LINKS for MECHANICS of VISION

Post 619 –by Gautam Shah

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MASKING of OPENINGS Part -III -Framing
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/masking-of-opening-part-iii-framing/

MASKING of OPENINGS Part -II
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/masking-of-openings-part-ii/

MASKING of OPENINGS Part -I
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/masking-of-openings-part-I/

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FRAMING of OPENINGS
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/framing-of-openings/

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and VISION in-out
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/architectural-windows-and-vision-in-out/

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and the MEANING
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/architectural-windows-and-the-meaning/

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and MECHANICS of VISION https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/architectural-windows-and-mechanics-of-vision/

GLASS and PERCEPTION

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/glass-and-perception/

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SPATIAL PRIVACY

Post 562 by Gautam Shah

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Space is a built or territorial expanse around a person. The personal measure for the expanse is the fathom (human size) and yet it is fathomless. The space is reached through sensorial affectations. The reach is finite, but with technological tools it can be stretched manifold. In recent years, technologies like satellite remote sensing, geo positioning, electronic enlargements, ‘seeing’ through energy facsimiles; have encroached our spatial domains. The invasion of our privacy occurs whether we are in built space or open territories. The invaders know that reach in space does not mean the capacity to own and control the depth.

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Layers for privacy of different levels > Street view of Faza Kenya House Wikipedia image

Spatial privacy encroachments affect our personal actions and our connections with other people, objects and environment. Very often such observance or data collection is not intentional but the same may be used for malicious interpretations. The spatial privacy is for a person to manage, but surveillance by others may be used for altering our actions and responses to other things in space.

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Surveillance alters freedom of action Wikipedia image

Privacy is related to location or position, tracing of movement routes, a micro moment capture of changes in posture-gesture, environmental and body functions (temperature, perspiration, metabolism, respiration, blood pressure etc.). These are imperceptible, and would not be noticed, but can be enhanced by technologies like slow motion capture, high resolution, and colour or energy imaging tools. Such processes occur without the person’s knowledge or awareness. Privacy is the right to act without surveillance. Surveillance alters action.

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Public spaces under surveillance Wikipedia image by Quevaal

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Aerial view of Osama Bin Laden Compound Abbottabad Pakistan by CIA

Privacy has many different interpretations. Spatial privacy for humans in built forms or open territories has been a concern for all designers. Designers consider privacy as an act of isolation by way of obscuration. Privacy means control over space occupation, time protraction, task execution and social interactions. The isolation from people, things and environment is achieved by controlling various sensorial perceptions and expressions. One may close the eyes, block the ears, pinch the nose, reduce the visibility by merging with the background, simplify variations in surroundings, control the exposure in time and space, camouflage with high contrast elements or exploit the barricading situations. Sense of privacy results from traumatic experiences and could be seen as inhibition to certain situations. This can be adjusted to by mental isolation or behavioural counseling.

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Confession in privacy Wikipedia image from ru.wikipedia

Privacy and Intimacy are closely related. Intimate conditions reflect interference by others, and so a threat to privacy. Though both, could be expressions of individualization or branding of unique personality. And, whenever these are compromised, one tries to distance from others, adjust the posture and reorient the self. To achieve privacy, a prime attempt is to find a ‘safe’ place in a domain. The safe place could be an anchor of spatial (architectural) element, a person or even a suitable environmental realm. Safe places are familiar, assuring, with a possibility of escape, or occluding. Safe places are transient in time, like a moving object does not allow clear perception. Privacy is perceived in company of a senior person, people of same sex and in a group consisting of both sexes. Environment offers privacy by reducing the clarity perception of the self and of other things.

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Privacy as expression of Individualization or Branding of unique personality Wikipedia image of Beyonce Knowle by Tony Duran

One requires many different types of privacy: Physical privacy -against someone making a close approach (touch or near approximations), Visual privacy -to limit others’ view of oneself, Audio privacy -insulation against being overheard and interference from background noise, and Olfactory privacy -that limits to reveal own physiological state or experiencing someone else such a state through hormones-odours. Other privacy parameters are, one tries to conceal the body temperature, breathing rate, heart beats, pulse rate, vibrations of the body, sweating and perspiration, as these reveal the inset fear.

