REVERING THE NATURE – Part-I Human-Plant Lineages

Post 721 by Gautam Shah

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23 Sacred Groves of Kerala KAAVU

14 Sacred Green places calm water_trek peace tranquility pxhere image 1193814Natural elements in various forms have been revered in all cultures and ages. The reverence for natural elements was due to both, fear and appreciation. Natural entities have been venerated in their original whole, parts or representative adaptations. Natural elements, like the flora and fauna were worshiped in original forms, and also by equating to human body elements like arms, hands, legs, fingers, head, face, blood, semen, etc. Similarly terrestrial features like rivers, water-bodies, stones, hills, mountains, valleys, sun, moon, planets, stars, air, winds, light, rains, clouds, etc. have awed humans by their scale and power. The life processes like birth, death, fertility or procreation, growth, rejuvenation, pain, joy, love and compassion, feelings, remembrances, etc. are happenings that roused curiosity.

12 Worshiping_nature_

In India and elsewhere, unchanging patterns of far off stars were sensed as the consistency in nature, but over that imposition of certain other patterns, like the movements of moon and other planets, showed the anomalies of seasons causing floods, dry spells, earthquakes, storms and hurricanes. Man has worshiped everything real on earth, in the skies, and their symbolic representations. These astral forms over the period became extremely abstract, with no trace of the original.

18 Akhenaton-wife-Nefertiti-rays-daughters-sun-god

There were many abstract and un-explainable happenings that were challenges, like the omens, good or bad luck, irrational punishments. These experiences were formless, but associated with contextual things and that became objects for veneration. One universal belief was living beings having a soul that transcended the various body forms. The transition of a soul from one body form to another, or to a body-less ghost was accepted as the realm of existence. Souls needed places to go to, like, the underworld, heaven, hell or ethereal, and also as many animal-human body manifestations.

19 Celestial Microcosm

The mundane body forms did not adequately express the extraordinary powers that some of the souls were endowed with. So, it perhaps began with the human body gaining the heads of other beings. These body forms were of many realms and created a bizarre mix of reality, unreality and even virtual reality. Why was the first body transmutation of the head? Was there realization that the head controls the body? The Egyptian Isis, Hindu Ganesha -Son of God Shiva, many reincarnations of Vishnu, were all with modified heads. The mutant heads expressed the anger, cruelly and grotesque expressions. Reverse mutation with body of an animal and head of human were exploited to endow strength, running speed, flying or jumping powers. Wining a fight against a monster was another such expression in Sumerians, Chinese or Indian mythologies.

20 Tree Monsters Image by wallpaperflare

Attributing qualities of a living or dead person, to plants, inanimate objects or natural phenomena, is a form of Animism. It is perhaps, the most ancient form of worship. In many societies totems or emblems part of animism. In India Kalpa-Vriksha, also known as kalpataru, kalpadruma or kalpapādapa, is a wish-fulfilling divine tree. Animism perceives all natural things as ‘animated and alive’. All objects, places and creatures, and even words, sounds, smells and other sensorial expressions have spiritual significance.

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24 Tree of Life God and Goddess From Sumer around 2050–1950 BC Wikipedia Image

In ancient periods of Europe, trees or especially groves of yew and oak were objects or places of worship. A sacred grove, a natural holy place, is known as alka (Lithuanian) and elks (Latvian). In Kerala, India sacred groves are known as ‘Kavu’, and Devrai (gods’ forest) in hilly range -Ghats of Western India. Such clusters have associated water bodies such as rivulet or pond and a presiding animistic deity (often a serpent or cobra -Naag Dev).

1 Chandod Sacred Grove

2 Sacred Groves ART by Arnold Böcklin

Trees have been worshiped both as Male and Female forms, and through the parts like the trunk, branches, twigs and sap representing the human arms, fingers, blood etc. Trees have been symbols of rebirth, cycle of growth in spring, fertility or procreation. The trees were associated with death and rebirth, because of their capacity to regrow from almost dried and dead condition.

