EXTERNAL or INTERNAL ‘REVEALS’ of OPENINGS

Post 685 –by Gautam Shah

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A reveal is a cover strip of wood at the corner (inner or outer) edge of an opening’s frame in masonry. It is often confused (due to very similar purposes) with rabbet, architraves, style, extrados-intrados (for arched openings), etc. The reveal may be formed of wood, stucco, stone bricks or metals. The reveals are placed on all sides of windows or three sides of doors. The reveal may shape-wise merge with the sill or threshold at the bottom. The basic purpose of reveal is to cover up the junction of wall and openings’ frames, but often play important role in framing, masking or enlarging the opening.

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6 French door in thin wall httpspixnio.como

Walls are chiefly load bearing entities. The thickness is the third dimension to the nominal planner structure. The third dimension has a functional depth, and architectural character. The Architectural expression of the wall-depth modulates the facade and gives a massing flavour. The functional depth frames the view, and regulates the illumination in the interior space.

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Openings in thicker walls have external or internal ‘reveals’ surrounding the frame. The bottom section forms the ledge of the sill. Openings placed on the outer face create deep an inner side or intrados (originally intrados meant, the inner curve of an arch or vault). Similarly openings placed on the inner edge form exterior side or extrados (originally extrados meant, the outer curve of an arch or vault).

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The deep interior sides, ifsquare-edged (at a right angle to plane of the window), made the perceived size of the opening smaller, then it actually is. This type of setting on interior sides, was not a major issue, where the room spaces were comparatively narrow, and so reflection from opposite walls was available. The narrow spaces were due to the technological restrictions and for functional requirements, such as in long halls and church buildings. In squared buildings the illumination was balanced from windows in the drum perimeter of the dome.

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The deep exterior sides, if square-edged (at a right angle to plane of the window), made the perceived size of the opening smaller, a desired arrangement to enhance the wall area and de-emphasize the presence of gaps of openings. It reduced the ingress of winds and snow-rainwater. To emphasize the presence of gaps, portals were added as the opening’s treatments.

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The square’ edged openings have high contrasting brightness. Such windows require counter illumination to reduce the glare. To distribute the light better in the interior space, inner sides (-intrados with the window fixed on the outer edge) and an outer side (-extrados with the window fixed on the inner edge) were splayed by chamferring. The angled side surface was further carved, fluted with ornate borders or architraves.

1 3 M thick walls and chamferred internal edges of Guard room at Burg Meersburg on Lake Constance in southern Germany Wikipedia Image by Tobyc75

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Inner vertical sides, window heads and the sill, all were sloped to enlarge the reflective surface area. The chamferred sides on the outer face allowed more light by increasing the sky component, and allowed wider view of the outside.

20 Murals need evenly distributed illuminated wall Basilica di Sant Apollinare in Classe Wikipedia Image by Flying Russian

The effects of square and the chamferred sides of openings were well known to the mural artists (working with different mediums such as tempera, mosaic and frescoes painting), who accordingly composed the stories, shading in the scene, perspective angle, colour’s  hue and tone of artwork.

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14 Romanesque_church. panoramio Wikipedia Image by More pics than views…

In Romanesque and early Gothic architecture the windows were fixed on inner face, creating a plain and undisturbed interior surface. But by the time this was perfected, the Gothic walls were completely diminished, and windows were as wide as the gap between two columns.

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13 Exterior flush windows deep set on interior side Santa_Maria_in_Cosmedin-templom_belso

Side walls of Gothic buildings became thinner due to the arrangement of flying buttresses and use of load-bearing columns. But the same advantage was not available in case of un-buttressed Front wall. The entrance doors of Gothic churches were flush-set on the inner face, and that allowed better view across and fuller distribution of light. But the doors set deep in the thick walls, needed chamferring with serrated sides.

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In Baroque architecture the depth of opening was concealed with the projected facade elements like columns, pilasters, cornices, or pediments. In Italian Renaissance the facade had an applique lattice like a pattern that united several openings. In post medieval period, windows began to protrude out of the buildings, over into the narrow street. Bay and oriel windows, Mashrabiya openings in the middle East, and Zarokhas in India transgressed out, mainly to gain sideways view and air. The multi sided mass of the projection became a personal statement.

8 Deep set openings Hindola_Mahal,_Mandu,_India

In post medieval period, window projections created serious fire hazards and issues of encroachment of public lands. Both of these were corrected through improved fire laws and defined easement rights. Fire laws required windows to be within the wall (without any projections like ledges or hanging shutters). Later the Window tax curtailed the number of openings in a building.

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Gothic architecture had already shown how to divide large openings with traceries of mullions and muntins. Large windows in thin walls require framing and masking, but small depth did not allow formation of integrated architectonic elements, or scooping out for niche creation. Architectural add-on elements such as half columns, extrados, porticoes, etc. were additives placed to frame and highlight the opening.

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The surface of the window was strongly stated by articulated divisions, contrasts between glazed and other surfaces like rusticated masonry. Windows were also placed in inward or sunken bays. The mid-wall between the windows was treated as very shallow niche or bordered frame for murals, paintings or placing a fireplace or library cabinet. Building’s facades of thin walls were also undulated by outward bay windows, ledges and other projections.

10 Protected Opening Tim 1965 1601_I_Street_NW_-_Washington_DC_-_window_detail

Thick walls accommodate the shutters of doors and windows within the gap. But shallow window gaps offer no shading. Some form of external shading system is required. Such shading systems have been used for creating architectural facade system, as in Chandigarh Secretariat building.

