ILLUMINATION and ARCHITECTURAL SHADOWS -Issues of Design 35

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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ISSUES of DESIGN -List of 34 Blog articles

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Post 728 -Gautam Shah

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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 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/04/30/body-postures-issues-for-design/

02 (605 13May2016) INTERVENTIVE SPACES – Issues for Design -2 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/interventive-spaces-issues-for-design-2/

03 (606 17May2016) PERCEPTION through SCALES and CONVERSIONS -Issues for Design -3 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/perception-through-scales-and-conversions-issues-for-design-3/

04 (607 24May2016) SPACE PERCEPTION – Issues for Design -4 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/space-perception-issues-for-design-4/

05 (609 6Jun2016) MOVEMENT and BALANCE – Issues for Design -5 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/06/06/movement-and-balance-issues-for-design-5/

06 (610 10Jun2016) NON VISUAL LANGUAGE -Issues for Design -6 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/non-visual-language-issues-for-design-6/

07 (612 20Jun2016) DESIGNERS and QUALITY -Issues for Design -7 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/06/20/designers-and-quality-issues-for-design-7/

08 (614 28Jun2016) ANTILIGATURE -Issues for Design -8 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/anti-ligature-issues-for-design-8/

09 (617 22Jul2016) SCALING the SPACES -Issues for Design-9 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/scaling-the-spaces-issues-for-design-9/

10 (621 18Aug2016) REAL and VIRTUAL -Issues for design-10 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/real-and-virtual-issues-for-design-10/

11 (623 Sep122016) METAPHOR Issues for Design -11 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/metaphor-issues-for-design-11/

12 (629 8Nov2016) CONTEXT -Issues for Design -12 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/context-issues-for-design-12/

13 (639 4Feb2017) SOLIDS and VOIDS -issues of Design -13 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/solids-and-voids-issues-for-design-13/

14 (642 4Mar2017) OBJECTS in SPATIAL FIELDS -Issues for Design -14 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/objects-in-spatial-fields-issues-for-design-14/

15 (649 9Jul2017) REFERENCING buildings -issues for design -15 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/referencing-buildings-issues-for-design-15/

16 (653 6Jun2017) RHETORIC in DESIGN -issues for design -16 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/rhetoric-in-design-issues-for-design-16/

17 (654 14Aug2017) SCALING the SPACES -Issues for design -17 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/scaling-the-spaces-issues-for-design-17/

18 (659 2Oct2017) PERCEPTION of CONTRAST -Issues for design -18 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/10/02/perception-of-contrast-issues-for-design-18/

19 (661 4Nov207) SOUND and SPACE -issues of design -19 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/sound-and-space-issues-of-design-19/

20 (662 16Nov2017) MODELLING of OBJECTS in SPACE -issues of design -20 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/modelling-of-objects-in-space-issues-of-design-20/

21 (661 3Mar2018) GEOMETRY -Issues of Design -21 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2018/03/03/geometry-issues-of-design-21/

22 (669 27Mar2018) SUPPORT SYSTEMS -Issues of Design-22 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/support-systems-issues-of-design-22/

23 (674 14Jun2018) SIZING and SCALING the SPACES -Issues of Design 23 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/sizing-and-scaling-the-spaces-issues-of-design-23/

24 (684 14Dec2018) DYNAMIC CURVATURES -Issues of Design 24 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/dynamic-curvatures-issues-of-design-24/

25 (686 9Jan2019) DESIGN, MOTIF, PATTERN -Part 1 -Issues of Design 25 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/design-motif-pattern-part-1-issues-of-design-25/

26 (689 15Feb2019) DISTANCE as an ELEMENT of DESIGN -Issues of Design 26 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/distance-as-an-element-of-design-issues-of-design-26/

27 (692 15Mar2019) VANDALISM -Issues of Design 27 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/vandalism-issues-of-design-27

28 (702 26Nov2019) DISTANCE MEANINGS -Issues of Design 28 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/distance-meanings-issues-of-design-28/

29 (707 19Nov2019) SPATIAL MEMORIES –Issues of Design 29 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/11/19/spatial-memories-issues-of-design-29/

