spans and 3 stories each) on new western front entrance, and a new Narthex, with 4 additional bays. The new western extension was completed in 1140. As construction of the western façade was completed, the most important and emotional section for the pilgrims and rulers was taken up. Crypts now had an airy, illuminated and wider space, which made it less suffocating and easy to move area.

42 Map of the tombs in Saint Denis Basilica

46 Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis, Royal burial place for French Kings and Queens https photos ninara 24596301962

‘About forty-two kings, thirty-two queens, sixty-three princes and princesses and ten loyal servants of the kingdom were buried in the Basilica of Saint Denis until the nineteenth century. The kings’ necropolis is one of the most important funerary monuments in the world. This was not always the case. Indeed, the Abbey in Saint-Denis was confronted with competition, especially from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and only got recognition thanks to the obstinacy of Abbot Suger and the support of the Capetian dynasties’.

It was largely due to Suger, in the 12th C, the Basilica became a principal sanctuary of French Royalty. It was equally important place, like Reims Cathedral, where the Kings were crowned.

47 Basilique Saint Denis Model Wikipedia Image by Arnaud 25

To reconstruct such an important place, with a new structure (of double rows of columns + exterior colonnaded wall) was politically and religiously very risky decision. The old structure was preserved till the new 3 parts ribbed roof vaults became ready. The new external wall was full of stained glasses. The improvised new walls of stained glass, reduced the wall area, to minimum. This was completed after Suger’s death, and was known as Rayonnant Gothic or style Decorated Gothic.

48 Very difficult scheme of erecting new columns preserving the old ones for a while Ambulatory at St. Denis https photos scottgunn 43745511422

Suger was able to design and strategize the first church in the Gothic style. He exploited the stained glass windows in St. Denis as a mural art to depict stories and messages far more brilliantly than the original Romanesque mosaic murals. The rich and famous, now wanted to contribute and participate in the reconstruction. They wanted their names to be included, and also suggested the themes for the compositions. This offered St. Denis huge sum.

49 Stained glass _window in the Basilica of Saint Denis Paris France

The themes of stained glass windows were of three types, dominantly religious, secular or ornamental. First two group are mixed, but the ornamental themes had entire surface.


Suger had planned twin towers on west end, but, in his life, time only the southern one was completed. The northern tower was finished by one of his successors. The south one, twice faced lightening strikes in 1219 and 1837. It remained incomplete ever since.

51 Saint-Denis Basilique Fassade Wikipedia Image by Zairon


ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part II

Post 739 -by Gautam Shah

Part II of series IV
4 Abbot Suger and Ideas on Illumination —

27 The The interior illumination and the new expanse of the space, was perceived as the metaphysical light or Christ’s divinity, not available anywhere else. https photos scottgunn 2885710162

Suger, understood lux, as the external light, shining outside the cathedral, coming directly from the sun and nature. This was for everyone, ‘even the heretic and the wicked’. But, once it entered through the windows, it emitted in all directions, and transformed into lumen. It is a new metaphysical light through the tinted glass. This interior light was consecrated and holy, for ‘faith and divine inspiration’. The interior illumination and the new expanse of the space, was perceived as the metaphysical light or Christ’s divinity, not available anywhere else. The new ethereal wall and the illumination functioned much like the ancient temenos, a sanctimonious precinct. ‘Walk in the light, as He is in the light’.

28 Interior of Saint-Denis Wikipedia Image by Gilles Messian

Suger could, somehow, visualize three different Latin terms for Light: Lux, Lumen and Illumination. (The Three terms, perhaps derived from a book* by Avicenna, the Muslim philosopher and physician of 11th C). *Kitab al Shifa =’The Book of Healing or Latin title Sufficientiae’. This was a voluminous philosophical and scientific treatise or encyclopaedia. It covered, topics like logic, natural sciences, psychology, (the quadrivium or four subjects like, geometry, astronomy, mathematics besides music, and metaphysics).

29 Predominance of Blue- Red by Suger The heart of the sanctuary glows in splendour, which is united in splendour, radiates in splendour. Detail of 12th C glass, St. Denis https photos scottgun.

Coloured glass had long been understood as a surrogate for the precious stones. It has been in use even before the Gothic era. The exploitation of colour contrasts (Red -jasper Blue -sapphire, where the red represented the passion, holy blood, and the blue, as the colour of heaven) was rather new interpretation. Incidentally, these two colours, form nearly the opposite ends of the visual spectrum.

29-1 Saint Denis Basilique Saint Denis Wikipedia Image by Pierre Poschadel

Delighted with the effect of light, Suger, inside the abbey church, engraved an inscription to the glory of Light. ‘The heart of the sanctuary glows in splendour, which is united in splendour, radiates in splendour’. He also said that ‘while light is necessary for the worthy glorification of God, the largest possible number of the faithful must also be able to pray without jostling, to approach and contemplate the Holy Relics on feast days’.

30 Inside view of stained glass, St. Denis Cathedral, St. Denis, France, upper choir Wikipedia Image by Ninaras

Suger transformed the cathedral space into a different place. ‘It was to like bringing heaven on earth’. He wrote, ‘the multicolored loveliness of the gems has transported me from material to immaterial things, sapphire glass of intense blue colour as having the same importance as gems.’ He identified the best Glass makers across Europe, and sourced the glass raw material for the new construction.

31 Windows light and organ at St Denis https www flickr com photos scottgunn 28857102537

The improvement of quality of glass, its popularity and widespread use occurred in this period, mainly because of reduction of colour tonal intensity resulting in increased transparency. A significant feature to emerge in the 13th C, was the development of grisaille glass windows. It is composed largely of white glass, generally painted with foliage designs, and leaded into complicated geometric patterns. Such glass was cheaper and easier to produce. Its introduction made interiors lighter and other art and architectural features, noticeable.

32 Dull colours and dominance to whites in stained glass allowed architectural features to be visually important Nave of the Basilica of St. Denis, Saint-Denis, France Wikipedia Image by Zairon

The Gothic Colours of stained glass are prone to mis-use in wrong hands. The interiors often became snazzy with too many colours, but of dark shades. During daytime the stained glass on exteriors are dead grey, and at night time the interiors are lifeless (in absence of significant street illumination). This forced adoption of Grisaille (monochrome) glasses.

33 Illustrations and cover of the treaty Diversarum Artium Schedula by Theophilus Presbyter - encyclopedia of technical knowledge in the Middle Ages in the field of art and craftsmanship.