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Privacy from distraction Wikipedia image of Michigan State University Libraries USA

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SPATIAL BEHAVIOUR

Post 512 by Gautam Shah

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Spatial behaviours of human beings are in response to the spatial environment and in spite of it. Space is the setting where environment and its cognition occur. Cognition is universal, but has personal endowments and so environment has subjective significance. In a space the spatial features remaining static, environment is continually varying, and so the spatial experience is ever expounding. Environmental conditions and spatial features, manifest in concert. We expect the presence of one to trigger the other. And this becomes a great tool for designing spaces and thereby infuses desired behaviour.

Barber shop Brazil, Wikipedia Image by Author Fabio Pozzebom/ABr

Nature of cognition is one major factor that governs the Space experience. Space experience results from cognitive systems, their capacities, and physiological needs. It is also affected by the inherited (intuitive) and learnt (intellectual) knowledge. Space experience is also formed by the presence of other beings, recognition and acknowledgement.

Texting, a way to keep engaged and be private Wikipedia image Uploaded by JohnnyMrNinja Author Jason

As designer, we exploit both, the environmental features and facilitations by space elements, to condition specific behaviour. Space elements such as amenities, facilities, support structures and reach extension tools, along with environmental conditions that offer comfort, security, safety and survival, are used for infusing desired nature of behaviour. The behaviour is intended for place occupation, acclimatization, dimensional accommodation, sensorial and physical reach, and task functionality of a space. The behaviour gets primarily reflected in human body-limb language of postures, gestures, stability and mobility, and secondarily in sensorial vulnerability and degree of congeniality (privacy and intimacy). At another level, the overt expressions like speaking, writings, painting, also reflect the space and environment.

Street Play India, Wikipedia image by Author Jugal Bharali

For a Designer, space, environment and human behaviour indicate how a person will respond to a given space+environment setting. Alternatively one can predict how an individual or group will behave in certain setting. At individual level the human behaviour is governed by age, sex, level of adaptation, familiarity, consistency, variability, limb capacity, body-limb coordination, etc. But the social-contact mechanisms regulate what we share and empathize. The interactions with others depend on the awareness about sex, age, stature, need, social position, degree of familiarity, distance and recognition (through cognition). The behaviour (even of lone beings) and the forms of interpersonal relationships of various races and cultures are different. Here the lifestyle or cultural values that has been passed on from one generation to another as ethnicity or ‘cultural ethos’ play an important role.

Thimpu Bhutan, Wikipedia-Flickr image by Author laihiuyeung ryanne

Behavioural responses nominally occur for the co-occupants that are present, but sometimes through the metaphoric presences. Metaphoric presence of others is reinforced primarily by the historical context (what we have been told or learnt) and associations.

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TRANSLUCENCY for CURTAINS

Post 431 – by Gautam Shah

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Translucency of a fabric for has been an important factor how curtains sensorially affect us. In ancient times when heavier tapestries including rugs were hung on openings, little light seeping through the weaving or worn out gaps was very much pleasing experience. Light through the woven material gets refracted by the surrounding fibrous texture of threads at the gap point. It not only diffused the glare of outdoor light but created a warm glow due to the unbleached warp yarn.

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Nominally our experience tells us that heavy fabrics are more opaque, and light weave fabrics are translucent. Though there are many exceptions to these, due to the nature of fiber, its post spinning treatments, use of colourants and nature of the weave. For the favour of anyone (heavy-opaque or light-translucency) the others can be redefined. Fabrics are lighter, because the fibres are naturally thin, can be spun to a very fine count, filaments or long staples in nature, and woven with a single weave or similar techniques. Fabrics or fibres dyed to lighter shades seem less heavy. Fabrics with finer warp yarn tend to be tightly woven rendering it to be opaque.