5 OSUN OSOGBO

While Muslims (Arabs and Bedouins) consider sacred trees especially as an abode of righteous figures’ (Wellis’) souls or as having a connection to their graves, the Druze relates sacred trees especially to the events or deeds in the lives of prophets and religious leaders’

‘According to the Druze religion only people like prophets could be ‘sacred; physical objects like, trees may be regarded only as ‘blessed’. A plant species all of whose specimens, are worshiped owing to religious tradition (regardless the exact background) has to be treated as ‘holy. Amots Dafni

(from-https://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-4269-2-26).

10 pagan-3892831_1280

The term Druid, possibly derives from the Celtic word for oak. Druids were the ceremony masters, who organized worship, sacrifices, divination, and judicial procedures at Oak groves. Many religions, like Christianity and Islam were very suspicious of the tree worship, but had to concur with the public belief that groves were sacred places of the ghosts. First public gatherings and later the churches, though first occurred in such groves. Earlier saints were buried under already accepted sacred trees. Later the saint’s graves under a tree became a beatified place. With larger buildings, Kings and high priests were buried inside the churches. The Trees and the graves seem to have usurped each others position.

21 Cult of Druids The Druids; or the conversion of the Britons to Christianity'. Engraving by S.F. Ravenet, 1752,Druids were banned by the Roman government from 1st C AD., as they opposed the coming of Christianity. It was then said that ‘Jesus’ was ‘better than a prophet, more knowledgeable than every Druid, a king who was a bishop and a complete sage’. With Christianity, the focus on trees changed fromrebirth’ to ‘resurrection‘. Christianity.

16 Tree Sucking Egyptian Deities

Osiris was the green skinned deity of vegetation, agriculture, fertility, afterlife, death and resurrection. Osiris was in charge of the underworld of the dead. The Hebrew word for ‘die’ is used only in relation to the death of a person or animals, but not for plants. Former two have the breath of life. In Arab folklore, sacred trees are haunted by Jinn. In many folk-lores, trees were homes of spirits and where the deceased find blissful repose. Trees are places where sick and dying are placed for blessings. Objects like wreaths, ribbons, threads or rags are hung on trees for sick humans, livestock, or for good luck.

Folk Village Wish Korean Folk Village

8 Holy Threads 4400391261_f3583b3fe0_c

The World Tree, Cosmic Tree or Tree of Life is a conceptual form that exists in many cultures of the world. It occurs as description and also as a mystical image. One of the oldest records of the World Tree is of Babylonia (about 3-4 Millennium BC). Such trees have an image with foliage (heaven), trunk (earth) and roots (underworld) and a spatial presence (position and metaphysical imagery). The position was the axis Mundi (axis of Earth’s rotation between the celestial poles) and the imagery that connected the heaven, earth, and underworld (or past, present and future).

7 Kalpataru,_Kinnara-Kinnari,_Apsara-Devata,_Pawon_TempleIn Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, ‘Kalpa-Vriksha or Kalpataru’ is a wish-fulfilling divine tree, and also associated as the tree of knowledge. The Vedic Aranyani, the protector goddess of the forest is a daughter of Shiv and Parvati, who was raised by Kalpa-Vriksha. VanaDevi is worshiped in rural India by Hindus as VanaChandi, and BonBibi (Bon=jungle) by Muslims in Sunderbans (West Bengal) India. In Hinduism, the Goddess Vrinda (holy basil plant =Tulsi in India) was blessed by God Krishna. Shakambari, the mother of all vegetation, is a form of Goddess Durga. She represents nine plants of medicinal benefits. Buddha and Mahavira (Jain) attained wisdom and salvation under trees (respectively the pipal and sal).

9 Banyantree

25 Adam-Eve and the Tree httpspixabay.comphotosbremen-historic-center-historically-4689974

22 Japanese Tree Spirit Kodama from the Gazu Hyakki Yakō

17 Nils_Asplund_-_Heimdal

Next Article in this series > REVERING THE NATURE – Part-II Green Man

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DEPTH and DISTANCE PERCEPTION -Issues of Design 33

Post 720 by Gautam Shah

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11 trier_porta_negra_left_outside_outsider_feeling_melancholy-531710.jpg!d

Depth is ‘the most existential dimension’. It is the dimension of dimensions, most inevitable experience of the world and being. Merleau-Ponty (1968) considers depth to be the primary spatiality that grounds experiences of the world. Depth designates the primary dimension that defines the distance between one’s self and other things. In this sense the depth allows the ‘coexistence’.