30 (708 28Nov2019) ELEMENTS of BUILDING SYSTEMS -Issues of Design 30 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/11/28/elements-of-building-systems-issues-of-design-30/

31 (711 23Jan2020) 711 SEGMENTING the SPACES -Issues of Design 31 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/segmenting-the-spaces-issues-of-design-31/

32 (714 24Mar2020) DESIGN PROCESSES -Design Handling –Issues of Design 32 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2020/03/24/design-processes-design-handling-issues-of-design-32/

33 (720 3Sep2020) DEPTH and DISTANCE PERCEPTION -Issues of Design 33 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/depth-and-distance-perception-issues-of-design-33/

34 (727 15Jan2021) ILLUMINATION and SHADOWS -Issues of Design 34 https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/illumination-and-shadows-issues-of-design-34/

Other topics likely to be included >

35 ILLUMINATION and ARCHITECTURAL SHADOWS -Issues of Design 35

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

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LE CORBUSIER and ILLUMINATION

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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ARTICLES on DESIGN THINKING

Post 719 by Gautam Shah

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ARTICLES on DESIGN THINKING > All articles from my Micro Blog site > DESIGN SYNOPSIS https://wordpress.com/view/designsynopsis.wordpress.com

52  REDESIGN IDEOLOGY
105 POINT or BINDU
120 ELEMENTS and SYSTEMS in DESIGN
192 MINIMALISM in DESIGN
194 WINDOWS by FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
195 SYSTEM through DESIGN
219 FRUGALITY in DESIGN
220 CHANGING STYLES in DESIGN
242 PLAYING with PSEUDO in DESIGN

Apparatus for the Distillation of Vague Intuitions. Installation
250 CONVEYANCE of CONCEPT and DESIGN
253 Le CORBUSIER and OPENINGS
275 BREVITY in DESIGN EXPRESSION
297 CULTURAL PRACTICES AND TECHNOLOGY
316 APARIGRAHA and MINIMALISM
319 KNOWING ART DECO
335 The ARTS & CRAFTS MOVEMENT
348 ARCHITECTURAL FORMS as ART
380 DESIGN THINKING in INDUSTRIAL AGE

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381 FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT WINDOWS
404 TERRITORIES and SPATIAL DESIGN
455 FUNCTIONALISM in DESIGN
492 METAPHORS and SYMBOLS in DESIGN
493 CHANGES in DESIGN ETHOS during 19th C.
510 VASARI CORRIDOR FLORENCE
558 SPATIAL MEMORIES as DESIGN CUES
569 SYMBOL to SYMBOLISM
580 QUALITY METICULOUSNESS in DESIGN

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588 RASA
595 ABSTRACTION for COMMUNICATION
601 REMEMBERING the SPACES
606 ARCHITECTURAL PERSISTENCE
624 DEUTSCHER WERKBUND
631 FORECASTING in DESIGN
637 DESIGN CONCERNS
640 ABSTRACTION in ART
648 COSTUMBRISMO
649 ANEKANTAVADA
653 REAL, VIRTUAL and SUPERFLUOUS

640px-Stoclet_Palace_Hoffmann_Brussels_1911657 ORIGINS of ART NOUVEAU
668 OPENINGS by -FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
721 LANGUAGE for WRITING and SPEAKING
727 PALLADIAN OPENING
734 CONCURRENT or SIMULTANEOUS ENGINEERING
746 HOLISTIC ENTITIES
748 BODY MEASURES of VITRUVIAN MAN
767 REALISM in ART and ARCHITECTURE
775 FUTURE of DESIGN
780 CONVERGENCE vs DIVERGENCE
784 OUTSIDER or BRUT ART
807 REALITY and DESIGN
810 SPATIAL NARRATIVES
811 REALISM, IMPRESSIONISM to EXPRESSIONISM

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HEINRICH LAUTERBACH -Polish architect of Wroclaw modernism

Post 718 by Gautam Shah

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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

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

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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.

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 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).

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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.

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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”. (https://www.jablonec.com/en/jablonec-nad-nisou/monuments-and-culture/the-schmelowsky-villa/).