The blown glass had technical imperfections such as air bubbles, striations, and ripples, this made the transparency lively, as the light seemed to refract through the mass. The church interiors were now glowing, not just with the light from expansive stained windows, but altars, crosses, other liturgical objects were all richly embellished with gems, draped with brightly coloured and gold lined fabrics, with the new donations.

35 Construction workers on Site in Bourges Bourges Cathedral Built atop an earlier Romanesque church from 1195 until 1230 Wikipedia Image by Gerd Eichmann

With the Renaissance, the stained glass was to become varied in colours, faultless, flatter, larger, thinner, but less vivid. The glass joints however could now be thinner and sparser. This thin joints were exploited, as less marked lines for zoning of colours, and more for the articulation of the thematic composition.

34 Lighter colours Flamboyant (late Gothic) style windows of the nave of the royal abbey-church of Saint-Ouen, Rouen (early 16th C. Wikipedia Image by Philippe Roudaut

The technique of making stained-glass windows was first documented in the Schedula Diversarum Artium, a compendium of craft-information probably written between 1110 and 1140 by the monk Theophilus.


ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part I

Post 738 -by Gautam Shah

Part I of series IV



1A St Denis Abbey the cross centre space with high volume and Illumination The Stained Glass scheme of Abbot Suger era were darker but installation- repacements were in whiter background -with few colours

Abbot Suger (1081–1151) was a priest, statesman and good administrator, but was not an Architect (as assumed in the 19th and early 20th C.) And, yet, he has been called the father of Gothic architecture and design innovator. Suger is known for rebuilding of the Abbey of St.-Denis also known as Cathedral Basilica of St Denis, near Paris. The rebuilding included many trend-setting features marking, the emergence of Gothic style over the Romanesque, in France.

1 Abbot Suger -father of Gothic architecture 1081-1151

Suger at the age of 10, came to the Abbey of St.-Denis. He became an Oblate, in 1091, for his education in religion. The Abbey church of St. Denis was established in the late 5th C., to house the relics of St. Denis, a bishop martyred on his mission to convert the Gauls in the 3rd C. Here, at the Abbey, he met the future king Louis VI of France. An epitaph conveys the iron will of Abbot Suger, ‘he was small in physical and social stature, driven by his double smallness, refused, in his smallness, to be small’. Suger served as the friend and counselor for both of Louis VI and Louis VII. He travelled extensively, and had a special relationship with the pope, bishops and kings, serving as adviser to Louis VI and Louis VII.

2 The city and memorable abbey of Saint Denis -Claude Chastillon

Suger became a secretary to the abbot of Saint-Denis, then became provost of Berneval in Normandy and Toury, in 1118. His contacts with Louis VI helped him to go to the court of Pope Gelasius II at Maguelonne (at Montpellier, Gulf of Lyon). He also lived at the court of Calixtus II, as the successor of Gelasius. On his return from Maguelonne, Suger became Abbot of St-Denis. During the following decade, he devoted himself to the reorganization and reform of St-Denis. He began reconstructing the old building in 1135. From 1140 to 1144, ‘in three years, three months and three days’, as he put it, he built a new Chevet.

3 Facade, Basilica of St. Denis flickr image 7227720278

Abbot Roger was a clever politician and smart manager, who used his church position to promote the abbey in public, and thereby enhanced the power of the monarchy. ‘His knowledge of the law, skill for political negotiations, influential contacts and oratory skills’, were his assets. Suger needed political clout and huge amounts to build such a structure. He was the favoured person of the king. He was consulted for many other things by the French state. He oversaw the royal administration, when the King Louis VII was absent on the Crusades. King appointed him to serve as the Regent of France.

4 City Map of St Denis cathedral in Paris

Suger was the coordinator or convener of the rebuilding project for the abbey. He was not an architect, but an extra ordinary organizer. He had keen sense of judgement in arts and crafts. There were two architects or master masons, who were technical leaders, but their contributions remain anonymous.

5 City Map of St Denis cathedral in Paris Flicker 43745509662_32fddd29b8_c



6 Plan of Abbey of st Denis showing original structure with multiple alterations in stages

The site of Abbey of St.-Denis is identified as a Gallo-Roman cemetery of the Roman times. Around, 475 AD. St. Genevieve purchased some land, and built Saint-Denys de la Chapelle. In 636 AD., the relics of Saint Denis (also known as Saint Dionysius), the patron saint of France, were re-interned in the basilica.

7 Saint Denis church, plan various stages of developments

9 St Ddenis image on facade of Notre Dame-cathedral Paris holding his head in hands

8 Louis VII (1120-1180) the Young, King of France Taking the Banner in St. Denis in 1147 - ART by Jean Baptiste Mauzaisse (1784-1844)

The Basilica of St Denis ranks as an architectural landmark and as the first major structure of which a substantial part was re-designed and built in the Gothic style. Both stylistically and structurally, it heralded the change from Romanesque architecture to Gothic architecture. H.W. Janson wrote, ‘The origin of previous style cannot be pinpointed exactly, as the Gothic. It was born between 1137 and 1144 with the rebuilding of the Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis by Abbot Suger. Before the term ‘Gothic’ came into common use, it was known as the ‘French Style’ (Opus Francigenum). (The word ‘Gothic’ was first used during the Renaissance period, as an insult, as relating to the uncivilized ancient Goths, Germanic-people documented living near lower Vistula River).


10 Map of the tombs in Saint Denis Basilica

The basilica of Saint-Denis, like many other Christian religious places, was popular for pilgrimage in 12th C. Many churches of Romanesque style of architecture, with their solid forms and barely adequate openings, were suffocating places in warm seasons. It was difficult to manage the large crowds in limited and zoned space. For this reason many processions and festivities were organized out doors. But the crowds wished to visit the crypts that held the remains of the past kings and saints of France.

Abbot Suger

Paris was the principal residence of the Kings and of The Reims Cathedral was used as the place of coronation, and the Abbey of Saint-Denis has been the ceremonial burial place. The visitations by royalty for public adulation helped get support for the church expenses. They lavishly supported the construction and enlargement of abbeys and cathedrals. Suger showed that collaboration between church and state is fundamental to an understanding of the development of the national states of Western Europe.