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The substantive determinants for perceptual and actual transparency or translucency of a curtain material depends on Treatments over a fabric, mode of hanging and pleating, presence or absence of a liner-layer and the secondary treatments over the opening itself.

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The illumination conditions of the interior space, and the viewing position in the interior or exterior location, substantially affect the perception of transparency. A bright exterior or one that allows greater proportion of ‘sky component reflection’ (the reflected light from the sky) such as clear sky days, openings on sea coast, very vast open grounds, on the upper level windows in tall buildings, and very bright or highly a reflective frontage of urban streets, all contribute to the brightness over the windows’ plane (an exterior side). A bright exterior side and a glare-less interior, both add to the translucency. A curtain fabric shows the glow of exterior daylight when the interior glare is less dominant. Such conditions also arise when areas besides the curtain are not highly illuminated, or furnished in lighter shades. A direct sunlight exposure of the window makes the curtain seem opaque (at least from outside) where as a deep shade or awning makes a curtain ‘see-through’ entity.

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The perception of transparency is governed by the construction of the curtain, such as design and density of pleats, presence or absence of back-layering, and the direction of the weave. The natural way of fabric orientation for curtain is the warp forming the vertical orientation (and the weft the horizontal position). A curtaining system, called Railroading, places the fabric, with weft forming the vertical orientation (and warp the horizontal position), which makes the fabrics seem more opaque. Curtains are also formed with multiple fabrics of synchronized colours or textures. The mid sections are formed with lighter (or white) fabric, allowing more light, feeling of lightness and view-through facility.

Fabrics of Filament yarn (very long fibres) such as of silk and synthetics and naturally very thin and uniform section, allowing lighter density weaving. But filament yarns of synthetics provide fabrics with a glossy finish, which takes away the ‘glow from back’ effect. Compared to these yarns of natural staple fibres of cotton, jute, wool, etc. and Rayons, have variable section and micro fibres jutting out, after spinning. Such yarns create weaves with many small gaps, and the micro fibres diffract the light.

Balcony Early In The Morning Curtains Yang Guang

Silks have been the first choice for sheer curtains due to fineness and natural ‘fall’ it offers. Sheer curtains are known as privacy curtains. Some of the best sheer fabrics are of pure silk, but most of the commercial materials are made of synthetic filament yarn (long length fibres). Very fine count cotton yarn fabrics such as lawn, cambric, chintz, voile, Malmal, muslin, etc. are also translucent, but have a tendency to creasing, and the quality of ‘fall’ is not natural.

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Fabrics in lattice or net forms are created through weaving, knitting, netting, crochet and such other constructions. Embroidered fabrics were used in Dutch and Swiss dwellings. Sheer fabrics flourish with their pleats and resultant folds, whereas the embroidered constructions brandish their self-patterns. Such constructions are very pliable and semi-transparent like a sheer fabric curtain.

Net woven fabrics of cotton and synthetic materials are soft and of substantial to flimsy body. It is net density (or lightness) and the pleat formations that add to its hazy see-through charm. Net patterns are created by singeing fusible weft or sections of fabric, or by selectively pulling out the weft yarns.

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See-through curtains nominally form the first layer in multiple curtains’ system. Such curtains allow a fuzzy view of outsides during day time, but at night may require an opaque topping of a curtain. Such fabrics or constructions must not be used with a lining fabric, to maintain the translucency. Similarly such curtains not embellished and embroidered for patterns. Such extra work increases the weight of the fabric at the cost of graceful fall. These types of curtains are commonly heavily pleated or hung as a plain panel (such as a roller or horizontally folding curtain) and so the total quantity of cloth required for must be pre-considered.