19 Heinrich Lauteinrich

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ZONING BUILT SPACES -PERIPHERAL SPACES

Post 717 by Gautam Shah

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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716 ARTICLES on MINIMALISM in DESIGN

Post 716 by Gautam Shah

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Minimalism

ARTICLES on MINIMALISM in DESIGN -Gautam Shah

These SIX articles are from my Micro Blog site https://wordpress.com/view/designsynopsis.wordpress.com  The articles are listed in terms of their publication sequence.  The Topics relate to #Minimalism, #Functionalism, #Frugality,

#Brevity, #Abstractions, #Reductionism

192 MINIMALISM in DESIGN

275 BREVITY in DESIGN EXPRESSION

316 APARIGRAHA and MINIMALISM

455 FUNCTIONALISM in DESIGN

595 ABSTRACTION for COMMUNICATION

649 ANEKANTAVADA

 

192 MINIMALISM in DESIGN

An Expression to be effective requires condensation and rearrangement of the content. The minimalism takes many different forms, in Art, it takes abstraction of form or story, in Writing, it turns to recitable poetry, and in Built forms (product design and Architecture) it needs to remain steadfast with sheer functionality.

In audio-visual expression, the reenactions are never faithful to the original, and yet the improvisation can be creative. For minimalism, the productivity is just the frugal use of means, but efficiency of the process. Minimalism is the distinctive impression created through the space and time scales. ‘In design, clarity trumps the brevity’.

The word Frugality stands against Substantial. A thing, substantial, is more ‘down to the earth’, but conversely a minimal entity is infinitesimal or spectral.

Bauhaus was about rejecting the unnecessary things that had begun to undermine the functionality of designed objects. Minimalists ask, What can we strip away without losing the purpose and identity? This is in stark contrast to Redesign Engineering ideology, which ask, What can be redefined? And the search is not a “Eureka”, but adopting and improvising the operative efficiency available in competitive offerings.

275 BREVITY in DESIGN EXPRESSION

Brevity in Design relates to two fundamental measures, the TIME and SPACE. And the calibration of both, leads to efficiency. Brevity in architecture is a reflection of minimalism. It comes from a yearning to ‘shed weight’ so as to be less ‘substantial’. In architecture (and also other forms of design) ‘substantial’ translates into monumental or elaborate. A monumental entity, must confirm to the stabilizing force of gravity, and so should be large and wide-based. An elaborate entity could be multi-functional or multi-faceted, satisfying many needs.

The superfluous ‘becomes intense and dense’ in ‘classical ages’ that reappraisal becomes necessary not to discipline it but to discover the ‘new’. But such pursuit for Brevity starts at personal level, and is initially a preconception. By the time the originator and followers understand the means and methods of it, it may become a style weighed down by ‘substantial’.

Brevity as a doctrine has many subscriptive forms, like, ABC art, minimal art, reductivism, rejective art, De Stijl, neo-plasticism, Bauhaus movement, minimalism, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’ Less Is More and Traditional Japanese art.

Brevity (First attested in English in 1509)has origins from Latin -brevitās or brevitātem, Anglo-Norman brevité, Old French brieveté (=br -brave + evity -evidence).

316 APARIGRAHA and MINIMALISM

Aparigraha means non-possessiveness or being non-greedy. Aparigraha is the opposite of Parigraha, which means, to amass, crave, seek or seize material possessions.

Aparigraha is one of the virtues in #Jainism. It is also one of the five vows that both the householders (Sravaka) and ascetics must observe. Aparigraha is a desirable self restraint and sincerity (as a fellow citizen) for possessing what is absolutely necessary and so minimum.

(#Jainism -a religion in India, originating in roughly the same time span as Buddhism).

American scholar Richard Gregg coined the term ‘voluntary simplicity’ to describe a lifestyle purged of the inessential. My space is small but my life is big.

The concept of minimalist design was to strip everything down to its essential quality and thereby achieve simplicity. Thereafter nothing can be eliminated ‘to simplify or improve the design’. Minimalists not only ‘reconsider’ the physical qualities but spiritual meaning also.