14 Typical heavy walled - opaque structure of Romanesque Architectre of 11 C Abbaye de Lessay Manche, France, (departement de la Manche) Wikipedia Image Ji-Elle

12 Antoine - Louis - Francois - Sergent - Marceau Portrait of Suger Abbot of St Dennis


15 Abbot Suger Stained Glass image

Suger on assuming the post of Abbot was almost ready with a scheme to redevelop the entire estate of Basilica of St Denis. That included not only the church itself, but also a new refectory, dormitory and domus hospitium (guesthouse like a dormitory) and other structures across the grounds of the abbey. Abbot Suger wanted crowds to participate and fund the redevelopment of the abbey. He had to convince the people and the royalty that larger spaces and better environments for gatherings are required. He knew, the abbey was just too important a national identity and just cannot be demolished to the foundation level for reconstruction. He also had to stay away from sacrosanct areas like the crypt holding the remains of the past kings of France. He planned his project in several plausible phases. He had the foresight that for a project of this nature will need many crafts-persons will be required, and will need to be enticed from far-off places.

16 The crypt at St. Denis

17 The violation of the royal tombs in 1793 French Revolution depicted by Hubert Robert

18 Oldest tombs in Underground crypt Basilique de Saint-Denis destroyed during French Revolution https photos o_0 30624049031

The West side of the church was about 200 years old, and had only one small entrance door. Suger planned three wide doors to handle large crowds. These doors were like the arches on Constantine in Rome. Early Christian and Byzantine basilicas and churches had such entrance or lobby space, and Sugar adopted the idea. He first took up the building of a new Narthex and entrance Facade, with two towers and a rose window in the centre. The rose window was a first one in France. This was an impressive and a populist step. After Abbot Suger’s death, however, when the rest of the church was rebuilt in a new style, it was provided with extra larger and more decorated rose windows, one on either side.

19 The St Denis Abbey Twin tower of West end was never built fully and the Left one was damaged several times

After the alteration and extension of the West side, It was easy to find sponsors with substantial support. Next, he began to change the East end. Here, Sugar began to implement ideas about illumination. He wanted the space around the altar to be spatially wide and tall. He wanted it to be very light and bright, with the provisions of coloured glass windows. The light and bright East end was ‘given to God’ in 1144. These were well appreciated, and within decades this ‘inventive intervention’ spread throughout all of Europe, where it dominated the architecture for the next two to three hundred years. In the 12th C, Abbot Suger rebuilt portions of the abbey church using innovative structural and decorative features. In doing so, he is said to have created the first truly Gothic building.

20 The NAVE looking towards the westside Entrance, St. Denis 28857102257

22 Choir, Basilica of St. Denis Abbot Suger, Ambulatory, 1140-44, Basilica of St. Denis, Paris https photos profzucker 7227722006

The pair of towers on the west-side were planned under Suger, however only the southern tower was completed in his lifetime. Its taller northern counterpart, was completed by one of his successors, however, did not last. It was rebuilt twice. Suger saw the completion of the western and eastern ends of the abbey. By the time abbot died in 1151, the foundations for the new nave were executed. Work for the Nave with upper works of the Choir resumed in 1231. In 281 the nave was completed. The massive windows and slender masonry were a trend setting Rayonnant Gothic style.

23 A Flicker Image 7227722006_7f5de4a4e2_c

The ground plan of most Gothic churches is typically a cross, formed by a long Nave and crossing it, a shorter Transept. It is this junction that offers a spacious volume. The nave usually has multiple floors on either sides, forming passageways or aisles. The Nave, after the cross junction terminates into a semi-circular or polygonal Eastern end. This liturgical end with the altar is tallest space with many varieties of roof structure. Visually the extensive tall surface being circular or polygonal, competes with the altar for attention. The cross form of the church created four focal areas. Each of these had different size, shape, scale and orientations. Suger had learnt from existing church buildings the purpose of these basic four spaces.

24 At the crossing looking north, St. Denis

25 Cathedral schematic Cross plan

26 Saint Denis church, plan the old & New schemes superimposed It shows how new columns were placed besides the existing ones


ILLUMINATION and COLOURS in SHADOWS -Issues of Design 38

Post 737 -Gautam Shah


This is the FOURTH article on series Illumination and Shadows

1 Claude Monet Garden at Sainte-Adresse 1866-1867

Monet said: ‘A Colour owes its brightness to the force of contrast, rather than to its inherent qualities’. He also said that primary colours look brightest, when they are brought into contrast with their complementaries’.

2 Alexander mosaic Absence of shadows (except at the bottom) by Magrippa at English Wikipedia

Colour contrast has drawn attention in drawn art forms as well as architecture, sculptures, ceramics, textiles and craft items. Colour contrasts emerge, when a different and lighter or darker colour is placed next to the other one. But colour contrasts also emerge, when a colour comes under differing levels of illumination or shadows. This realization was conspicuous in 3D forms. Such colour contrasts perceptions under natural or other illuminations and related shadows are affected by the ‘local’ reflections. The subtle grades of contrasts emerge due to varied brightness, from objects in different directions and in intensities due to many colours of the reflecting surfaces.

Colour Tones

8 Lion hunt. Mosaic from Pella ancient Macedonia) late 4th C BC, depicting Alexander the Great and Craterus. Housed in the Pella Museum

3 Fresco from the villa of P. Fannio Sinistore in Boscoreale, currently located in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Colour contrasts were realized, first in mosaic arts as a form of ‘highlighting marks’. To make a mosaic figure or image to stand out from other similar entitles that needed emphasis (wider and darker-lighter edges). But mosaics had limited size and colour range, and this was not easy. Early drawn arts like Mosaics were equally ‘flat’. This was perhaps, as the medium of art Fresco, was a method of pigment impregnation onto wet plasters. The colours were zoned with scratched outlines and had little scope (time) for colour mixing or edge diffusion. Details were added in Tempera, for which one had to wait for the surface to thoroughly dry out. As a result fresco artist, used intense contrasting colours in demarcated zones of the fresco.

4 Terracotta funerary plaque 520–510 B.C.

7 Frescos in Cubiculum -Bedroom from the Villa of P Fannius Synistor at Boscoreale No shadows or Perspective

As the interiors became brighter with larger clerestory windows, there was a clear need to ‘add drama and mystery to the paintings’ through high contrast of colours. Painting themes were now not just depictive but narrative, and in the background included architecture, landscapes and non religious figures (political sponsors and donors). Holy figures were distinguished by bright ‘halo’. These halos and backgrounds, in brighter colours or gold gilding, made everything else seem darker, often gloomy. To lighten the perceived dark effect, many levels of sobered contrasts were added, and the result was a ‘flat’ composition. For the contrasts, the body contours, folds of fabrics, highlighting marks, differences between near-by and far-off objects, were formed of black or darker shades. The use of darker shades, for edge making, however, taught the value of shadowing with illumination.