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Glass curtain walls are thin body construction, often without any projections for solar protection. This now sought through the glass technology, and the ventilation through separate HVAC system. Thin walls save floor space, and so are economic in spite of the compulsory recourse to other compensatory facilities. The nominal architectural play of depth and shadows for 3rd dimensional visual depth is not available with openings in very thin walls. This is now recreated by volumetric play of the building mass, or by variegated surface finishes. For such surface modulation, other means include visual reflectance and glows (illumination from within).

Modern Windows Exterior Building Architecture

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The vividness of stained glass windows or the colourful lanterns of Gothic eras are now recreated through see through LED glass. At another level the touch screen provides the same fare. The mix of the two will become part of architectural and interior face of buildings.

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DYNAMIC CURVATURES -Issues of Design 24

Post 684–by Gautam Shah

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13 Barcelone - Detail of a Gaudi building

A curvature is the synergistic dynamism of a line and the external forces, unlike a straight line which is the path of a force. Antonio Gaudi stated that ‘The straight line belongs to the man, the curve to God.’ All curvatures on earth manifest under two basic forces, the gravity of the earth and the current stresses resetting the earlier status. The curvature reflects the forces, form and ensuing functions. But Dynamic curvature is a live story, telling us How a form changes under stress. Dynamic curvatures are found in spiral coils, serpents, water ripples, plasticity of wet clays, free movements of flying birds, bending of bamboos, sand-dunes, clouds, etc.

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A line occurs across two things. As per Euclid’s definition ‘The extremities of a line are points’. A ‘line’ in literary sense, had no distinction, It needed an appendage ‘straight or curved’. In this sense a curve is a generalization (stressed or stress-free?) of a line. Historically, the term ‘line’ (perhaps from linen, lino or flex) was used for, rope, hawser, series, row, rule, direction, rope, flaxen cords, thread, cable etc. -many indicating curved forms of line. The difference between a line and curve is of scale.

Curvatures and Streamlined products 1930-1940s

Curvature, in mathematics, is the rate of change of direction of a curve with respect to distance along the curve. At every point on a circle, the curvature is the reciprocal of the radius. For other curves (and straight lines can be regarded as circles of infinite radius), the curvature is the reciprocal of the radius of the circle that most closely conforms to the curve at the given point’.

11 Golden Gate Bridge. Most suspension bridge cables follow a parabolic, not a catenary curve, due to the weight of the roadway being much greater than that of the cable. Wikipedia Image

Over a longer distance, all lines are parallel or meeting in infinity. The earthly spatial geometry has latitudes as the parallel lines but longitudes converge at poles. Latitude and longitude both at smaller scale are ‘straight’ otherwise curved. Such spatial geometry lines are implied, but their curvatures are real and experience-able. A line, Earth’s horizon is seemingly straight, but in reality a curvature. A plane travels between two points, in shortest and a straight path, but following the curvature of the earth’s surface, an implied line.

12 at Broadway and Cortlandt Streets in New York in 1883, shows a nation exploding with its first communications.

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A line is a connection, where the intrinsic transfer of energy makes it straight, but extrinsic or abutting energy deforms it to a curved line. All types of energy transfers are revealed in the direction. Lines and curves with substance get stressed due to their own weight, and yield to the gravity. Materials yield or resist tolerable deformation. Such visual flections also occur over short distances. Our eye visually bends a straight line, and so facade of the Parthenon required several calibrations. In reality the tops of the towers of a suspension bridge or transmission pylons are further apart than at the bottom, due to a curved surface of the earth.

15 Shadow of a straight line on curved surface Wikipedia Image by Sten Porse

There are many different forms of line. The transition from one to another medium reveals as an angular bent. Water-submerged section of a stick is a visual aberration of a line. Crystals are molecular level entities with the linear-angular structure. If the same are formed over a curved surface such as a liquid droplet, the crystals take the shape of the surface. Gravity has a tendency to distort the way crystals form. Outer space with nearly zero gravity allows creation of complex, three-dimensional proteins. Here the gravity and convective forces do not interfere in crystal formation. It is always advised to aim ‘higher’ to let the ‘bent’ trajectory reach the spot. So nature has both, the lines and curves, the former as intrinsic, and later as the extrinsic effects of forces.

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6 Manhattan Bridge in New York City with deck under construction from the towers outward

Curvatures, like the lines, also have a direction, as measured for the angle of the straight line formed by connecting any two points on the curvature. Such a presumed line could have horizontal, vertical or inclined angle, with reference to the earth. Curves that have a known or mechanical method of origin are Geometric, but if irregular or complex and cannot be defined using any equations, are Phantomastic.

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Curved lines come back to their point of origin to form a closed or determinate form (circle, ellipse). Closed curves have no beginning or end, but could be spiral, where the ends merge but in some other time or space. But, it could go to infinity to form an open or indeterminate entity, losing the essence of the curvature to a parabola, and eventually become a straight line.

17 Different types of coils

18 Dawn Eases Into Orbit Around The Dwarf Planet Ceres

Circles have easier sense of movement, but spirals give a sense of completeness, but without any restrain. Spirals are natural shapes in shells, snails, water-whirls, cyclone or tornado. Spirals are boundless and open, going to outward or inward eternity. Spirals arrive back, but bring in positional and temporal change. Spirals represent the notion of growth, evolution and often confusion. Spirals move in clockwise of anticlockwise directions, that perhaps the persistence of initiating and sustaining energy. A spiral as a curve represents time, metaphorically better then lines do. A spiral curve is not a closing circle, but turns around to arrive back at a different elevation (or position). Essences of spiral are the pull and push, and both are linear. Structurally a spiral is linear entity for compression-tension. So spiral, a curve, is a line.

