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.

9 ehimetalor-akhere-unuabona-iRaeBSeh4uQ-unsplash

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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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.

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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

7 ATMA_House_186

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.




Post 719 by Gautam Shah



ARTICLES on DESIGN THINKING > All articles from my Micro Blog site > DESIGN SYNOPSIS

195 SYSTEM through DESIGN

Apparatus for the Distillation of Vague Intuitions. Installation


493 CHANGES in DESIGN ETHOS during 19th C.

588 RASA

640px-Stoclet_Palace_Hoffmann_Brussels_1911657 ORIGINS of ART NOUVEAU



HEINRICH LAUTERBACH -Polish architect of Wroclaw modernism

Post 718 by Gautam Shah


1 HEINRICH LAUTERBACH Polish architect of Wrocław modernism

2 Haus DR. SCHMELOWSKY in Gablonz by Architekt HEINRICH flickr.comphotosapfelauge26916269368

Heinrich Lauterbach (1893-1973) was a prominent architect of Wroclaw (largest city in the historical region of Silesia, western Poland). He worked between two world wars and post WW-II period. He was in close contact with architecture from a young age. At the age of 14, Heinrich Lauterbach met the architect Hans Poelzig, then director of the Wroclaw Art Academy. He studied drawing and watercolour with Theodor von Gosen, the chief of the sculpture class at the Wroclaw Art Academy. The shaping of Lauterbach as architect was also influenced by contacts with the extraordinary bohemian art environment at the Wroclaw Academy of Arts and Crafts (1920-30s). This included people like Hans Scharoun, Adolf Rading, Oskar Moll and Oskar Schlemmer.

5 Hans Poelzig Grand_Theatre 1919 Berlin Germany

3 Jablonecké Paseky Háskova vila

1 Hans Scharoun, 1893-1972 was a German architect dedicated to experimentation, an eccentric and with influential vision of democratic architecture.

4 Hans Scharoun WeissenhofsiedlungScharoun-pjt

2 Adolf Rading was a German architect of the Neues Bauen period. He briefly worked in the office of Peter Behrens in 1919, and then moved to Breslau, becoming a professor at the National Academy for Arts and Crafts

6 House designed in 1928 by Adolf Rading in collaboration with the painter and sculptor Oskar Schlemmer casa rabe, Zwenkau, Leipzig, Germany 1928-30

3 Oskar Moll was a German Fauvist painter; best known for his landscapes, portraits and somewhat abstract still-life.

7 Mallorca by OskarMoll

 4 Oskar Schlemmer was a German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer associated with the Bauhaus school. In 1923, he was hired as Master of Form at the Bauhaus theater workshop, after working at the workshop of sculpture.

8 Oskar Schlemmer, Small Houses Bauhaus style near Berlin

Lauterbach, after the war, attended the Darmstadt University of Technology and Technical University of Dresden. Here he came in contact with Martin Dülfer, one of the pioneers of Art Nouveau. Later in Berlin he became a master student with Hans Poelzig at the Prussian Academy of the Arts. He then went through studios and design offices at places like Berlin, Kassel and Opole. The work of Heinrich Lauterbach resulted from his fascination with the creative method and projects of his master Poelzig and the ideas of Neues Bauen (new building).

21 Heinrich Lauteinrich

22 Schmelowský Villa

Neues Bauen (New Building) was an avant-garde movement by than rationalist and functionalist. It emerged in Europe during 1920-30s and was identified as New Objectivity (German Neue Sachlichkeit =New Sobriety). This movement re-modelled many German cities in the period. It originally associated with the Arbeitsrat für Kunst (a union of architects, painters, sculptors and art writers, who were based in Berlin from 1918 to 1921). Arbeitsrat worked closely with the Novembergruppe and the Deutscher Werkbundn with Häring. Many members were important founders of the Bauhaus. Among the supporters of such German movements contributors were Walter Gropius, Otto Haesler, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Ernst May, Hannes Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Martin Wagner.

18 heinrich-lauterbach-muzeum-architektury-2012-11-27-001

The Neue Sachlichkeit (new sobriety) approach was to pursue architecture and design to fulfill objective functions and not along the lines of personal taste, preexisting historical, national or regional styles. The intention was to create objects without any emotional attachment, like how these were designed or used previously.