4 lamp-chandelier-light-souvenir-preview

Depth is often considered as the third measure. Width and Length, both are parallel to the gravity, but depth is usually vertical. Depth is measured from a high to a lower point or from front to back side. The bottom point of depth is the gravity. Depth and Height are synonymous, except that Depth is downward and Height is upward. Other terms for depth include altitude, elevation, datum, thickness, etc. Depth relates to a point, that is less accessible or fathomable, like depth of water, drawer, field or someone’s feeling. Depth differentiates the front from the the background and so reflects the intensity.

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Depth gives an ‘additional dimension to a two-dimensional (Width and Length) representation, and revels other qualities of the field’. The perception of depth, indicates information like the position of the perceiver, target and the mediating context. Depth is the distance between one’s self and other things, even, if the later are unreal. Distance gives a wider perspective, but Depth offers better or detailed insight.

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Depth of measurable Distance, implies a Direction, which in turn reflect concentration, assimilation, densification and comprehension. Depth nominally relates orientation towards the Gravity. But, we say looking inside the space though it is up and away from our gravity. Similarly, we say viewing deep inside the microscope or telescope. The measure of deepness is down or inwards, like a deep place, deep waters, deep winter, etc. Emotionally depth means abstruseness, extent of sagacity and penetration. Depth of expression have intensity, density, complexity, strength and seriousness.

3 tunnen-shaft-depth-deep-people-hiking

Visual depth defines the position of objects by connecting and separating them in space. Audio depth has many facets, the sound could be of high or low pitch, direct or reverberated. Depth of smell and Taste, both reflect the intensity of experience. Tactile Depth is the reach of experience to subcutaneous level. Depth is a measure, perceived through the sensorial faculties.

6 geograph-1489323-by-Hywel-Williams

The presence of dual (two eyes-ears) or multi-nodal (touch) perceptions define the direction, to make the depth-measure more accurate. The movement of eyes and the ability to shift the focus create a sense of visual and aural perspective. Here the far-off objects become duller and the intervening distances proportionately change.

1 perspective-3609052_960_720

Depth perception leads to judgement of distance. Depth constitutes a perceptual horizon that places the body with other things, as well as the world, such ‘interconnection is indispensable to understanding of the depth’.

9 Calgary_Tower,_Calgary,_Alberta,_Canada_-glass_floor-20June2010

Depth and Distance are different. Distance is sensed between two objects, as a multi sensorial experience and also as a contextual phenomena. Depth offers the distance and sense of volume. Distance is between two objects, and for that both the objects need to be experienced simultaneously, or alternatively bridged through several mediating things like time delay (motion picture frames) and spatial proximity, through convergence, divergence and interventions. Depth judgements can be personal, but the Distance, once measured is real. Distance manifests as remoteness or work-reach.

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12 coronavirus-distances-distance-hands-metro-keep-the-distances-love-love-at-a-distance

All depth perceptions are distinguished by the primary experience of third dimension, followed by delayed or spaced out realizations of the ‘after-effects like traces, shadows, context, front-back, etc. The visual shadows occur mainly due to illumination and recognition of tint-hue of the colour. The depth of visual shadows formed with illumination, have two qualities, the orientation (angle) and the intensity (degree of brightness). Through the phenomenon of visual perception, the other concealed depth aspects of objects emerge. Effects of surface illumination are visually perceived as change in the brightness, intensity of colour and texture. The depth dimension continuously changes, yet over a period with persistent exposure and past experiences, together, form a reliable measure.

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The depth, is the realization of spatiality of objects and the realm between objects. The depth and space are synonymous. A space exists for the person, where the variable measures of depth form a dynamic and subjective experience. So depth is not a Euclidean definition or element geometrical space, but a personal rapport with the world.

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This is the 33rd article (in continuation of old series -new beginning) on ISSUES of DESIGN.