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Curves with a single stroke can have one bridging line passing over any two pints on it, but multi-strokes curves can have as many bridging lines. Single stroke curve, create forms open on a single side, with an area asset on one side of it. Multi-stroke curves, on the other hand, create alternating open side form area assets that alternate on either side of it.21 Optical,_Corrections_in_Architecture_95

Silhouette, outline, skyline, horizon, shadows or contour lines, are all edge lines of real or ephemeral entities. The silhouettes are accumulative projection of several objects. The outlines define extremity of an object, if strong, subdue the object by framing and limiting its extent. Skylines are the human formations, a unique horizon-impression of the urban scape. A horizon is an ephemeral line between the sky and terrain. Shadows follow the object but occluding the details of the object-body. Contour lines are curvilinear, unless of man-made mass like roads and trenches. Borders demarcate the domain differences in terms of social, political, beliefs, but usually reinforced by the terrain. Borders are linear dividers or closed ended protectorates (if, squared framed or full curved forms).

The Lines start and terminate to a point, whereas the Curvatures have uncertainty about their ends. Lines as edges of angular planes show cleaved faces (diamonds, crystals), but curves of a streamlined product have ‘continuity’.

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A streamlined shape lowers the friction drag in the medium it moves, air or water. Drag is a force that slows down movement. Many animals, birds, and machines, such as aeroplanes, trains and submarines, have streamlined bodies to reduce friction drag’.

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1930 Living Room

During the Great Depression of the 1930s America had new style of Art-Deco architecture (late), product and graphic design. The Streamline Moderne or Art Moderne, favoured the curvilinear edges, accompanied by horizontal lines (parallel to gravity rather then up against it). Industrial designers stripped the Art-Deco design ornaments to implement the aerodynamic design. Long ribbon windows and cylindrical forms were new vocabulary of the ultramodern. All consumer products such as clocks, radios, telephones, cars, furniture, and other white good appliances were redefined to fit in the new concept. But these were sought to be replaced with modern materials of the age, steel, concrete and glass, and these had angular traditions.

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Futuristic Curves City Hall, San Jose, CA

This is the 24th article (in continuation of old series -new beginning) on ISSUES of DESIGN

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SPACES and PURPOSES

Post 683–by Gautam Shah

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Design for a Stage Set_ A Dungeon with High Vaults and a Staircase at Right.

A space is either real or abstract. The Real one is contoured in geometry and so well founded. The Abstract one is coalescence of many perceptions, or a fuzzy imagination, and so transient. Spaces have a natural affinity for location and environment. The location related factors are static like the spatial character, size, shape, ergonomic accommodations, and connections with the outside world. These are substantiated by structures, amenities, facilities, utilities, tools and enrichments. The environment endows many variations. As the environment is substantially directional, the orientation becomes a key determinant of the space lay. Other important factors are the energies affecting all things on earth. Gravity endows the stability.

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Spaces derive their purpose with the users’ concerns, like: sense of belonging, ownership, access, privacy, security and safety. A space for an individual, becomes functional, by the distance from edges, interpolation (of other spaces), connections and presence or absence of others (beings). A space, is relevant to an individual and groups, by the preferment of the core or verge. The core is intensely purposive to the ‘idea of space’, whereas the verge has many non-spatial connections and so motives are tempered.

36520624965_cfbfd6514b_zTo concern a space, one needs to possess it, by way of perceiving or occupying it. For both of these, one needs to possess it through a position in it. The possession of space is an indication that it is amenable to changes like size, shape nature. The position in a space makes it possible to explore a space consistently and differently. It reveals new potentials of the space. Possession and position are followed by the ‘next move’, the conditioning of the environment.

office-1094826_640Spaces are set of perceptions or experiences. Some are of real conditions, but many others are supplemented by the mind. Perceptions occur from positions in space and sequences of change between positions. Real positioning is framing in time and space, and the abstract one may have cause and effect (cause is partly responsible for the effect, and the effect is totally dependent on the cause). Space positions are taken for greater reach and cognition in space. Positioning is a biological as well as circumstantial conditioning. Spaces are places that reflect the necessity for gaining and maintaining a commandeering position. Positioning in space ultimately gets reflected in the cultural inclinations or biases. People prefer left or right preferences for turning, reading, sleeping or social interacting.

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Spaces are occupied for two main purposes, for various actions, and to keep materials and means to conduct the same. Actions are closely connected to spatial features, such as the environmental facilitations, architectonic elements amenities and facilities, and to other people. Activities relate to our being a biological entity like the metabolism, safety, security, privacy, comfort, rest, communication, expression etc. Actions are either routine or unconventional but productive or satiating. Routine activities occur with predictable spatial features, but compulsions of space size and group behaviour dynamics force unconventional settings for the actions.

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Routine purposes of spaces are day to day affairs. These are fixed to spatial segments, time schedules, environmental conditions, and utilize the same amenities, facilities, utilities. Spaces used for routine purposes reveal little that is exciting or new, because there is no need or time for exploration. Such spaces are predictable but very productive. The location related attachments are maintained, because these offer some flexibility for the spread of activities. Such segments due to their consistency and permanency are marked or named architectural units (bathing area, hay chopping area, etc.).

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Unconventional purposes of space emerge due to the compulsory and explorative shifting of activities. Such shifts occur only occasionally, because space-efficiency occurs when wait for the right occasion or search for the right location is minimal. Unusual purposes of space are realized first within the same space segment and when scheduled in the same time section or sequentially. In single room dwellings, tents and non-formal work areas the schedules and space requirements are well matched. But when one or both come under stress, unconventional means are sought or results delivered. Inconvenience of non-functional spatial or environmental features may be ignored, if group behaviour dynamics demand it.

geograph-4053627-by-Ben-BrooksbankActions occur at places from where some degree of command can be continued over a larger domain. These places are geometrically centric and environmentally favourable. Places of actions have strong cultural association, like public versus private, allowable versus sanctimonious spaces, or orientation taboos of directions.