This usually creates a design statement that is very frugal and personal. And it requires converts, who can understand, believe and accept it. If you are a design service provider that needs spirit and energy of a crusader.

455 FUNCTIONALISM in DESIGN

In the wake of World War I, an international functionalist Design movement emerged, riding on the wave of Modernism. This was triggered by consumer product periodicals that had wide base of female subscribers.

The movement was for achieving purity in design of a product through functional relevance. This was gaining momentum with a similar trend in art, architecture and craft-artefacts. It was for reduction and restrain with the aim to remove the unnecessary and put the essential in the spotlight. These trends in Design were confirming to than current ideas of socialism and humanism.

Louis Sullivan’s 1896, idea of ‘form ever follows function‘ was more metaphysical than being practical to users’ needs. It was more reflective of ‘lack of (‘excessive’) ornamentation. Some treated as ‘bald and brutal’ manner. Philip Johnson daringly ‘held that the profession has no functional responsibility whatsoever’. The postmodern architect Peter Eisenman was more extreme, ‘I don’t do function.’

From all these personal interpretations products, art and architecture began to rely of structural stresses as expressed through straight line and right-angled geometry. This was bereft of emotion, as good design should be ‘clear and unobtrusive.’ The success of functional design was in the rationality and cost effectiveness, as it removed wastage of space and materials.

595 ABSTRACTION for COMMUNICATION

Communication occurs through writing, orally, gestural deliveries and through metaphors or graphics. Authors usually have some knowledge about the target audience.

All communications use spatial or temporal assets and so need to have minimal content. The tradition is ancient one, as knowledge was conveyed orally as Shrut Gyan (Vedic mantras are in easy to remember and in recitable form).

For content rationalization several strategies are resorted to. The contents are abstracted by removing all time-space gaps and less important information. The language in Internet chat-rooms, whatsapp, etc. shows the nature of abstraction spreading across the world. Here common words are shortened by eliminating vowels and are denoted by their phonemes. Symbols and metaphors are also used to squeeze the contents.

The contents are sequenced, with time as the operative element. Oral or gestural deliveries are sequenced in time and so are lineal. Writings can have non-lineal arrangement if aided indexing. Graphical formats are impressionistic, rely on the holistic effect.

The focus of abstraction and communication are through the retrieval and re-enactment of content. So what one strongly feels, desires, believes, becomes the force-de-majeure.

For frugality of expression beginning with a pre declaration or concluding with a definitive statement

The contents can be minimized by forming bridges (e.g. hyperlinks, bibliographies, index) to create a seamless statement or a larger concept. A well linked or cited content vouches its authenticity through circumstantial referencing.

640 ABSTRACTION in ART

Abstraction is a process of removing irrelevant appendages from the idea, thought or concept. This reduces the complexity and increase efficiency.

Abstraction in Art began with the removal or de-emphasis of the background or the context. This allowed the thematic concept to be perceived not just distinctly but in a different manner. The abstract Art was more concerned with the later. The newness of the object independently of its associations or attributes provided an exciting option to impressionism and expressionism. Both the -isms were substantially dependent on negation through colour, texture, form depiction, foreground-background delimitation, depth representation with intensities, perspective or scaling, and environmental connections like light and shadows.

Word Abstract derives from the Latin Abstrahere =to divert and Aabstractus =drawn away, drag away, detach, pull away, divert. It is an assimilated form of Ab =off, away from + Trahere =to draw.

In computer programming abstraction hides all but the relevant data about an object.

Acute abstraction takes away the reality. The subject is not sought or to be recognized. It has no bearing of perception like top-bottom, left-right, real or mirror. But on massing the abstract creations, do reflect the creator and that becomes the style. It is the mannerism that becomes universal. But before that universalism sets in the Art moves to something New.

649 ANEKANTAVADA

The word ‘anekaāntavāda’ is a compound of two Sanskrit words: anekānta and vāda. The word anekānta itself is composed of three root words, ‘an’ (not), ‘eka’ (one) and ‘anta’ (end, side). These three together connote ‘not one ended’, ‘sided’, ‘many-sidedness’, ‘manifoldness’ or ‘many pointedness’.