9 Ajanta Cave 1 Ceremonial bath of Mahajanaka frasco India

10 Little or no use of body contour shadows Scene from Mahajataka King denounces worldly life at Ajanta Cave frescos India AD 475-500 Flickr Image 16580719987 f515f2b6fe_c

The shadows formed better depth contrasts. The shadows (related to illumination) were first placed with respect to the local needs. These ‘local needs’ in theme, created many shadows and sources of illumination, and also had as many directions. But soon shadows were modified as related to single the source of illumination. Such ‘related shadows’ made paintings lively and realistic.

12 ART by Fra Carnevale 1467 Light without source , but the shadows on the right side wall defy the logic.

5-1 Duccio di Buoninsegna Jesus opens the Eyes of a Man born Blind

Single source shadowing was very difficult in mosaic and very large mural paintings. There were few issues here. FIRST, Shadows were predominantly cast with a source of illumination from the left-top corner. This made objects towards the right-bottom corner suffused with long shadows. SECOND, The shadowing style adopted in artworks, did not match the actual illumination from the openings of the architectural space. THIRD, There was the belief that holy figures do not cast a shadow. These factors required a lot of experimentation. First, the problem required a painting to be narrow or the source of illumination shifted away from the extreme top-left corner. Second required a composition in consideration of the existing conditions of the architecture and the viewers’ position. Third issue was solved by forming graduated dark-light areas for body or dress contours and ignoring the shadows falling on the ground.

13 Jacopo Tintoretto's Wedding Feast at Cana at church of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. The window sides remain dark but the illumination on the table is brilliant

From the days Painted Roman interior Murals, the Perspective was used to arrange ‘built or spatial’ elements in compositions. These were scaled for depth, but not specifically illuminated. Objects with visible sides were made darker towards the receding edge for greater effects of the depth. For greater perspective effect some of the parts of buildings or the spaces between the buildings were back lit, but shadows followed the front-based illumination. Illumination and shadows, did not come together in any purposive manner.

11 Feast in the House of Levi Paolo Veronese 1573 Use of Shadows for depth and contrast

21 Canaletto Venice Capriccio of the Courtyard of the Doges' Palace with the Scala dei Giganti AND 21 Viviano Codazzi and Domenico Gariguolo

It was from 1700s that Capriccio style of art for drawing fantastical architectural buildings and ruins, with inclusion of occasional staffage (figures), truly began to exploit the perspective. Areas of painting were illuminated through a direct single source of illumination or atmospheric distributed light. Areas that did not get illumination were treated to be mildly darker, thus creating a sense of contrast for depth. The illumination and shadows depended on tonal gradation, and this can be recognised and executed, if the areas are fairly large. Tonal gradation cannot be included in micro architectonic elements.


In Asia, perspective did not occur, though some inclined planes indicated the depth. Scaling of elements and figures was extremely illogical. The depth was through spatial zoning, like, frontal areas filled in with elements, dominantly involved in the narrative. The next mid-zone was for supportive elements like architectural and landscape features. The background, was used as a contrasting plane of lighter tones. The ethereal elements included here, served to balance the composition, by their ‘white space’ presence. There was complete absence of graded or directional illumination, and colour shades for shadowing.

16 Multiple sources of Illumination resulting in utter chaos Jacopo Tintoretto Last Supper 1592 1594

16-1 Joseph Wright of Derby 1768 An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump

28 Dramatic Colour Contrast

Illuminated and shaded areas are nominally differentiated with the tonal variations of the same colour (monochrome) or with different hues. But this effect was enhanced by texture contrast of physical roughening of the surface, like the gesso and impasto in art. Gesso is the base or foundation treatment, which imprints a texture on the art surface. Impasto effect is created by laying the paint in very thick layers, so that it can allow brush or painting-knife strokes to be visible.


It was in 1600s that artists were able to create textures, not just by scrapping the surface, but through directional or random texturing, as a simulated visual effect. The directional texturing became art of intaglio or gravure, and became style of impressionist art. The art of texturing a surface, also became Sfumato style of art, as forming a soft transition between colours and tones to achieve distinct realism.

17 Georgio de Chirico Shadows (without tonal variations) and Colour Contrasts 1913-1917

Shadows depend on the strength and distance of the source of illumination. Candle, Lamp, electric or fire illuminations, unlike the Solar light, are at finite distances and of limited intensity. Both, however, form shadows with respect to the elevation of the objects. Solar light offers vast grades of reflections from nearby surfaces, but, other illuminations can provide small cone of receding strength. The skill to represent the colour tonal variations in shadows from the reflected light was grasped post Renaissance period. The nature of the colour within a shadow is mainly due to the intensity of reflected light and the colour (from the reflective surface).

18 Andrea Pozzo Plafond Ceiling Art The Apotheosis of Saint Ignatius

The ceilings (flat, dome, vault or other configurations) get illumination from windows and clerestory openings, in many directions. The ceilings and upper sections of tall walls were used for illusionistic paintings, with features like floating angels and clouds, foreshortened figures and pseudo architectural elements. The details were seen from distance, so drawn in an impressionistic manner with wild brush strokes. Such ceilings, known as Plafond art, had the lower edge, drawn in dark and contrasting colours and shadows, but the top central portion forming the upper limit of the room, were made with blue of the skies to look ethereal. Plafonds (17th to early 19 C) offered great lessons for treating architectural spaces with illumination and shadows.

24 Variations in Illumination through day-night

23 Single souce harsh Illumination George C Ault and Hopper

Mannerist painters and later Baroque artists used extreme intense contrasts between light and dark, almost obscuring their subjects to lend drama and mystery to the paintings’.

19 Monet art Without Shadows but colour differentiation between main and side faces

When Monet painted his series of haystacks, his main concern was to show that in reality, the colour of light and the colour of shadow, depending of the time of day, both, change simultaneously and dramatically. Artists of 19th C used comparatively, stronger dark shades for heightened impressionistic realism. This began to change with the onset of next century, when lighter colour shades (perhaps due to the Titanium Dioxide) were available. The subject matter changed from realistic to ‘objective’ abstraction. Here the source of illumination was unrecognizable, and so the shadows were nonexistent.