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Casual repositioning and deferments of activities are required to relieve the tedium, and for experimentation. Activities due to their scale, required amenities, unfavourable weather or group dynamics require different space spread. Such activities need spatial shifting or time switching, or both.

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Customs and taboos result from the local perceptions and experiences, and so same activity could have different time and space setting (ethnic variations) across societies. This is apparent in satiating work like craft, than productive jobs.

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Spaces derive their purpose with the postural flexibility (capacity to gain and leave). The number of sub-processes, which can be handled without shifting, depend on the physical reach. The dependence on tools, equipments, structures, amenities, facilities though enhance the spatial purposiveness, do restrict the variations a space can offer. The expectations for the next lot of work, preempt the purposes a space offers

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To an outsider, the purposes spaces serve seems intermingled or chaotic, but real users know the order of sequencing. The processes occur in lots or streamlined movement. Spaces with streamlined purposes reflect the high efficiency through optimized postural changes, minimal location shifting, coordinated use of amenities.

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MORPHING the ARCHITECTURAL GEOMETRY

Post 671 by Gautam Shah

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Geometry

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Architectural forms are primarily of neat geometric constitution. Externally these may remain holistic, but internally evolve into a complex entity. The interior morphing compulsions are for new spaces and novel experiences, whereas the gamble on the exterior front relates to new shapes and silhouettes. Internal uses are varied and dependent on the orientation and connection to exteriors, but external side basic demands are for ethereal lightness and grounding to the gravity. On the exterior front, to sustain the neat geometry and maintain the holistic form, several compromises occur. These include lopsided connections with the outside, regimented face on all sides, irrelevant scale and form for the locality and community. Where such liberties are required, these are sought to be covered up with a monophonic applique skin. The skins could be opaque and glossy, or transparent and reflective. The skin is also included with extensive texture of architectonic elements, surface treatments and ornamentation, to camouflage the variations.

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Architecture India Temple Orchha Orchha Fort

The validation of a holistic entity, on functional, structural or social is not possible, unless wide range of compromises are accepted. Historically, large number of architectural forms start as a composition of several sub entities, but mature into a singular form. This was more plausible where buildings were designed by a master architect, and later handled by expert builder or a strong political patron. The comprehensive forms also emerge when cannons of styling or architectural orders are well established.

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The maturation to a comprehensive form has occurred on the same building during its planning, with later day improvisations, or as a style upgrade across a region. Such changes come through extensive rejuvenation of the shell or as superficial application. Often, there was no conscious effort for a comprehensive form, but rather affirm to a trending ‘style’. The style morphed forms were more unifying with new orders, thematic confirmation, repetition of patterns, axial symmetry, proportions etc. It also gave way for superfluous decorations to be added, by later generations.

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Architectural geometric forms besides being too neat and simplistic have little to offer in terms variations. So on external and internal sides, the form is transgressed. The bloated form causes spatial diversity. The geometric form is stretched outward as projections, galleries, and inward as cutouts, chowks, ducts, etc. The transgressions occur over existing openings or new ones, but all bring in more illumination and visual connections with nature. Later day structural changes are rare, as many were load-bearing entities. Morphing new things over existing structure was an easier strategy.

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The outward push or exterior transgressions of buildings have had two basic purposes. To create a comprehensive architectural entity by stabilization (wider base), stepped form, hierarchical arrangement of constituents, linking of loose elements, balancing the composition, add segments of interest on the side that are deficient, establishing connections to the site topography or neighbourhood, strengthening or recasting the style value, increase the footprint and for adding the mass.

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Building forms are pushed outward to enlarge and reconfigure the shape of interior space. The breach removes the omni present sense of enclosure of interior spaces. The outward transgressions, like verandahs extend the threshold or buffer zones. In many instances it facilitates sideways view, additional aeration and illumination. The outward push of the building mass added surface area, and space for new architectonic elements or units for pattern making.

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The outward push makes an architectural composition multifarious, but it is the inward push that changes the spatial quality and often the raison d’ etre for the adventurous undulation of the outer form. Openings created or reformed for interior space modulation, began to create a visually recognizable entity at twilight and night times against the darker setting of the town. Steeples, lanterns etc. were simultaneous elements of both the exterior and interior transgressions.

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Architectural form transgressions are profuse at roof level. The chief purpose was to pattern a silhouette. In old buildings the silhouette or the edge-line was factored in twilight hours. But after 19th C the street lights and massing of structures in the surroundings began to redefine not only the massing, but the roof edges. Roofs are re-composed with same unitary shapes being replicated at different scales and with siting positions. These at micro level include manipulation of roof edges, parapets, eaves, finials, grotesque, gargoyles pinnacles etc. At macro level, roof elements include Chhatris, belvedere, flying buttresses, spires, roof lanterns, steeples etc.

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To convert a conglomeration of bare geometric elements into a comprehensive building, several levels of changes occur. The changes include confirmation to gravity by way of a wider base for stability, localization (orientation, climate) (position of entrances in North versus South Europe), Real and perceptive structural stability, cultural validity and stake-holders accordance.

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Such a process of confirmation is consciously negated by the deconstructivist. The confirmation to gravity is post conception adjustment, wider base for stability is camouflaged behind reflective surfaces, localization does not exist, elements of real and perceptive stability are defied on the exterior side but are outrageously clumsy on the internal side, cultural validity and stake-holders accordance is given a go, for the ‘universal’ built-form. It is not architecture but a construct like a sculpture. It is an adventurous built-form offering spatial complexity for new experiences, a fresh behavioural setting, but one is expected to search for a functional utility.