According to ‘Jain’ (Indian religion that originated in roughly the same time span as Buddhism) doctrine, there is no absolute truth or reality. Anekantavada has also been interpreted, to mean non-absolutism. It is said no single concept can describe the nature of existence and the absolute truth.

Every truth is incomplete, and at best a partial truth. The ultimate truth and reality, if any, are complex and multi faceted. All knowledge must be qualified in many ways, including being affirmed and denied. Anekantavada is a fundamental doctrine of Jainism.

According Jainism reality has many facets, which are difficult to be perceived by one person or through several cycles of life. Different people interpret different aspects of it. Their conclusions are good for them and in the time-space context.

Reality is what we perceive and also of what we do not perceive. We cannot understand the reality unless we are ready to accept both. So all conditions have potentials of many truths.

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The CRAFT of SCENOGRAPHY and NOH STAGE of JAPAN

Post 715 by Gautam Shah

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Immersive theatre is a form of contemporary performance that may include site-specific architecture, some degree of spatial considerations and improvisations both in expression and audience participation Immersion of the spectator in the narrative is a key factor. These may be achieved not just by audio-visual interest but other sensorial interests.

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Scenography is a practice of Stage Craft that includes scenic design, lighting, sound, costume design and various types of shielding or curtain barriers. It creates a specific stage-environments or atmosphere to support the expression or narration. It is also perceived as combination of technological provisions and sensorial effects to support what an acted or spoken narrative cannot do or need not do. It creates a sense of place in a performance that could be indicative, real or hyper real or even bizarre.

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The term scenography is of Greek origin, skēnē =stage or scene building, grapho =to describe. It was originally detailed within Aristotle’s Poetics as skenographia. It is now also used as craft of display in museums and merchandising.

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Invisible theatre is stage performance in a place where people would not normally expect to see one, for example in the street or in a shopping centre. Performers disguise the fact that it is a performance from those who observe and who may choose to participate in it, thus leading spectators to view it as a real, unstaged event.

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Scenography is the seamless synthesis of space, text, research, art, actors, directors and spectators that contribute to an original creation. -Howard, Pamela (2002 -What is Scenography).

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Scenography is not simply concerned with creating and presenting images to an audience; it is concerned with audience reception and engagement. It is a sensory as well as an intellectual experience, emotional as well as rational. Joslin McKinney and Philip Butterworth..

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Noh Performance > The traditional Japanese Noh stage (butai) Design derived from Shinto worship pavilions (haiden) or dance pavilions (kagura-den) of Shinto shrines. The stage is squared and bounded by Four columns (like the Indian Mandap or Mantapam) for Hindu Marriage or Yagna pooja ceremonies. The four column-roofed entity is placed in open as well as indoor facilities. The stage is a sanctified area for the ritual of performance.

The roof is overpowering element drawing attention to the performance. It also becomes the focus of the hashigakari (suspension bridge), a narrow passage at right upend, used by actors to arrive on the stage.

Noh-stage-diagram

Noh performance space is open on all sides to offer a participatory area for the performers and the audience. It stays open through the performance, as there are no curtains to declare beginning or end of an act over the central stage (honbutai =main stage). So like Indian Kathakali or street performance of Ramayana, Mahabharat and other classical plays the audience see the preparation of scenes and actors’ entry-exit. This is what happened in Greek open air amphi theatre stage performances. An edgeless performance place.

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Some of my own BLOGS on STAGE & PERFORMANCE CRAFT > LINKS