20 Edouard Leon Cortes Twilight hours illumination



Post 736 -Gautam Shah


7 Anglo-Saxon openwork silver disk brooch Wikipedia Image by Johnbod

6 Slightly convex bossed disc brooch of sheet silver with inlaid gold and niello ornament Mid 9th C

Niello is a metal embellishment craft. It is an inlay material, as well a surface treatment (as commonly called ‘oxidized’ silver). For both, silver is the preferred base-metal, and involves use of some form of sulphide. The Niello, is just deposition that affects the top layer of metal.

8 Oxidized silver not Niello 34195226975_66cee0f4bf_e

The infused colours for both techniques are various shades of Black. Objects treated with Niello, are also called nielli, and silver objects treated with Sulfides are called ‘oxidized’ or ‘blackened silver’ (though the word ‘oxidized’ is a misnomer). Niello (Italian), derives from, nigellum, nigellus neuter, niger, which all relate to the Black.

9 Egypt Box with cover

Niello is a black mixture of sulphur, copper, silver and lead, used as an inlay or filler material over engraved, chased or etched silver metal. It is added in powder or paste form and fired until it melts or at least softens. As it flows, is pushed back in the engraved pits. It cools, hardens and turns black, which with controlled application, provides colours like blues, purples, yellows, brown reds. The surface of silver is polished bright, leaving the Niello colour in the pits intact. The black colour of Niello is metal surface tarnishing but a hastened process, which left to nature would take years. Jewellers use a chemical called liver of sulphur’ (potassium sulfide).

11 Bassin Syrie

There are also several mixed-media techniques, often called metal-malerei (German =painting in metal), which involve applying gold and silver inlays or foils, over the Niello covered bronze. Niello was used as the adhesive base to apply thin gold and silver foils in place.

13 Hunting_Mycenaean_Dagger

1 Flickr 34082554962_d0a50261fb_c

The earliest use of Niello was in late Bronze Age, around 1800 BC. in Syria. Niello has been used in many parts of the world, including Russia, India, and Islamic countries. In Russia Niello is called Tula work.

4 Reliquary Casket with Scenes from the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket

Gothic art from the 13th C saw Niello as a pictorial art. Use of Niello, which reached its high point in the Renaissance. Niello was popular because small goldsmiths used it for decorating simple ornaments. The art of Niello reached its peak in 15th C Italy.

5 Maso finiguerra 1452_(bargello)

During the Renaissance, at the height of its popularity, the technique was widely used for the embellishment of liturgical objects, cups, boxes, knife handles, sword hilts, bracelets, rings, pendants, and belt buckles. Later in Romanesque period Niello was used in densely engraved pieces.

2 Roman Silver 22534270923_f73016a24d_c

Renaissance goldsmiths in Florence in Europe, decorated their works in silver, by engraving the metal with a burin, and filled up the hollows with Niello, to achieve much higher visible contrast. Some pieces such as paxes (liturgical objects) were effectively pictures in niello.

10 Pax Niello style Print making

Niello was hardy and cheaper, and for that reason, in competition with costlier and superior painted enamel work. Painted Enamel, though offered wider colour range and very delicate details.

14 Snuffbox

Niello crafts-persons exploited their talent to make flatter objects like engraved plates, which before the filling in with Niello were used for print making on paper. These were known as ‘Niello prints’. Originally such paper prints were made by engravers to record their work. By the late 16th C soft mastic compounds were devised for engraving.

3 Niello print Italian 18th or 19th Horatius Cocles httpspicryl.commediahoratius-cocles-ac61fc Horatius Cocles



Post 734Gautam Shah



Quantity estimates form the prime database on which monetary estimate is scheduled. Quantities estimate, help us to compound simple measures like lengths, widths, heights, weights, numbers, etc. into quantities with fewer variables. Typically a volumetric quantity is more inclusive than linear or surface quantity. Similarly a numerical estimate far more comprehensive than even volumetric estimate.

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It is generally experienced that certain form characteristics, dimensions (widths, depths etc.), etc. of parts and components remain constant not only through a project, but across projects of similar nature. Such constants are recognized and minor variables are levelled out within certain dimensional ranges. Dimensional ranges become effective in modular dimensions and through the methods of taking measurements. (See section on Modules of measurements and Modes of measurements). Modest qualitative differences are evened out through flexible and wider rang of specifications.

2 Terrains_de_polo_et_de_football_(US_compliant).svg

There could be several levels of conversions before a quantity estimate becomes relevant. One of the most important conversions is through monetary rating. Such conversions are carried out by many different agencies, without the author or the originator of the quantity estimate being aware of it, or being informed about it.

3 calculator-483807_640

Monetary estimates result out of a process called costing. Costing or cost-finding is done for the item as deliverable by a single agency, or for its parts, which have market equivalents, and so definite prices. However, where parts have no readily available market equivalents, these are evaluated for the cost of their constituent raw materials, labour and other inputs required for the assembly or construction.

4 geometry-1023844_960_720

Monetary estimates are based on items or jobs which no matter how complex are, consist of only few elemental parts, or very simple tasks. The elemental parts and tasks are usually comparable to many others used in different items or situations. Elemental parts, though similar in form and constitution, acquire a unique personality depending on the position of the component in the whole, nature of use, method of installation or erection and time schedule of installation.

5 Godorf_Cologne_Rhineland-Refinery-Cooling-Towers-during-demolition-02

In a monetary estimate, the parts of different types are categorized on the basis of external factors like a guarantee mechanism, life span, utility, depreciation, finance, cost, return, energy consumption, waste output, hazards, ecological value, replacement schedules, etc.

Non monetary estimates, follow a process called Valuation. The valuation or value providing creates a basis for judgement of an item. The value may be real and may match the monetary estimate of the item. The value could be a hypothetical one based on a perceived use, commonness or exclusivity, observed affectation, future cost of acquisition or disposal, etc.

6 Flickr Image 15757420086_bdca0cb9e5_c

Non monetary evaluations help define projects from many different aspects for which monetary costs are available. Yet, appropriateness and success of a design depend substantially on decisions made through such evaluations.