Victor Mottez zeuxis -use of sheer curtain

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SPACE PLANNING and NON VISUAL CUES

Post 397 – by Gautam Shah

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Space planning achieved through visual means is obvious, as much as it is effective. Non visual sensorial effects are however, difficult to perceive, and so difficult to express, communicate or record. These are though equally effective, but very subtle. At specific positions and in certain circumstances, many of the visual means also provide, non visual sensorial effects. Professional designers, in their conventional space planning, give consideration to parameters like auditory, olfactory, tactile and atmospheric factors such as the temperature and moisture, etc. A lay person finds it very difficult to replicate these in a personal space. The judgements on these counts are speculative, because effective results derive from accumulation of many factors.

Southampton Medieval Merchants House Hall

A lay person considers non visual sensorial effects, at best as the reinforcing elements to visual means. Other parameters such as the privacy, intimacy, well being, safety, security, seclusion and participation, are achieved through sensible space planning, but need space and time reinforcement through indicative means.

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TASKS AND SENSORIAL PERCEPTION

Space planning, relates to managing the tasks. The ability to see is one of the most important requirements of task handling. The critical factors are visibility, legibility and recognition. It also includes differentiation of spectrum variations or in other words the colour perception. Vision also helps to mark a scale for objects (perspective + distance). Persons with deficient or no vision, find it difficult to comprehend the environment. Hearing is critical as it affects our ability to communicate. The important factors in human hearing, are the sound levels (db) related audibility, intelligibility, signal-to-noise ratio, and the capacity to attune the preferred frequencies, selectively (back ground noise and noise annoyance). Perception through touch is locational and varied, which gives a choice as to what should be done and with which part of the limbs (fingers’ tips are more sensitive then any other part) and how close one should be with objects and other people. Perception of taste and smell seem to go together, but smell has a directionality. Taste activates metabolism and other systems. Task handling makes use of perception faculties to be productive, creative and without boredom.

Dingy space and The Potato Eaters, 1885. Van Gogh

SPACE PLANNING and USE OF NON VISUAL SENSORIAL EFFECTS

Non visual sensorial effects are: mainly Auditory, Olfactory, Tactile and Gustatory.

Auditory sense (relating to sound) provides the scale of distance, direction, and time. It indirectly reveals the quality of absorption and reflection.

Visual and Auditory senses work in consonance, because both have a sense of scale and direction. In space planning one provides the clue about the other. The selection and placement of furniture, furnishings and enrichments can change the visual space perception, as much as the surface treatments of the same elements can change the audio quality of a space. The purposes of space elements, their placement, composition, shape or size, are not very apparent to a lay person or a casual visitor. However, such effects become apparent as the satisfaction or comfort.

Tactile sense (relating to touch such as texture, temperature, moisture, electrical charge). It is a pervasive faculty, though some parts of the body are more sensitive. It is locative and part of the defensive mechanism. Tactile sense requires one to be in proximity of the surface, yet the textures, nature of construction (hollow, foamed, micro undulations), etc. prompt an auditory response from a distance, and so preempts the perception.

Seated Iron Vairocana Buddha of Borimsa Temple

Olfactory sense relates to smell or the odours. It is closely related to quality of air and so instinct of survival is intimately linked. It is highly frontal and directional. It also gives the idea of distance. Odours are perceived with air and its movements. Enclosed rooms filter the noise but reduce the chances of fresh air. This creates a ‘smelly’ or stagnant space. A designer has to perceive a space planning layouts with all these overlapping sensorial effects, and also notions people have. Odours are considered as issue space personalization.

 

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Odour control: Odours occur and persist in commercial spaces. Odours are generated by materials, processes and human occupation. Confined spaces such as underground car parks or basements, garbage areas, passages, etc. have poor air-change. Offices where coffee, snack and meals are allowed in work zones have greater degree of air fouling. The odour can be controlled through basic three methods: Greater dilution with fresh air, Finer scrubbing of odours, and Larger exposure to natural sunlight UV rays. Odours from surface finishes, cleaning compounds, treatments applied on furnishings and degeneration of plastics, etc. are controlled best by proper selection rather then any processes. Human skin scales, biologically degenerate very fast, and it is a major problem for spaces with large human traffic. Here again regular vacuum cleaning is the best method, but for this smooth and hard floors, in place of fiber or synthetic carpets are required. Odours of slightest measure are detested by first time visitors. However, masking an odour with deodorant is only delaying the effects of odours.