15 Single-family House No 35 built for the 1929 building exhibition “Wohnung und Werkraum0

Lauterbach launched his practice as a freelance architect in Wroclaw in 1925, and one of the first project was a Studio for portrait photographer Max Glauer. From 1925 until the outbreak of WW-II, he worked in Wroclaw as an architect. Some of his early projects were a residential house with an exchange office and Kampmeyer parquet factory. Lauterbach, in 1929, he organized an exhibition at Breslau in 1929, Werkbundu Wohnung und Werkraum, WUWA, (Werkbundu apartment and workshop). For Lauterbach, the organization of an exhibition, articles and comments in architectural magazines, brought in fame. He secured projects for two functionalist villas in Czechoslovakia and Dubrovnik (Jablonec and Nisou). He built an apartment block in 1928-29. He also re-modelled Wroclaw Chamber of Commerce. Lauterbach’s design projects were residential buildings, villas, and multi-family houses. ‘The work of Heinrich Lauterbach resulted from his fascination with the creative method and projects of his master Poelzig and the ideas of Neues Bauen’.

9 Heinrich_Lauterbach WUWA House 35 South-West_Façade Wrocław Poland

The Werkbund estates, were developed as experiment in modern residential architecture in Stuttgart, Bern, Zurich, Prague, Vienna and Wroclaw. Lauterbach now led the Silesian regional Werkbund. His colleagues were Hans Scharoun, Adolf Rading, both of the Wroclaw Art Academy. Members of the Silesian Werkbund were involved in the planning and execution of about 40 buildings.

10 Haus H. in Gablonz Built following the Werkbund exhibition Flickr comphotosapfelauge3987225291

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In 1930 he moved into one of his row houses in WUWA, with a neighbour as painter Oskar Schlemmer. The main driving force for Werkbund for Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), was of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who realized it with his colleagues, Belgian Victor Bourgeois, Swiss-French Le Corbusier, Austrian Josef Frank, Dutchmen J.J.P. Oud and Mart Stam. Neue Sachlichkeit was a movement against expressionism, and rejected the romantic attitude of the expressionism. Expressionism was strongly seen in German public life like performing crafts, art, architecture, literature, etc.

13 House 35 Heinrich Lauterbach South-West Façade Wrocław Poland

Academic Life From 1930 to 1932 Lauterbach was a lecturer at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Wroclaw. From 1940 to 1945 he had to do military service. After a teaching assignment at the Technical University of Stuttgart (1947 to 1950), Heinrich Lauterbach became a professor of architecture at the State Academy of Fine Arts in Kassel in 1950. He was also a professor at universities in Poland and Germany.

17 Villa Friedrich Schmelowsky in Gablonz Jablonec nad Nisou, Architect Heinrich Lauterbach 1933 Wikipedia Image by FrantAla

Since 1955 he was a full member of the Berlin Academy of the Arts. He also became a member of the prestigious association of architects, ‘Der Ring’ in Berlin. In the postwar period he taught at the universities in Stuttgart and Kassel.

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Schmelowský Villa “It was designed by the architect Heinrich Lauterbach designed a Villa for the dermatologist Friedrich Schmelowský and his wife Marie. The Schmelowský Villa stands in a quiet area of greenery. From Opletalova Street, it seems closed and inaccessible, but it presents a friendly face on the garden side with its large glazed surfaces. The extended shape of the house with the protruding rounded living area supported on steel pillars and the bathroom oriels with round ‘portholes’ gives the impression of a cruising steamship. The layout of the house and the interiors is timeless and as such it continues to serve its enlightened owners today without the need for any modifications. Experts consider the villa to be an excellent example of the aerodynamic functionalism of the Wroclaw school”. (

19 Heinrich Lauteinrich



Post 717 by Gautam Shah


9 Saint_Joseph_Higher_Secondary_School_-_North_building

A space is an affirmed entity, a domain. Spaces have two segments, the Core and the Periphery. A space domain may or may not have any bounding marks, but the core is distinctly surrounded by the periphery. Real or ephemeral peripheries are existent, as both are intimately tied to the core. But real peripheries have the edge forming barriers. The interaction with neighbouring domains forces the edges to be breached.

2 people-gathering-inside-building

A core zone is too specific for the task and nearly self-sufficient. A core zone demands extreme dedication. Core areas are serene, remain unaffected by the vivid happenings in or across the peripheral zones. Peripheral zones, as aligned to the edge of the space, are distanced from the core zone. It is this distance between the core and peripheral sections that invests distinct identity and meaning to each. Peripheral zones draw lots of energy from across the edge or defining barriers, and so become escape areas. Peripheries serve diverse purposes, but only for a location and occasion. It can never have permanence.