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ZONING BUILT SPACES -PERIPHERAL SPACES

Post 717 by Gautam Shah

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9 Saint_Joseph_Higher_Secondary_School_-_North_building

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

2 people-gathering-inside-building

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

3 cathedral-interior

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

10 channel-restaurant-dining-tables-menu-lonely-alone-venice

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

1-Delhi_underground_metro_station

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

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

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

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

14 Yoyogi_national_1st_gymnasium_20120103

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

5 Interior_of_Christchurch_Art_Gallery,_New_Zealand_2

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

7 cooking-kitchen-process-restaurant-preview

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

11 Family_watching_television_1958

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

6 -Interior_of_a_Chinookan_plankhouse

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

12 Quad_Monitor_Music_Workstation

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

13 new-york-stock-exchange

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

8 chefs-kitchen-luxury-home-granite-counter-tops-parkland-thumb

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716 ARTICLES on MINIMALISM in DESIGN

Post 716 by Gautam Shah

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Minimalism

ARTICLES on MINIMALISM in DESIGN -Gautam Shah

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

#Brevity, #Abstractions, #Reductionism

192 MINIMALISM in DESIGN

275 BREVITY in DESIGN EXPRESSION

316 APARIGRAHA and MINIMALISM

455 FUNCTIONALISM in DESIGN

595 ABSTRACTION for COMMUNICATION

649 ANEKANTAVADA

 

192 MINIMALISM in DESIGN

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

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

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

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

275 BREVITY in DESIGN EXPRESSION

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

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

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

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

316 APARIGRAHA and MINIMALISM

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

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

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

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

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

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

455 FUNCTIONALISM in DESIGN

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

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

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

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

595 ABSTRACTION for COMMUNICATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

640 ABSTRACTION in ART

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

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

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

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

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

649 ANEKANTAVADA

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

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

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

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

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

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CORNERS and Public Spaces

Post 696 –by Gautam Shah

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This is the 4 th article of series: ‘CORNERS’.

1 Aerial_photo_Dresden_re-construction_of_the_Church_of_Our_Lady_Frauenkirche_photo_2008_Wolfgang_Pehlemann_Wiesbaden_Germany_HSBD4382

Public spaces turn impromptu arenas with political, social and cultural interest, accompanied by some economic activities. The spaces manifest as gathering places, where events recur on specific days like full-moon days, low tide days, Sundays or annual days. Such places occur with some preexisting location cues like a built-form or a natural feature. A gathering place is the starting element of a larger concept of a social space. Defined passageways or casual pathways feed these places. The ending faces of such feed points, give unique and lasting shape to the form. The architectural contour may take ages to evolve on its own, or is remastered for a style by a ruler or plutocrat. In both the cases the essence of social place and shape of the form are sustained.

2 Piata_Sfatului,_Brasov,_Romania_-_panoramio

The words plaza, place and piazza have the same Greek origin, with plaza being the Spanish adaption, place in French, and piazza the Italian one.

3 La piazza vista dalla Torre Grossa Wikipedia Image by Luca Aless

4 France Sarlat La Caneda by Dennis33053

Public spaces subsist on enclosures. Enclosures occur first by barriers of natural elements like terrestrial masses, water bodies, edges of terrain contours, silhouettes. Public spaces are realized as the physical reach, limits of power or sanctimony and the sensorial perceptibility. The public spaces are delineated by the facade planes and mass of the built objects. Facades’ perimeter becomes extensively lineated when the space is multi-angular, and the connecting passages do not abut at right angles. Compared to these, variations in ‘squared public spaces’ are too few, flat and uninteresting from any spatial position and at any time of the day. The multi cornered irregularly, shaped public spaces create vivid spaces. But straight roads converted into public or pedestrian space just by eliminating the vehicular traffic create a static space.

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Squared public space is rarely a natural development. The improvisations touch only the main level, but other floors continue to operate with their unrelated businesses. The public is expected to get the relief of participation by coming here out of their ghettos. The space making barriers of plants and shrubs, architectural contours, or street occupations like stalls or fountains and furniture, forge the visual depth and physical reach, but behind it, the enclosures of the facades remain unchanged. Squared architectural public spaces remain sterile entities, in spite of occupational interventions.