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SOLIDS and VOIDS -issues for Design -13

Post 639 –by Gautam Shah

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Sculpture of a small stellated dodecahedron, as in Escher's 1952 work Gravitation

Solid is a matter of presence, and Void is absence of it. A solid marks its presence by obscuring some other elements, or at least supporting a myth, if anything is behind it. Voids mean nothingness, like a featureless terrain. Voids exist due to the lack of clarity of detail, deficient perception, peculiar framing or reduced background-foreground contrast. Solids depend on the form or shape of things, and how these are perceived. Solids are realized by the bounce back, while voids are for diffusion of energy.

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Voids and Solids -Railway Station > Pixabay Image by MichaelGaida, Dusseldorf / Germany

Solids are sensed closer and voids rearward. For visual aberration, the solids, however, may be placed at a distance, and voids closer. The solid element forms a frame or reference, submerging the scene, theme or field. And yet solid and void, are not coincidental elements in the time or space. Both could be distanced in space, or occurring as a remembrance in time. A sharper dividing edge enhances the separation between the two. A silhouette in the twilight zone is an example of such separation. Artists highlight the lead character by placing against a dark background or by accentuating outline.

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Restaurant > Max Pixel Image

A solid is perceived to be heavier in mass, as a bounded spread, and of darker colour, to add to its weight and presence, whereas the void is lesser mass, infinite extent and of lighter colour. Solids are represented as of static form, but voids are dynamic. This may be due to the tendency of liquids to form a deep vortex towards the gravity. In this sense forms like upside cones, pyramids, gorges, pits, valleys, object with receding centres, etc. represent voids. However, in Hindu philosophy void is equated to ‘Shoonya’ (literally Zero), a state of nothingness and also meaning ‘sky or Heaven’. The sky as space or ‘Avakash’ (Sanskrit-Hindi) is upward.

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Scream ART by Edvard Munch (1863-1944)

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Nasal Chowk courtyard and Panch Mukhi Hanuman temple Nepal > Flickr Image by Jorge Lascar

Voids occur as interim zones of no occupation between solids. And a void can also be the ‘negative’ space inside a solid. Such voids are formed by the enveloping surface or an enclosure by a wire-frame. Voids are scooped out on removal of solid or mass such as in processes like chasing, carving, engraving, denting, etc. Voids are perceived, like a black-hole, in absence of any definitive cognition from a location. Voids are volume seen through transparent bounding. Voids are, any space entraining, partly or thoroughly, a solid form.

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Henry Moore Yorkshire Sculpture Park > Image from > http://flickr.com/photos/66691654@Noo/100522852

Solids have characteristic form or shape. These are faceted or rounded surfaces. Faceted solids play up the voids better than rounded ones. Solids cast a shadow on the terrain or other solids, revealing their third dimension. Solids have add-ons or protruding mass created by processes like folding, shaping, forming, layering, plastering, sticking, etc.

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Fransworth House by Mies Van Der Rohe > Wikipedia image by Victor Grigas

Solids and Voids are nominally coexisting elements, but may not be coincidental in time or space. One of these could be real and the other an abstract one. Voids are perceived as spaces where a solid has been breached, but trace of pre-existent connection bridge is slightly indicated. Solids are perceived as spaces where a void has been over brimmed.

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Silhouette Woman > Pixabay Image by boop_10000 English

Void is an intervening time or space, appreciated, avoided or ignored, such as the pause in music, speech, writing, lithography or fonts. Just as several notes, as solids, form a sequence, the position of voids can form rhythm structure. If Solids denote the top and Void mean the bottom difference between the two positions is ‘peak to peak’ amplitude. In architecture, music and many other expressions, this is occasionally measurable. The voids or space that exists between matter like atoms and molecules define the attributes of materials. Such voids between solids are intrinsic, but foam materials have designed spaces.

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This is the 13 th article of 20 topics series on ISSUES for DESIGN

 

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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TASK SPECIFIC SPACES

Post 594 by Gautam Shah (14 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Spaces are multitasking facilities. Spaces have varied segments and environmentally transient locations to allow different activities to converge and separate in time and locations. A task is an identifiable work-lot for productive effort, relaxation or passing engagement. It is a work module that requires an area, specific environmental conditions, certain physiological capacities, few postural variations, set of tools and amenities, intra-personal facilitation, psychological makeup, intent and motivation. Other concerns for conducting tasks are safety, health, comfort, stability, mobility, consistency, variety, physical reach, cognition, sense of productivity, energy-conservation, ecological engagements, learning and cultural inhibitions.

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Shoe maker Karachi Pakistan > Wikipedia image

Task Recognition makes way for efficiency and productivity. Tasks need to be recognized in terms of the location, schedule and environmental conditions. Tasks are better managed, if perceived as a part of routine and sequence. The routine recognizes common factors between tasks, casual tasks are once in a while endeavour, whereas sequential tasks optimize the postural change, site shifting, usage of amenities and facilities by participating members, and adjust intense work and rest periods.

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Removal of wool from skins and combing Art by Issac Claesz van Swanenburg (1537-1614)

Routine tasks are associated with the same location, time schedule, fixed structures, amenities, facilities and environmental conditions. Routine tasks are also very dependent on group behaviour dynamics. Routine tasks require very little shifting or rescheduling and so are very productive. The location is maintained because the space segment, with some consistent qualities can expand and contract to meet the occasional needs of the individual or group. Locations for routine tasks being consistent evolve with a lot of personalization such as enrichments. Such locations, because of their consistency and permanency, become the marked spaces or architectural units (bathing area, hay chopping area, etc.). Routine tasks with acute time domination cannot generally afford the luxury of space shifting, because identical environmental conditions are difficult to set elsewhere.

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Casual tasks are tactical solutions rather results of any strategic planning. Casual tasks are ‘once in a while process’. The exigency is to accomplish the task in with whatever location conditions, and as quickly as possible. Casual tasks overcome the shortcomings of the space size, form, environmental conditions, and problems with group behaviour dynamics. Casual tasks are ‘exciting’ as these open-up new possibilities of space and time management. Casual tasks also generate new group behaviour dynamics and intra-personal relationships.