STAGE CURTAINS Part 1 ● Performance Spaces
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/stage-curtains-part-1-%e2%97%8f-performance-spaces/
STAGE CURTAINS – Part 2 (forming the performance spaces)
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/stage-curtains-part-2/
STAGE CURTAINS -types Part III
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/stage-curtains-types-part-iii/
SEGMENTING the SPACES -Issues of Design 31
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2020/01/23/segmenting-the-spaces-issues-of-design-31/
MAKE-BELIEVE in INTERIOR DESIGN
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/11/08/make-believe-in-interior-design/
DISTANCE as an ELEMENT of DESIGN -Issues of Design 26
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/distance-as-an-element-of-design-issues-of-design-26/
MODELLING of OBJECTS in SPACE -issues of design -20
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/modelling-of-objects-in-space-issues-of-design-20/
CONTEXT -Issues for Design -12
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/11/08/context-issues-for-design-12/
INTERVENTIVE SPACES – Issues for Design -2
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/interventive-spaces-issues-for-design-2/
EXPRESSION and COMMUNICATION -as behaviour in space
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/expression-and-communication-as-behaviour-in-space/
The INTERLUDE (intervening space)
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/the-interlude-intervening-space/
DRAPERIES
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/drapery/
VISUAL PERCEPTION of MOVEMENTS
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/visual-perception-of-movements/
SOUND, SPACE and PERCEPTION
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/sound-space-and-perception/
PERCEPTION of SOUND and SPACES
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/perception-of-sound-and-spaces/
SPATIAL MEMORIES –Issues of Design 29
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2019/11/19/spatial-memories-issues-of-design-29/
BALANCE in DESIGN – Part 1
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/balance-in-design-part-1/
BALANCE in DESIGN – Part 2
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/balance-in-design-part-2/
SHEER FABRICS and CURTAINS
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/sheer-fabrics-and-curtains/
SPACE and SOUND REVERBERATION
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/space-and-sound-reverberation/

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DESIGN PROCESSES -Design Handling –Issues of Design 32

Post 714 by Gautam Shah

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Designs occur as a concept, idea or theme, expressed in the form explanation, process of creation, or representations like drawings, models, surrogates, samples, digital images. All Designs are documented briefs for realization. Design also carries a meaning of forming a pattern. Creations by artists or craftsperson may occur as experiment or improvisation, and are not truly designs. Designs need not be realized as a physical reality. A design can be a strategy for operational management or conducting services.

Structure at Kabah 4707705100_82facac70a

For a designer, knowing means to achieve a specific end are very important. Proper record keeping of all design processes helps here. It is very difficult to register dreams, intuitions or inspirations. One needs to recall them in a different time and space context. All intuitions or inspirations, however, absurd, have some physical context of origin. Designers unlike a lay craftsperson or artist, are trained and disciplined, to record their design related thought processes. The thought processes thin out or obliterate completely with passage of time, so must be recorded as early as possible.

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Design Processes for a Lay person and a Designer are very different. A creative lay person simply goes on creating (assembling, modifying) things without being aware why certain things manifest in a certain manner. For a creative person the end is important and means irrelevant. A Designer, on the other hand, tries to discover the logic behind it. Selection of an element may be initially intuitive, but there is always a later effort to justify the actions intellectually. A designer justifies all actions like selection, rejection, inclusion or composition of various elements. In doing so the designer refines the intellectual prowess by equipping with an experience that is:

  • definable
  • repeatable or recreate-able as a whole or in selective parts
  • recordable -its perceptive aspects
  • transferable to another person
  • increase or decrease its intensity (time scale) and diffuse or intensify its concentration (space scale).

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For these (above) purposes Designers rely on documents. The expertise of documenting all aspect of design helps a designer to handle extensive or more complex intuitions or inspirations. Personal and impulsively formed systems tend to be Holistic, with few or no recognizable sub systems and being very unique require more extensive definitions and so complex documentation. On the other hand, planned systems, whether personal or evolved through multilateral effort, and over a longer period of maturation, consist of many sub sets. Planned systems have subsets that are already formed by vendors and well prescribed.

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Documents are personal method of transmitting a design to stage of realization. In large projects designs are transmitted to professional executors and in different locations. Design transmission and interpretation, require ‘culture’ of protocols. Many such protocols are not defined but accepted as the traditions. Such traditions make a Design transmission and interpretation fast, but are prone to errors.

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Designers create both, Closed and open-ended systems. Closed Ended Systems are intentionally made holistic. Closed-ended systems are planned to protect the intellectual rights of the innovators. Closed systems are improvise-able only by the author or inventor, whose capacity to update it continuously is finite. Proprietary computer software may be used by a licensee, but its code remains restricted. The closed systems cannot be dissected for inspection or repair, the form is compact and rigid. Closed ended system need nodes of connectivity or gateways to be useful. Such gateways may or may not allow access to others. Such systems become irrelevant as soon as an open-ended option is available. In the world of mutual dependency, closed systems cannot survive much longer.