Different Illumination Conditions Change Functional and Visual character

The enclosures of public spaces occur by a mix of circumstances and situations. The variations of sunny and shadowed sections through the day and across the seasons are recurrent, and so taken for granted. But sunny and shadowed zones affect the functional spread, and define the usage schedules of public spaces. These also promote the use of moderating devices like awnings and screens, which in turn create vibrant edges. The varying sunlight brightens up the facades, more so when these are oriented at acute angles. The daylight variations in morning haze and in evening twilight the change the perception. The edges recede or advance, and add new effects of diffused or enhanced silhouettes. Night illumination of public spaces was once spotty, but by contrast highlighted the warmly lit interiors. Modern outdoor illumination of the floor and facades transform the spatial definitions. At night the unseen undulations, angles, depths, reach of interiors, scattered elements of space, all reveal new formations.

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The environmental variations in ‘squared public spaces’ are prosaic and uninteresting, because the spaces, facades remain constant. The illumination is without any variation and consistent from all locations. Lack of angles in the space fail to create dark-light contrasts. There are few surprises. What has been formatted on the ground was perceived through as a ‘site-plan’ or site-model’, always viewed from above. Nowadays ‘walk-throughs’ as 3D modelling are attempted, yet the comprehension is extremely narrow, selective and subjective. The squared public spaces remain naive ‘compositions of horizontal and vertical surfaces which create volumes of vacancy’.

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11 Palacio de Bellas Artes, preeminent fine arts hall in Mexico, Fore areas of Important Public buildings become spaces of gathering Wikipedia Image by ChaneekPhotography

Public spaces are of three basic types: naturally evolved, remastered with buildings or landscape design, and freshly planned. The considerations are visual edges, skyline or silhouettes, spatial interventions through elemental positioning, barriers, scaling, mastering patterns, perspectives, etc. But corners are rarely ‘designed or exploited’, yet they are omnipresent and unassailable. Corners remain, characteristic essence of the space.

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The enclosures, of long walls facades, make the area finite. But the feed streets or lanes serve as reference points and with their depth increase the perimeter. The corners at feed points are inclusive, because here the change is noted, but open to negotiation. The sited elements do not form the public space, but the movement of light, shadows, sources, strengths and spread of illumination, people moving around perceiving the changing orientation of objects, visual changes in colour, texture and scale, all give a temporal scale.

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grand place Brussels

In this respect, Cullen made a valuable distinction between ‘enclosure’ and ‘closure’. Enclosure, he argued, provided a complete ‘private world’ that is inward -looking, static and self-sufficient. Closure, by contrast involved the division of the urban environment into a series of visually digestible and coherent ‘episodes’ retaining a sense of progression.

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Vertical enclosing elements strongly scale the open spaces. The difference is acutely realized when older open spaces begin to be surrounded by tall structures. It is also true that denser and taller surroundings provide more footsteps. Public buildings like places of religion, court of law, or government offices, older monuments with large fore-spaces are compressed by taller surroundings.

Light Up Public Square

In public spaces, a dramatic change is experienced when architecture and environment, together differentiate the exterior versus the interior. The realization is spatially extreme and temporally sudden, in terms of scale, temperature, and illumination. It is something akin to what Peter Zumthor has described, the transition as an incredible sense of place, an unbelievable feeling of concentration. We suddenly become aware of being enclosed, of something enveloping us, keeping us together, [and] holding us.” Crossing the threshold from outside to inside bring the sudden feeling of being confined, and in reverse direction it is a relief. The thresholds are well marked and easily sensed, though some allow a slowed transition.

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In Western India, areas beyond the Fort gates of towns and cities are impromptu public spaces, formed by traders and others who have no visitation rights. But the gate leads to narrow road branching out at a point called ‘Chakla’. Chakla is a smaller scale public space as commercial hub for the insiders. It was also socially safer.

8 Chakla and Gates Ahmedabad 1855

Public spaces are more envisioned by the spread of the floor. The floors unless contoured and with patterned colour and textures, do not offer any divisions. The floor patterns have been explored as coalescing and regimenting factor. The imposed geometry of the pattern connects diverse and askew elements in the open space. Floorings are free flow or with bounding the perimeter, but are not the physical edges. Other important elements of floor occupation are the shadows of sunlight and night illumination. Both of these, cast visual and functional zones.