Gustatory sense (relating to taste buds) It is closely related to olfactory sense. It provides no sense of scale, distance or time unless with the Olfactory sense.

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Atmospheric parameters: For good ventilation and dilution, adding fresh air, is the best technology. Next method is to use various types of non-chemical techniques of scrubbing the air (ion charging, micro filtering, etc.). Ventilation system adjusts the temperature, replenishes proportion of oxygen, removal or addition of moisture, diluting or scrubbing the air to remove odours, smoke, dust and airborne bacteria.

HVAC and other experts take care of these aspects of atmospheric comforts in space planning. The air movement in large spaces have few problems, for example, in humid climates. Very high air movements ruffle the papers, hair and hangings like curtains. These are both visual and noise distractions. There always are few pockets with poor air circulation. Such pockets are more prominent in open office plans which are partly compartmentalized. Open office-plan can be well sustained with a distributed machine aided cooling or heating systems. The floor touching partitions of open office cubicles and comparatively low ceilings hinder air circulation. It creates areas with poor air change, uneven cooling-heating, poor moisture control, inadequate dilution of air borne pollutants and odours. Presence of mosquitoes in the lower sections of cubicles due to stagnancy of air is a great health hazard.

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VISUAL PERCEPTION of MOVEMENTS

Post 395 — by Gautam Shah 

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We perceive objects that are in motion, and also perceive objects while we are moving.

Motion of an object is perceived in many ways:

1 When there are changes in the object itself,

2 when environment causes changes, such as in illumination level, angle and colour, and

3 when the context such as background and foreground change.

There are many other conditions where movement is perceived to have occurred, but in reality no change may have happened.

1. When there are changes in the object itself.

The process of apparent visual motion was realized when several pages with slight and progressive alterations were flapped, to experience the movement. Later a devices called zoetrope provided animated images ( zoetrope, -from Greek words, where zoe =life and tropos =turning). The Phenakistoscope (or phenakistiscope or phenakitiscope) was an image animation device that used a spinning disk of sequential images. The visual motion was also realized when two images shot at slightly distanced points, and seen through a ‘view master (1940). It created a stereoscopic 3-D image. A stereoscopic range finder uses two eyepieces and relies on the operator’s visual cortex to merge the two images into a single picture.

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Phenakistoscope Dance sequence

St George St St Augustine Florida stereoscopic view

coincidence rangefinder US Army

2. When the environment causes changes over an object.

Environmental factors such as light, air, etc. affect the visual perception of movements. Changes in illumination level, angle and colour are important aids for perception of motion. People do not perceive very slow movements such as shadows of sunlight or increasing-decreasing of brightness through a day. Such movements are however, inferred by remembering the previous condition. At a very high rate of change in illumination, the perception of an object becomes difficult. On a performance stage illumination level, angle and colour are continuously varied to reinforce the movement in dances. In a cinema the movement is enhanced by showing the moving object along with the moving shadows.

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Decorative series of lights are stationary or fixed to buildings, but due to their going off in a sequence for few seconds, creates an impression of movement. This movement is more enhanced when same series of lighting are fixed on merry-go-rounds like entertainment rides. In Indian cinema songs, and night clubs at other places, enhance the dancers’ movement by strobe lights.

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3. When the context such as background and foreground change one begins to perceive the change or movement. We register changes in things in some context. The context is provided by the familiar objects on the scene, by objects that remain consistent within the nominal field of vision, and by the object in the background that usually show lesser changes. A thing that is receding steadily and slowly, along a visual axial seems less changing, compared with a thing moving at slightly an angular axis. A luminous and stationary object, shrinking in size, seems receding.