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Peasants harvesting crops Art by Pieter Brueghel 17 C Wikipedia image

Sequential tasks result from continuous work processes between equipment or participants, or both. Sequencing is required where the work steps are preceding-anteceding or back-feed or forward-feed are required. These can happen with batch or stream-line production processes. For example for cooking an efficient work triangulation is proposed, the nodes consist of basic amenities like cooking, sink and refrigerator (could change with culture and technology) and the connections denote the preparation, defrosting and storing, respectively. Similar task management techniques with robots are used for automobile assembly lines. Streamlined production plants like garments, electronics, consumer white goods recognize working of each task and the interim carryover periods and spaces.

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Fixed facility / Machine shop workstation > Wikipedia image by Rob NREC

Consistency and Variety are required in task handling. It can be achieved by doing a different task, or the same task differently. For these tasks are set in different spatial and environmental conditions and often with new intra-personal setting.

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Task Productivity is greatly affected by the work setting formed by the space and environment. Wherever and whenever there is realization that task productivity is not of the comparative societal standards, the space is reformatted to realign the amenities, facilities and architectonic elements. Here at one end the functional efficiencies are re-validated, and at the other end environmental controls are reset. New group dynamics of intra-personal relationships also upgrade the productivity.

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Learning and improvising > Wikipedia image by Artaxerxes

Learning and Improvisations are inevitable part of task handling. Tasks’ spread, effort and time of accomplishment are continuously appraised requiring minor changes in the processes. By rationalizing task spreads one reduces the physical energy of reach. Re-planning of efforts cut the number of processes. Time management achieves faster delivery. Oft repeated tasks is always the most improvised one.

00-640px-Fossil_preparation_at_the_Condon_Center_labPhysical Reach and Physical Capacities define the number of sub-tasks or processes that can be handled without requiring shifting or rescheduling. These two, in a way also determine the dependence on tools, equipment, structures, amenities, facilities for carrying out tasks. Physical reach and capacities are governed by the posture taken for the task.

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Housewives have accepted platform type of kitchen over floor level cooking in a crouching position because the later was restrictive. A corner study table allows greater reach then a straight table. An aged person prefers a straight seat with handles as it allows an easy rise up off the chair.

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Walled Kitchen

Social Factors operate at two levels: Group behaviour dynamics and the traditions, taboos, etc. Intra-personal interactions, even if nonverbal, act as a relief in task handling. Socially siting and scheduling of tasks affects the group behaviour dynamics. The tasks and group behaviour are inseparable. Customs and taboos result from the local perceptions and experiences, and so same tasks could have different time and space setting (ethnic variations) across societies. These are more apparent in craft related tasks.

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Stability and Mobility related to transient positions and postures. Architectural features, facilities, tools and equipment and other participants are used for these purposes. Mobility is required to change the orientation, position and work-ability, which in interim processes in oft-repeated tasks.

Task attachment or anchorage results from need for personal support and stability and dependence on entities like: space forms, environmental conditions, structures, amenities, facilities and enrichments.

Bhunga houses have door thresholds as the commandeering location. Huts and one room house use inside front-corner for cooking because from the door an outsider would not see what is being cooked. Kitchens have platforms (or centralized work stations) attached to the wall for accessing services. Some tasks have sanctimonious associations and so are oriented to specific directions (like Mecca, East-Sun). One of the most preferred of orientations, are the openings’ systems like door, window, or a gap, because it extends the vision and allows to command further. Orientation is a biological preference as well as cultural conditioning and accordingly people prefer left or right turning.

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Multi tasking Fixed Control panel image by (http://simplevisions.org/index.php?showingimage=48 by Yovko Lambrev)

Tasks extremely dependent on fixed amenities cannot be shifted, however, sub-tasks dependent on multiple processes needs to shift around wherever these are available. Tasks that require different space spreads for various processes and may need re-siting. Task handling efficiency derives when wait for the right occasion or search for the right location is minimal. Tasks are nominally positioned (and shifted around) within the same space segment and scheduled (and switched around) in the same time section. But some tasks are ‘shifted to other space segments or deferred in time’. Such shifts in space and switches in time occur primarily for functional needs, but often to relieve the tedium and for experimentation. Tasks are also switched to different schedules and locations to develop new intra-personal equations or group behaviour mechanisms. Tasks, which flourish within groups, may ignore time and space convenience.

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 This post forms 14 th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.

SPATIAL DISTANCING and BEHAVIOUR

Post 590 by Gautam Shah (12 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Spatial Distance means:

  1. Size of intervening space, (between people-people and people-objects),
  2. Perceptive extent of space
  3. Reach in space.

Distance is also formatted by environmental factors, social requirements, psychological make-up, nature of communication, expression, scale and use of spatial objects, and time duration of the affectation. Spatial distance affecting the behaviour is perceived to be in touching, threatening, disturbing or overwhelming. Such interpretations vary with culture.

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Spatial Distancing > Wikipedia image by Diliff

 Four distinct zones within which interpersonal transactions normally take place:

■ Intimate distance is used in intimate relationships such as for embracing, kissing, touching or whispering, and ranges from 0 to 450mm. This is an Intimate area close to the body, within which it is possible to have physical touch, non verbal communication and emotional interactions. To gain such an intimate position one needs to be familiar with the other person or coerce. One has to ensure that by being in this zone, no harm occurs to the other person. Even in the intimate space close to the body, the nature and level of intimacy is affected by the attitudes of the persons involved. Here due to the intimate closeness one senses the texture, temperature, moisture, vibrations, energy, etc.