7 Non Monetary valuation Lyons_Architects_Office

Non monetary evaluations are like: Average space provided to a clerk, average area per resident in a hostel, proportion of area between rooms and a corridor, proportion of usable vs. service areas, energy consumption per user, load per bearing area, garbage outputs per resident, noise level per vehicle, water consumption per unit, etc.

8 Johnson, PhilipIDS Center Investors Diversified Services Center with Crystal Court 1969-72 49091064521_3c3480c036_c





Post 733 -by Gautam Shah


$ 20 Bronze man and centaur mid-8th century B.C.

Human and Animal body limb combinations constitute a very large set of images, revered by people across cultures and ages. Remarkably, lone human body forms, were less frequently revered, but the human and animal combinations were revered as deities, minor divinities, magical and mythical figures. These are found as figurines, statues, drawn and sculpted forms, narratives, descriptions, masks, costumes and outfits for performing arts. The personifications include whole body, parts, limbs, static and in-action poses, as stand-alone symbols, patterns, motifs.

24 Michelangelo (1475–1564), The Torment of Saint Anthony (c 1487–88)

The body-limb compounding offered greater potency and exclusivity. In many instances there are multiple anecdotes, how these forms came to be joined together, begotten from ordinary humans and live life like normal human beings. So the form or image was more a symbolic one, either angelic or diabolic, but always a latent super human.

$ 18 Lion_man_photo

In spite of so many varieties of humanoid or animalistic forms, there are no known incidences of compounding with minor insects and vegetation. Vegetation and derivative forms(Green-Man) were part of abstract or non-iconic worship of nature. The Green Man with a foliated head appeared in pagan period across Europe. Deities in Asia, are worshipped against such natural forms, or as related incarnations. Animals are shown in their original shape, usually executing abnormal feats like flying in air, spouting fire, water or poison.

$ 7 Granite statue of the lion-headed Egyptian deity Sekhmet from the temple of Mut at Luxor, dating to 1403–1365 BC,

$ 4 Meresimen Osiris four sons horus

Revering the nature was taking place with the classification of the material world in many part of the world, like, ancient India, Egypt and Greece. These were all real matters, Air, Earth, Fire and Water. These real matters originated as philosophical thoughts, first worshipped in an abstract manner, without any association or identification with human or animal forms. But, over a period of time these were personified in multiple deities, in different regions, at nearly same time. The assigned images and related mythological narratives had a great deal of convergence.

$ 25 Cinese dragon-1116306_1920

The inclusion of a metaphysical element, the sky (space -Avakash) and ether, was a strange thing. The real matters were easier to deify, but a metaphysical element (sky-ether) that could not have any iconic imagery, was difficult to handle.

$ 8 Water Demon Image by Vincedq at in Water Demon at JediMUD Wiki

There have been eulogistic mentions of the basic four/five natural elements, the earth, water, air, fire with later day inclusion of sky or ether.

$ 26 Cellarius_southern_scenographicFXD

The Indian beliefs were elements of nature, as the basis of existence (Sansāra –Sanskrit=world of existence). These elements were self-centred or sufficient (Ātman –Sanskrit=within), complete in own-self. The European conceptualization was of a deified superficial creator. The image as a representative or a formal deity was the belief in the existence of an external supreme being.

$ 21 tree-of-life

There are several instances where the natural elements have deified in the form of animals, birds or humans. Was it because the natural elements had no representable image?

$ 3 Winged Creatures

In various mythologies, there are numerous forms of human-animal and animal-animal combinations. Animal head and Human body constitute a very large set of combinations. These occur as descriptions, in performing arts’ narratives, drawn and sculptural forms. The animalistic or humanoid forms have been used as stand-alone symbols, deities, minor divinities and motifs. Egypt, India and Asia Minor have very large number of such representations. In India Vishnu has several avatars, representing the stages of evolution of life on the Earth. Egyptians have more such gods than purely of human forms.

$ 27 Dasavatar of Vishnu, 19th C Andhra Pradesh, India

Contrary to this, the Greek-Roman mythologies, have Animal body + Human head to dominate the scene. Many such forms gradually disappeared from worship practices with Christianity. But some reappeared with arrival of Goths. These forms, however, continued as part of folklore and performing arts. Some of the features were used to generate satanic scenes and narratives.

$ 16 Basantpur Nepal Kaal Bhairav Animalistic Expressions e83530e7130140c324fc10d8b503506b09e355cc

The ‘Green Man’ with a foliated head appeared in pagan period. The Green Man images occurred in wood and stone carvings in churches, chapels, abbeys and cathedrals in Europe. Green Man remained a mysterious design motif, flourishing with cultural and regional transformations.

1 Animal or Bird Head > Hathor (woman with a cow’s head), Thoth (ibis, baboon, or moon head), Satyrs (goat head), Anubis (jackal head), Siren (bird-woman), Inpu or Anpu (jackal or canine head), Amun (ram head), Bastet (lion or cat head), Horus (falcon head), Sobek (crocodile head), Taweret (hippo head), Avatars of Hindu Lord Vishnu (Matsya-Fish, Kurma -turtle, tortoise, Varaha -boar, wild swine, Narasimha -lion, Vamana -dwarf, Ram, Krishna, Buddha, Kalki, Hanuman (monkey head), Ganesh (elephant head).

There are many combinations of Human and Animal (birds, fish, insects) body+limbs, such as,

2 Animal or Bird Body > Sphinx, Centaur, Greek Echidna (snake body), Harpies (bird body), Minotaur (bull body),

3 Mixed Animal Head + Animal Body > Griffin (Bird head -lion body), Chimera (lion + goat + dragon), Cerberus (multi-headed dog), Hydra (multi headed serpent monster), Pegasus (bird-winged horse), Seth (beast composite of aardvark, donkey, jackal, fennec, fox), Khepri (exclusively beetle).

$ 10 Aztec Serpent Moon God

$ 9 The altar where serpent deities are worshipped in a temple in Belur, Karnataka, India

There were few combination forms which were not venerated, but part of the folklore, such as Mermaid (fish body), Vegetable lamb (plant-animal), Barnacle goose and mandrake (plant-man). The combination forms also reflect mixed progenies, caused by the curse, relations of convenience, or forceful sex. These, however, have scarce stories of origin. To complicate the scene, some transient or fluid forms, such as the Proteus (shepherd of the sea’s flocks or seals) who, changed the character, scale, shape or form, have also flourished.