3 cathedral-interior

Peripheral zones are non committal, so preferred places for escape, ideal for personal encounters and casual discussions. In very small domains, a core takes away substantial space, leaving little for the periphery to exist. The core zone than, shifts to the edge, away from the entrance. This helps to form a peripheral zone near the entrance. Small dwellings, temples (Garbha-Griha or inner sanctorum) and Buddhists Chaitya in Ajanta Caves India, have such long front areas. Fireplaces and now TVs have off-centric interest and so form elongated rooms. In absence of a periphery insincere participants have no option but to leave the space.

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Peripheral areas without unfilterable edges are ineffective. Peripheral zones derive their functionality from the nature of barriers. In space domains where the core zone is functionally insignificant for any reason, like airport lounges, the peripheral zones emerge as an antithesis of the core zone. At another extreme, the peripheries with ephemeral edges need an extraordinary strong core zone. Earth has atmosphere as the ephemeral barrier, effective only due to the strong gravity of the core. The core is like a faith in a leader that makes followers to converge to some identity marking the focus.


The spatial connection between the core and peripheral area, is ambiguous one. It is continuously shifting. The core area gets enlarged, so far it retains its centrality. The core zone can stretch its reach through better means of communication and impressions. In religious places like temples and churches core areas are brightest and loudly decorated. But in case of mosques and unity temples or multi-faith Bahai’s the core is intentionally subdued by diffusing its edges and physical characteristics. In airports, lounge and other public spaces, condensate activities like inquiry-information, booking, check-in etc. to the peripheral areas.

4 escalator-stairs-architecture-shopping-centre-preview

Buildings that are enlarged by additions over their periphery, like industrial complexes or space stations, have interconnected multiple core zones. These formations are very similar to internet service providers’ hubs, connected to each other, by band width capacity (or time measure) rather than spatial distancing.

The peripheral zones are affected by the directional and temporal aspects of the environment. Such affectations are relevant only for a while, for a location and so for an activity and few individuals. The affectations also depend on quality of the external barrier. Peripheral zones are primarily shaped by the core zone, but are more often affected by the nature of neighbouring domains.

14 Yoyogi_national_1st_gymnasium_20120103

A physical domain is a unique spatial entity where other domains converge onto it. The convergence is experienced as inward and outward transgression at the peripheral areas. The transgressions alter the spatial character to take advantage of the neighbouring or converging domains. Peripheral zones are flexible, i.e. can be stretched or contracted from their nominal spread. Ariel windows, Bay windows, Chhatris, Balconies, Verandahs are typical outward transgressions, whereas, Chowks, cutouts, shafts, courtyards, are examples of inward transgressions. Such transgressions, change the peripheral areas and reposition the core zone.

5 Interior_of_Christchurch_Art_Gallery,_New_Zealand_2

One can exploit peripheral zones by facing the core zone or turned around and ignore it. For any other position (sideways), one may require strong metaphysical reason, because a core-zone on left or right side is unbalanced and so unnerving.

7 cooking-kitchen-process-restaurant-preview

The barriers over the edge peripheral zone are used for resting, reclining, hanging embellishments, storing etc. The edges are thresholds to other space entities and are perceived as intermediate or buffer areas. These areas mark the end of one space entity and beginning of another one.

11 Family_watching_television_1958

Small spaces, where distancing is not effective (other than intimate or body-touch proximity) cannot be any distinct periphery-based activities. Similarly single activity places like personal offices, lecture halls, bed rooms, kitchens, are focussed units and so dominantly core zones. But areas like road side cafes are peripheral. Medieval kitchens with alcove fire places were peripheral. Compared to it modern island kitchens are conceived to be independent-entity, but cannot function without peripheral storage.

6 -Interior_of_a_Chinookan_plankhouse

The extent or depth of the peripheral zone was determined by the concern for safety, warmth from the fire, the need for privacy, scale of the task-activity and distancing from inclement elements (to reduce their intensity and reach). Peripheral zones with adequate widths turn into acutely used areas.

12 Quad_Monitor_Music_Workstation

Work stations were supposed to have several modules placed together for multitasking functionality. But once the modules get technologically integrated (such as in music studios for playing-recording-editing consoles), these can be placed anywhere, and so no longer enforce the character of centrality. Once upon a time CAD tools were offered as work stations, but with switchable windows the culture has died. Fire was the focus of the primitive homes, and now TV has become the focus of the family and now individual devices like mobiles have diffused the core or centrality as the focus.

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Peripheral zones are used for acutely specific or single purpose activities such as store rooms, study nooks, hobby areas, coffee rooms, home offices, vaults in banks, wardrobes, shower stalls, change rooms, reception areas, podiums in lecture halls, green rooms, ticket booths, display kiosks.

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