A handshake or hug nominally has no sexual meaning in many cultures. In some cultures privacy achieved by a veil is considered retardant of intimacy. Intimacy could be a display or an expression with physical touch but with no apparent mental feelings.

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Falling in Love by Albert Schroder (1854-1939)

■ Personal distance is useful for interactions between good friends, and family members and ranges 450mm to 1200mm. The area immediate to the body marks the Personal Area. It is a zone of regulated and selective participation. Here one can reach out through projection (expression), channels of communication, physically (through body limbs) or stretch out with gadgets (walking stick, stethoscope, etc.). The intimacy is regulated, but not a private affair. One may create screens to achieve it. One can dwell in a culture or state formed of metaphysical elements (beliefs, customs, etc.), to achieve the same.

In case of relationship with objects, declaration of ownership creates such personal space. The strong association to a person is imprinted on the object’s form or position. Chief guests chair, head chair at the end of a dining table are such personal entities.

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Flight Delays > Flickr image by TheeErin

■ Social distance is for interactions between social acquaintances, and its range is from 1200mm to 3.5mt. This defines a zone of Nearness, where position and duration of the eye contact, sound pitch and olfactory sensation become important. This can be a non-committal area where personal involvement can be avoided.

As per the protocol, leaders of the two nations never share a seat, but rather occupy separate seats distanced with a small table or flower vase. Similarly deputies accompanying their leaders, are made to sit at some distance, from where they get a sense of participation but have no chance of intervention. On public platforms one intentionally uses lower sound pitch to draw attention. On very large dining table one can effectively hold conversation with members sitting on the two sides, but not across the table. In gatherings one uses differing sound pitch to reach desired distance.

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■ Public distance is mainly for public spaces or non-personal interactions, and is above 3.5mt. These are Reach Zones beyond the anthropometric ambit. One may reach-out with additional reach tools, such as PA system, projection TV, surveillance camera, high pitch sound, extra ordinary (attention catching) movement, gaudy or unusual gesture, posture or dressing. Such zones constitute very specific spaces.

Temples have marked sanctimonious areas. Performance stages have podiums. In such zones intimacy or privacy of personal nature, are not available, yet one can announce it through metaphoric presentations.

Two persons or members of a group can talk in whispers and give out an impression of intimacy in spite of the apparent distance between them. Conversely talk-discussions in high pitch could be used to present bonhomie and thereby a close-knit entity. Politicians and celebrities talk in whispers to state things that need to be made public and talk loudly things that need not be public, both ways they draw the attention. A public orator changes the pitch from normal to very low or high to draw the attention of the audience and thereby register a point.

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A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884 by Georges Seurat

SPATIAL SEPARATION AND RELATIONS

Hall (1959) has stipulated that spatial separation also serves expansive function. He made a study of the spatial relations that seem appropriate to various kinds of interactions. They vary with intimacy, culture, and depend on the possibility of eye contact.

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Picnic Kaivopuisto Helsinki > Wikipedia image by JIP at en Wikipedia

‘One can easily distinguish strangers from friends in an airport lounge. Strangers will keep a distance, taking alternate seats wherever possible. Friends tend to form clots, and families even pile one on the top of another. Total strangers will comfortably seat themselves only inches apart if the seats are back to back, but friends and the members of the family never arrange themselves in this way. Eye contact invites interaction and so is sought to the degree that intimacy already exists.’ (Hall E. T. 1959 The silent language).

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Revelry at an Inn by Havicksz Steen 1674

There are spatial zones appropriate to various types of interactions. Distances in virtual communication technology mediated interactions are likely to be different. Hall has also shown the cultural variations that South American needs much closer distance for impersonal information than a North American desire or is accustomed to.

Very close (75 to 150mm) Soft whisper, top secret sharing (lovers, mother and infant).

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Very close – love – Pixabay image by Adina Voicu

● Close (200 to 300mm) Audible whispers, very confidential talk (related persons).

● Near (300 to 500mm) Soft voice, confidential interaction (public spaces like elevators, coffeehouse, confession).

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Sharing personal details with a Doctor > Wikipedia image by Rhoda Baer

● Neutral (500 to 900mm) Soft voice, low volume, personal subject matter (bars, small restaurants, home dining, breakfast table, fast food counters, consulting rooms, reception table).

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Luncheon of the Boating party Pierre by Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Wikipedia image

● Normal (1300 to 1500mm) Full voice, impersonal information, interaction with known persons (Home drawing rooms, public dining table, Government officials, meetings of heads of states).

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Holyrood Palace Scotland Dining table with non-committal distance (Attr: W. Lloyd MacKenzie via Flickr @http://www.flickr.com/photos/saffron_blaze)

 ● Public (1700 to 2500mm) Slightly over-loud, information for others to hear, public address, seminars, teaching.

● Across room (2500 to 6000mm) Loud voice, talking to a group (Boisterous gatherings, public lounges).

● Hailing privately (6000 to 7500 mm) Indoors, Loud voice departures (neighbourhoods, across the road, noisy workplaces).

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Waving off > Wikipedia image

● Hailing public (30.00 mts) Outdoors, Declaratory, Loud voice shouting, departures and calls (Airports, Railway stations).

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The receding edge of the table allows Larry King – in Live show to adjust the distance > Wikipedia image by Billyshearso

Impersonal discussion, takes place at 1200 to 1500 mm, encroach the inner distance of this zone, and you or interlocutor will retreat. Move back from the outer distance and you can state what you wish to say by reducing the power of the interlocutor. One can move from impersonal discussion to a focussed or personal matter by reducing the distance. Alternatively change to a non committal mode by increasing the distance. TV anchors do these distance tricks on their show. For an intimate question the anchor pushes forward own body (Larry King of CNN ), but as soon as the question sinks in with the guest, the anchor withdraws not just to the nominal position, but little further backward. These distancing movements allow the guest to deliver the answer more objectively and the camera frames the guest alone for such a ‘heroic effort’. A host may intimidate the guest by doing exactly opposite of this. Smart elders and senior executives are (subconsciously) adapt to this.