$ 22 Folklore

Folklore is full of body-form transformations, from humans, plants and animals, into the mammals, birds, aquatic creatures, insects, reptiles, amphibians or plants. Stories, such as, Beauty and the Beast, Metamorphoses (a man into a donkey by Lucius Apuleius), Frog King, Swan maiden, Werewolf or Vampire, are part children’s stories. Few such transformational changes relate to veneration.

$ 11 Buraq an animal said to have conveyed the Prophet Muhammad to heaven in a journey called the Miraj. The Buraq has been described as a white animal, half-mule, half-donkey, with wings

Performance arts have extended the anthropomorphic range, (anthropomorphism involves a projection of human characteristics onto something non-human), because what was not possible to draw or sculpt is acted out with descriptions, sounds, masks and other theatrical effects. Mask allowed transformation into a new character, and freedom to perform sexual acts and ghastly sacrificial acts.

$ 19 puppet-93568_960_720

Animalistic expressions have been morphed on Human characters primarily through masks, makeup, adornments, and descriptions. The demons, Raksasa (India), devils, dragons, Guardians of Doors (China and India), and warriors, etc. are examples of fearful expressions.

$ 15 Thai Golden Garuda Statues

$ 6 Mosaic Morphed Animal+Human features

Zoolatry is the worship of animals. The Egyptian culture has several anthropomorphic deities, animal and human gods. There are several distinguished classes. The animal was revered as with powers, different and greater than of the human being. 2 The exclusive image of the animal (or bird, etc.), could not have a spiritual connection, and so the image had to be a mix of several animals and with human beings. 3 The common practice was to transplant the head of an animal over the human body, but occasionally head and body of different species were combined, and human head was joined with animal body. 4 The anthropomorphic image was enhanced through elaborate details in the folklore and additional decorations during rituals. 5 Many such images were accepted as tribal benefactor.

Several articles on related Topics have been published in my Blogs.

REVERING THE NATURE – Part-I Human-Plant Lineages


860 MASCARON -sculpted human head forms








Post 729 -Gautam Shah


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Architectural objects are stationary, but their shadows move and shift around them. The directional variability of the solar illumination offers many different light-shadow conditions. The intensity of solar illumination varies during day hours, seasons and atmospheric circumstances (like cloud cover, mist, dust, etc.), and creates many grades of dark surfaces. These has taught the architects, how to exploit the utter darkness of the cast shadows along with the many grades of intermediate darkness of the back-face surfaces. There are other grades of darkness over surfaces re-illuminated with reflections from surroundings. Such variable contrasts conditions were exploited in many ways. It helped in scaling the darkness of deep set spaces, to grade the near and far-off distances, and add greater realism to nearer objects.

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Architecture is an inside and outside place of visitation, allowing many sided experiences of the object, with cast shadows and intermediate grades of darkness over the ’back-face’ surfaces. These was unlike the Art, where only a fixed extent of intended image is represented, be it a canvas, book page, wall fresco, stained glass, mosaic, or architectonic decorations. The shape of an object and size and form of its shadow, though continuously variable, reflect each other.

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Within an art work, the objects’ shape and the size-form of the shadows may not proportionately reflect each other. The selective framing and point of scene capture, chops the objects and their shadows. As a result, proportions, if any are not revealed. The process of selective elimination from art paintings began to be exploited further in architectural creations.

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In architectural works, extensive shadows conceal objects or architectonic elements that must be nominally seen for realization of the composition, form, size and proportion. The dominant and extensive shadows could, however, may be ‘concealed’ behind objects that are placed in the frontal most planes. Such dominant and extensive shadows, though are relevant for fixed hours and points of views. One of the classical examples of this is the Greek Columns forming the facade.

Column heads

25 supreme_court_building_usa_washington_front_columns_courthouse_government-770070.jpg!d

Shadows massing form building fronts of two classes. Buildings that are comparatively of flatter plane, though with pockets of shadows of various depths (depth read as the downward length of the shadow). Some of the shadows indicating the depths get mixed up with darker colours of the facade surfaces like glass. This is an area, where seasoned designers fail to perceive the true dark-light play over the facades. Another class of shadows massing over building fronts occur due to the projecting out mass of elements. These projections over the facade are well illuminated but their shadows fall on plane surfaces as well as on undulating masses. The uneven masses, if, angular or with inclination, the complexity of the shadows increases manifold.

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6 abhyuday-majhi-bW-vRGOF5EI-unsplash

Shadow massing affects the buildings’ around public or open spaces. Such buildings, if form a flatter plane, whether, due to the repetition of architectural motifs (elements of facade language) or due to the extensive scale of visual perception, dilate the surface shading effect of the sunlight. Buildings forming such ‘visually flat planes’ were socially throughly failures.

17 Puerta_del_Sol_(3)

The ‘fixed-view’ or panoramic architectural configuration for the Plazas and Public spaces are of two basic types, 1 a large open public space dilutes the surface shade-shading effect of the sunlight, because of the large scale, whereas, 2 a very compact frontal space, seems spatially so articulated that there are too many varieties of surface shade-shadings of the sunlight. In the later case few designers had resources, experience, opportunity or time (historically, decades, if not centuries, for the long process of improvisation) for any corrective action. So whatever, was locally plausible, was accepted.

15 switzerland-840974_640

26 Brussels grote markt-belgium-1546290

In case of an architectural entity, the field is infinite but can be visually scanned by movement of the eyes, forming a seamless scene. But that was not so, with older style cameras that captured visual scene that seemed jarring. In case of human eyes the proportion of object to shadow is variable, but with artificial devices the object to shadow is shifting and so jarring. To reduce such variability of scenes, architects have resorted to selective framing for fixated observations, through windowing or deep set perspectives (that focussed the points of views). In architecture limited observations were also enforced through smaller or occluding openings, open ended-deep spaces, overhangs, serrations, cavities, etc. The selective framing chops the objects or their shadows.

18 Almoina

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At a first glass, the shadows as dark entities seem very dark in the context of bright exteriors. Eyes however, soon dilate themselves and begin to perceive finer details within the shadows. Architectural features, human beings and their shadows often create captivating compositions of scale and proportion, but this can be perceived by an observer or camera. So scene capture like photograph remains a ‘neutral’ observation.