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Foreground Background contrast Gustave Caillebotte Paris Street Rainy Day 1877

Background and foreground perception is a not a major problem for human eyes, as these can continuously and rapidly shift from one to another. But the same process in a Camera takes time for resetting by manual or automatic process. A far object can become dulled while attending a foreground entity. The differences, of visual and camera perception of foreground and background objects, are being solved on several fronts. In one process a camera lens is simulated as multiple eyes entity, that individual captures the scene, which ultimately are merged or morphed to form a composite image. In another feature the lens is endowed with scanning capacity of the eye that creates a composite image.

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DAY-LIGHTING – in Interior Spaces

Post 366 – by Gautam Shah

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Day-lighting or daytime natural illumination is an important requirement for Interior spaces. The illumination requirements vary for various tasks, background brightness (contrast or glare), forms of shadows, and movement or variations in levels of lighting. The direct sources of daytime natural illumination in interior space are openings like doors, windows, gaps, cracks, punctures, translucent or transparent walls, trellis, etc. Besides these there are number of indirect means that enhance or contrast the direct sources of illumination. These means are planer or curvilinear surfaces, reflective surfaces, colours and textures. The daytime illumination arrives to a built-form, from different directions and sources, such as directly from the source, from sky, and as the reflections from terrestrial objects. These sources include, direct sunlight, diffused sky radiation, and both of these as reflected from the terrestrial objects.

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The amount of daylight received into an interior space is defined as a daylight factor (being the ratio between the measured external and internal light levels). The external light level can be as high as 120,000 lux at noon for direct sunlight at noon, to less than 5 lux on very heavily cloudy evening.

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To gain maximum daylight into an interior space the building should have wider foot print and its perimeter should be linear or undulated. The building must be longer in North-South direction, compared to East-West direction, unless the space is meant exclusively for either Morning or Evening use. For Northern Hemisphere, North side and for Southern Hemisphere, the South side receives more daylight.

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The neighbourhood buildings and topography and immediate surroundings have a bearing on the quality of illumination entering a building. The reflected light from surfaces of buildings, colours of roads and pavements affect lower floors of the buildings. Reflections from sea front and movement of trees tops, due to the breeze, can have unsettling effect on interior spaces. Upper floors of tall buildings, except in similar localities, receive consistent, but very strong daylight from nominal windows. Such floors with bottom windows get disturbing reflections from traffic and other movements, reflected to the ceiling.

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Location of openings, their proportion to wall, and distribution, determine the distribution of day light in the interior space. In tropical climate zones and in colder climes during warmer months, open doors play a very important role in daylight gain. Similarly, open to sky Chowk or cutouts with surrounding passages or ‘livan’ like spaces allow distributed illumination.

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For good day lighting the interior spaces must have at least one face with exterior exposure, or with an abutting shading component like verandah or gallery. A skylight or upper level opening is an efficient source for natural illumination. A taller window leads the daylight deeper into the room space. The depth of daylight penetration is approximately two and one-half times the height of the opening.

High – performance glazing with downward inclination

The space planning of an interior layout must be optimized for daylight. Large tall pieces of furniture can act as mid space barricading element or as reflective surfaces. In commercial spaces half or fully glazed partitions can allow just sufficient illumination for passage areas. A plain ceiling at low level may not be as reflective as a stepped or contoured one.

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On exterior and interior sides use of light-shelves, against an opening, helps distribute the daylight and cut glare. A light shelf could be a small width blade of a louver to very large fixed or adjustable jalousie system. A high-performance glazing systems generally admit light without the heat gain.

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Reflectance of room surfaces impacts the perception of brightness in a space. The surface reflectance is a function of colour, its texture (matt, dull-sheen, glossy) and the orientation of grains of textures. Extreme levels of brightness are present in the same field of view, can be calibrated by surface design.

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Daylight must be planned and ‘attuned’ for requirements of tasks, posture, communication, expression and intra-personal relationships, Poor visibility, recognition, and discomfort result from lack of required levels of illumination, direction. To remove wearisome consistency (as with sky or high level openings), some variations in moment to moment daylight must occur.

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