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Open-ended Systems evolve from multilateral effort or multi trial endeavours. Where large number of people are involved in design and execution, and where these processes are likely to take place at different time and locations, the system automatically becomes Open ended. The subsystems usually offered by venders, to be replaceable, are conceived as substantially independent systems, by their vendors. Open-ended systems have a ‘design-architecture’, formed through common measurements, materials and procedures. To allow these, open-ended systems have a skeleton type frame structure (infrastructure) and fit-in modules. Open-ended systems have built-in reserves or additional safe capacities, often wasteful, but such reserves make systems more persistent. Open-ended systems allow replacements, improvisations and up-gradations of their subsystems and components.

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UNDERSTANDING DESIGN FEES

Post 713 -by Gautam Shah

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Designers often help their clients to acquire or dispose off entities in their completely prepared form. When the transaction originates at producers’ end, it is little above the cost, at a price. Price, reflects the value a producer attaches to an entity. Later transactions may not in any manner relate to an entity’s cost.

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For a thing to have a value, it must be transferable. A latent value becomes potent when it is perceived that someone needs the entity in some time and space, for a utilitarian or hypothetical purpose. A demand for a perishable commodity, if it, does not occur within the life span, is irrelevant. Similarly demand for something in a far off place cannot be satisfied, due to transportation hazards and handling problems. Air has a lot of utility but is not scarce. Rotten eggs may be scarce, but hardly have any utility. Friendship is very useful and scarce, but is not transferable or marketable.

Historic cost of creating a painting may be few drops of colour, a canvas and artists’ few moments. But once the fact is accomplished, the painting gains a very high value due to its extra ordinarily high relevance to the society. Relevance of a product in terms of its utility is (more) likely to degenerate over a period of time, but its value may appreciate or depreciate depending on its relevance to the owner or the society.

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Prices are effected in money. Prices go up or down depending on the fall or rise in the (universal) value of the money. Any change in money (monetary value) affects the prices of all things across the board. Value of a thing, however, is specific. There cannot be a general fall or rise in value of all things. Value of a thing goes up, when we can acquire or aspire for more or superior things in exchange. Value of a thing goes down, when we can acquire or hope for less or inferior things in exchange. Value is relative, referred in terms of something else.

Value of a thing, cannot be always measured in money. Value has many different connotations, typically, it has relevance in terms of, emotions, remembrances, associations, ageing, maturity, heritage, rarity, ecological, environmental, social, etc.

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Valuation, in functional sense, is done to determine what one would gain by acquiring, or forgo by disposing the item, but not necessarily doing so. Value of a product means an addition or deduction to wealth, Cost at the moment of transfer may or may not reflect the value of an item, but it helps in a better judgement of the value.

A rare painting or an antique may have an indeterminable cost, but will have a probable value. Value could be several times more or less than the actual cost of the item. Value is considered to be the true worth of an item, more lasting, but not necessarily reliable. Cost and price are very realistic and reliable, but not always representative of the true worth of the item. Both, perhaps, are required to gain a full insight of the situation.

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Monetary versus Non-Monetary Valuations

Valuations are of two types: Monetary and Non-Monetary. Monetary valuations are not very different from costing exercises. Value of a thing, cannot be always measured in money. Though here utility, desirability, scarcity, availability and marketability etc. of an item are assessed in monetary terms rather than market equivalent costs of such items.

Valuations of non-monetary type are made to check adherence to values, customs, traditions, ethos, rules regulations, laws, etc. Greater adherence to these issues results into higher value realization for the product. Often negative or repulsive aspects of an entity, such as Hitler’s memorabilia, black magic tools, due to their rarity, invite a connoisseur’s favour. Non-monetary valuations have a relevance only to people who are concerned with it in some way. Non-monetary valuations based on one aspect or few concerns are not very useful, desirable, or even reliable. Non-monetary valuations based on too many aspects are not comparable, so must be scaled into some economic or monetary component. These makes, a valuation, very complicated process.