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Tonight show with Jay Leno -varies the eye level contact  > Wikipedia image by Tina Hager (PD-LAYOUT; PD-USGOV-POTUS; PD-USGOV-WH.)

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This post forms 12 th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.

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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DAYLIGHTING

Post 551  by Gautam Shah

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Daylight has Four important facets, the illuminance, warmth, colour and the variability. Each of these becomes a key issue for building design, how we conduct tasks and manage comfort. The chief source of daylight is the sun. It offers direct and indirect (‘diffused’) light. The earth’s daily rotation on inclined axis and elliptical rotation around the sun offers the variations, beyond the frequent changes in sun’s own output. Sunlight at Earth’s surface is around 52 to 55% infrared (above 700 nm), 42 to 43% visible (400 to 700 nm), and 3 to 5% ultraviolet (below 400 nm) spectrum. The quality of daylight at each place and moment is distinctive, creating unique time, space and environmental combination.

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Grand Station NY The natural flood of daylight is no longer available due to  high-rise buildings in the vicinity

Daylight is the combination of all direct and indirect sunlight available outdoors during the daytime. Daylight as a natural light is considered mainly during the sunup to sundown period (and little more for the twilight periods). The amount of natural light available in any interior space is proportional to the daylight available outdoors. Daylight on an outdoor location is a combination of direct sunlight, diffuse sky radiation, and both of these as reflected from the earth and other objects. Light scattered in the atmosphere is referred to as diffused daylight. Sunlight scattered or reflected from other space objects, such as the moon is not considered daylight.

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Lighting without a window in the Pantheon Rome

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Direct sunlight is that part of solar radiation which reaches the earth’s face without being scattered. It is a directed beam or a point source of light. Direct sunlight at noon can have illuminance as high as 120,000 lux (Compared to this moon light is <1 lux). Sunlight is a warm colour light, at noon, the colour-temperatures are about 5500°k, bluish-white or ‘cool colours’, and at sunset, these are about 2700-3000°k (degrees kelvin), are yellowish-white through red or called ‘warm colours’. This is similar to heated iron, like a horseshoe, it first glows red, but on further heating it turns to orange to yellow to white and, finally blue-white.

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Colours at sunrise due to temperature differences

Daylight consists of direct sunlight and it’s reflected or diffused component. Daylight arrives or disappears when the Sun is approximately 18° below the horizon. (As the Earth takes 24hoursx60=1440 minutes to complete its orbit of approximately 360°, the 18° translates into 72 minutes period on equator and 23°N to S. For different locations and seasons the twilight time could vary). This is a twilight zone of early or late day lighting, when the Sun itself is not visible, as it is below the horizon. Twilight occurs due to the scattering of sunlight in the upper atmosphere, which in turn illuminates the lower atmosphere. This is a period when shadows are not yet present, and objects are silhouetted against gradually brightening sky. In extreme regions like the arctic where Sun may not dip below 18°, the twilight may be seen between evening to morning night period.

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Three types of twilight within 18 degree –Wikipedia image by TWCarlson

The twilight effect is important for the stretched daylight period. It defines when street and other estate security lights can be switched on or off. It defines when certain outdoor activities like jogging, and exercises can be conducted. Interior areas of a building begin to receive illumination in the twilight period (near sunset or sunrise), allowing for switching on or off the artificial illumination.

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Golden gate bridge at Twilight Wikipedia image by Brocken Inaglory

A twilight zone has been accepted as a prayer time in many religions. Egyptians wished to experience the first rays of the sun, for these obelisks like tall structures were erected near the temple entrance. The tapered top face of an obelisk was covered with shiny metal to glitter in the first sun rays of the day. Similarly Buddhist and Hindu temples used columns topped with shining metal sculptures like Dharma Chakra or Toran of metal pieces. A twilight zone is the time when cattle go out or come back from grazing, raising dust in the sky. This Go-Dhuli period is considered the most auspicious time for Hindus.

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Twilight zone is cattle returning home after grazing with dust rising (GoDhuli time) -most auspicious period for Hindus India

Direct sunlight can warm up a surface depending on its angle and duration of exposure to the sun, surface colour and texture. Direct sunlight is the brightest illuminance and can be redirected through reflection to interior spaces by means, such as opaque reflectors, mirrors, tubes etc. It is used for generating electricity through solar panels. Direct sunlight casts a shadow, whereas diffused sunlight is scattered and arrives from all directions, so does not cast a distinct shadow. But, often enough diffused light arriving through highly directional openings, casts a dull shadow.

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Skylight in Star Ferry pier Hong Kong Wikipedia image by VictoriaDFong

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Day-lighting is used for illuminating a dully lit space or object by use reflective surfaces, appropriate spatial orientation or exposure, time scheduling or through design and placement of openings. The primary intention is to save fossil and other sources of energy, better recognition, reduce the glare, adjust the contrast and for highlighting.

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Stratification of openings for Illumination and view II nd floor Children Library Bronx Library Center Wikipedia image by Julian A. Henderson

Daylight design takes into consideration the source and nature (intensity, colour) of the direct and diffused sunlight. One of the important holistic aspects of daylight design is the stratification of openings for illumination, and for view in and out. Stratification arises from the fact that daylight is arrives from the skies and grounds, both of which are strongly horizontal in effect. Daylight design is conditioned by the tasks to be handled, building form, siting, climate, architectural components and appendages, surface colours and textures in interiors, back up system of artificial illumination. At micro level design criteria include the opening size, shape, orientation, location, quality of glazing, opening treatments, position and orientation of interior components.

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