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Shadows have natural relationship with the source, direction and type of illumination, but more importantly, it is the quality of objects and the surfaces on which shadows occur. Cast sun light shadows show a horizontal line as horizontal, but a vertical line as an inclined entity. Consistent exposure to these has come to be accepted as nominal phenomenon. But shadows of inclined elements such as stairs, ridge of the roof, etc. have a different character.


11 City Center, Fort Worth, Texas Site plan with shadows] - PICRYL Public Domain Image

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Architectural shadows are defined by the geo zones. Nominally between 23° N and 23° S have brighter sunlight. The strong light here gets reflected in darker shadows, but that again is affected by the dominant colour of terrain, density of vegetation and surface colours of building materials. Tropical areas such as Southern countries of Europe have had deeper and elaborate architectural elements. The shadows are used as an architectural instrument of form, composition, and visual effects.

32 ART by Ottavio Viviani Capriccios of Light and Shasdows

This is the 35th article (in continuation of old series -new beginning) on ISSUES of DESIGN.


ISSUES of DESIGN -List of 34 Blog articles


Post 728 -Gautam Shah


This Blog Series ISSUES of DESIGN began on 30MARCH 2016 with plan to include 20 Topics. But, later 20 more Topics were planned. Now, after FIVE years it has reached to 35 Blog articles. 6 More articles will be included by JUNE end 2021. –Gautam Shah

01 (603 30 Apr2016) BODY POSTURES – Issues for Design -1

02 (605 13May2016) INTERVENTIVE SPACES – Issues for Design -2

03 (606 17May2016) PERCEPTION through SCALES and CONVERSIONS -Issues for Design -3

04 (607 24May2016) SPACE PERCEPTION – Issues for Design -4

05 (609 6Jun2016) MOVEMENT and BALANCE – Issues for Design -5

06 (610 10Jun2016) NON VISUAL LANGUAGE -Issues for Design -6

07 (612 20Jun2016) DESIGNERS and QUALITY -Issues for Design -7

08 (614 28Jun2016) ANTILIGATURE -Issues for Design -8

09 (617 22Jul2016) SCALING the SPACES -Issues for Design-9

10 (621 18Aug2016) REAL and VIRTUAL -Issues for design-10

11 (623 Sep122016) METAPHOR Issues for Design -11

12 (629 8Nov2016) CONTEXT -Issues for Design -12

13 (639 4Feb2017) SOLIDS and VOIDS -issues of Design -13

14 (642 4Mar2017) OBJECTS in SPATIAL FIELDS -Issues for Design -14

15 (649 9Jul2017) REFERENCING buildings -issues for design -15

16 (653 6Jun2017) RHETORIC in DESIGN -issues for design -16

17 (654 14Aug2017) SCALING the SPACES -Issues for design -17

18 (659 2Oct2017) PERCEPTION of CONTRAST -Issues for design -18

19 (661 4Nov207) SOUND and SPACE -issues of design -19

20 (662 16Nov2017) MODELLING of OBJECTS in SPACE -issues of design -20

21 (661 3Mar2018) GEOMETRY -Issues of Design -21

22 (669 27Mar2018) SUPPORT SYSTEMS -Issues of Design-22

23 (674 14Jun2018) SIZING and SCALING the SPACES -Issues of Design 23

24 (684 14Dec2018) DYNAMIC CURVATURES -Issues of Design 24

25 (686 9Jan2019) DESIGN, MOTIF, PATTERN -Part 1 -Issues of Design 25

26 (689 15Feb2019) DISTANCE as an ELEMENT of DESIGN -Issues of Design 26

27 (692 15Mar2019) VANDALISM -Issues of Design 27

28 (702 26Nov2019) DISTANCE MEANINGS -Issues of Design 28

29 (707 19Nov2019) SPATIAL MEMORIES –Issues of Design 29

30 (708 28Nov2019) ELEMENTS of BUILDING SYSTEMS -Issues of Design 30

31 (711 23Jan2020) 711 SEGMENTING the SPACES -Issues of Design 31

32 (714 24Mar2020) DESIGN PROCESSES -Design Handling –Issues of Design 32

33 (720 3Sep2020) DEPTH and DISTANCE PERCEPTION -Issues of Design 33

34 (727 15Jan2021) ILLUMINATION and SHADOWS -Issues of Design 34

Other topics likely to be included >


36 ILLUMINATION and ART WORKS SHADOWS -Issues of Design 36

37 ILLUMINATION and COLOUR SHADES -Issues of Design 37

38 TRACING -Issues of Design 38

39 DESIGN, MOTIF, PATTERN -Part 2 -Issues of Design 39

40 COLOUR HUE TINT -Issues of Design 40



Post725  -by Gautam Shah


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For Corbusier history of a window was a struggle for illumination. He typically wanted, at least in the initial years, openings to bring outside in. This was due to childhood memories of Northern Europe day lighting, inferior quality of glazing and interior spaces that had small windows and required artificial illumination often during the day time. He, as a cubist saw the glazing plane as an opaque surface slightly receding due to its placement and surface quality.

Corbusier Early Projects


Glass was a shimmering plane against the dull surface of the structure. He liked the configuration for illumination to be unbroken, and so preferred a separate ventilation system. For the same reason he did not like framing for the window. He would rather place the glazing plane directly into the masonry. This was continued in many of the later buildings like Ronchamp and Shodhan Villa Ahmedabad.


Corbusier started placing more then adequate openings, like the ribbon windows of Villa Savoy, and invited complaints from the client. The extent openings became more rational in later projects. To cut the excessive glare he began to use an architectural baffle, a brise-soleil, for the first time, in the Algerian office-blocks (1933). Later he experimented with mechanical baffles for an office building in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, but mainly used masonry and cement concrete brise soleil for buildings at Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.

5 Unite_d'Habitation,_Marseille



For him daylight was a living light, continuously variable, whereas the artificial light was static and local. Corbusier experimented with the distribution of daylight by positioning an interior plane adjacent to the window. The planes were first in the form of a right angle wall or ceiling, but later became inclined as well as doubly curved. Slit windows close to flat ceilings were used in many buildings. He began to use the same technique for distributing illumination of electric lights by large parabolic reflectors.

6 Casa Curutchet

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8 -Secretariat_Chandigarh


Corbusier placed openings to frame specific land views as picture windows or often just apertures. Ends of the ramps, stairs, passages, were marked by such openings. Such linking of openings was also used with apertures or cutout in ceilings. These occurred with another smaller or larger cut out below or with a water body to reflect it.