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Costing versus Valuation

Costing is a logical (mathematical) process, and any technically proficient person can carry it out. Costing process must always remain justifiable, and requires many exact inputs, including latest market costs etc. Valuations, however, involve many hypothetical judgments, are very subjective, and so may not seem rational. It is the experience of the valuer that imparts some degree of objectivity and also reliability to the valuation. Valuation on the other hand is a subjective judgment, and no explanations may be asked for.

Costing helps a designer in planning, budgeting and auditing the expenditures. Valuation is used to confirm or justify expenditures, indicate non monetary savings, and to convince a client for quandary options.

 

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Design Practice and Cost Determination Methods

Designers choose entities, increase or decrease their usage by predicting the costs. Designers develop their own cost determination methods, appropriate for the jobs they handle, and for types of items specified in their projects. Input data like market rates for materials, parts, components, labour etc. are continuously updated or sought as and when estimates are to be prepared. Updating feedback is also available through the historic estimates conducted on completion of a project.

In design offices predictive cost analysis is made through Rate analysis. Average prices of all commonly used materials, operations, etc., are collected routinely, reformatted and stored. These are presumed as standard rates, and form the basis for the cost analysis. To simplify the process of cost analysis, number of items and their individual rates or prices are reduced by approximation (through definition of a factor for variation) in quantity and quality.

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Routine jobs and jobs with substantial intellectual effort

Routine jobs have a determinable cost (and by adding a customary margin of profit, etc. one can derive the price). However, jobs with substantial intellectual effort accomplish more than the cost of implementation. So, dilemmas occur, should one charge a professional fee on the total cost of the job, or value accruing out of the job? Authors of creative efforts must know how to value their accomplishments, and thereby demand a fair compensation for it. Designers need to know both the cost and value of their professional services.

Cost versus Value for Designers

The understanding of Cost versus Value of an entity helps a designer at TWO distinct levels:

1 Determination of Fees: Cost-based and Value-based

2 Helping a client for the value-assessment of their possessions.

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Cost-based Fees

Design practice follows age-old traditions of Architectural practice. Jobs are generally executed by appointed contractors or selected vendors. These third party (away from the Architect and the Client) business entities present an invoice, which reflects the nearly true cost of the job. Architects base their fees on this foundation after adding certain percentage amount to account for miscellaneous expenses, (such as on power, water, etc.). Substantial part of Designer’s work follows a similar path.

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Value-based Fees

Value-based Fees are charged for jobs like renovation, extension, addition, conservation, etc. that make substantial change to the existing environment, upgrading the commercial value, or advantages deriving out of it. A unique concept that costs very little to implement, provides a substantial benefit to the client. Should one charge a fee on the cost of a job or on the value of the completed job? Here determining an appropriate cost base for fees is very difficult.

Value Assessment of Possessions

On some sites there are pre-existing structures which are to be only reformed or reused. The design cost of continuing or protecting such structures is difficult to compute, and so must be value-based. Cost of works or supplies by third party vendors and contractors are accountable, but items supplied by the Clients from the existing stock are difficult to document. Cost of Retained Structures, Antiques, Curios, used in a project are often indeterminable, instead their values, if available need to be used. On sites where several Professionals operate simultaneously, exclusive authorship to a creation is disputable, so cost of a patent idea is disputable.

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Cost Plus Fees

Fees for very complex jobs, or jobs that are unique, and without any precedents are very difficult to predefine. A Client wishes to see the job properly done, and the Professional wants a guaranteed, but a fair amount of income. Such jobs are executed on Cost Plus Basis.

The office work of the professional and the site work of the project, both are executed in a very transparent setup. All the expenses at the Processional’s Office (salaries, stationary, conveyance, rents, service charges for equipments, etc.) and at the Project Site (on raw materials (stationary), wages, and salaries, rents for equipments, conveyance, postal and telecommunication charges, taxes, etc.) are well monitored, documented and audited. The Professional is then allowed a percentage over the Audited Costs.

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