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477 AGORA and FORUM -as public spaces

The terms public space or gathering place is often used for large spaces that are mere cross road junctions. The surrounding areas have high commercial activity. The users are business visitors, tourists or commuters, but no local users. The movements are of Two types: One set is between adjacent feed points generating peripheral traffic, and other consists of cross traffic dividing the space into various sections. The First, creates impinging circumferential pressure on near by buildings, whereas the Second, scales the space, till the density and intensity are low remains low, giving it a perception of ‘manageable zones’.

19 Urban connection with Neighbourhoods or Tourist Traffic Puerta_del_Sol_(Madrid)_04

Distinct urban connections are desired for public places, but not ones that create the impinging circumferential pressures or divide the space into various sections. The simpleton urban design strategy is to devise ‘traffic free spaces’ by blocking and diverting the movement. The plan should be to favour the local residents over the business visitors, tourists and commuters. In many of the public spaces the local residents are shifted out in favour of non resident visitors.

26 Trafalgar Square Public area London Rodrigo Silva

‘Piazzas feel like being in human-scaled outdoor rooms; very large courtyards, not like the aforementioned parking, cars and sometimes skyscrapers that are associated with plazas’.

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MASKING and FRAMING of OPENINGS

Post 695 –by Gautam Shah

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Glass Building Glass Dome Berlin Reichstag Dome

Masking and Framing of openings, have many diverse purposes but both are substantiated by their edges. Openings have their own definitive closed ended edges, but masking and framing redefines these many times with open-ended edges. The edges, not only isolate a segment of the opening, but always make the view more emphatic and relevant. The edges of the mask, such as, sharp, frayed, fuzzy, angular, curvilinear, etc. create interference, but offer qualitative change. The edges of the frames, such as, inward or outward chamferring, angular or ‘stream-lined’ rounded profiles, strongly vertical or horizontal emphasis, etc. provide a sense of enclosure. Masking and Framing, have some overlapping functions and serve complementary functions.

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Masking and Framing, have been elements of imposition to alter the conditions of the openings. Both have a secondary role of structural support. The structural support becomes real when these are integrated with the openings’ system. But the treatments may remain superfluous impositions. Such impositions include LED insertion within the glazing, or over the surface projection of images (like speech readers used by anchors). Masking and Framing, are made antithetical. These are now eliminated or diffused for simplicity, clarity, minimalism and even delusion.

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Masking has to be a smaller entity than the opening, for it to be meaningful. Masking is inhibiting or a restrictive element that resizes the opening and so controls the view, passage, effects of environment. Masking is both, planned and incidental. Planned masking offer superior conditions and perception, whereas incidental masking has surprises and new lessons. Openings are intentionally masked by architectural elements, items of furniture and furnishings, occupants. Openings get incidentally masked by growth of plants and trees, neighbouring buildings and environmental conditions.

Old Home Window Glass Architecture Within

The sizes of openings are affected by the depth aspect. Visual depth induces a perspective view. Wherever the sides are visible, add to the extent of a visual surface, and creating a frame within frame view. Imposed architectonic elements shield the opening with shadows that are more articulated than the original shadow casting elements. This overshadowing is a type of masking, reducing the apparent size opening. Similar effect occurs with deep-set and square-edged openings.

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The framing, however, became really dominant with the chamferred sides, sills, ledges and lintel bottoms. The chamferring of edges enhances the depth aspect of the opening. It adds to the extent of a visual surface, and creating a frame within frame view. The chamferring increases the view of exterior from inside, and if on inside face, it adds to perceptual illumination.

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Framing of opening mainly occurs as a surround element. But the surrounds are rather too thin as jambs, and so need casing and architraves for emphasis. Reshaping of openings in the frontal plane was tried with pointed arches in Gothic period. Real reshaping of the openings and curvilinear bending was tried out in the Baroque and Rococo architecture. With the reshaping and curvilinear bending of the openings, the architectural walls were also reformatted.

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In Art Nouveau style, the openings were reshaped, and to heighten that effect, masking grills were used to de-form the rectangularity. The openings, with some restrains, and the grills, with complete abundance, used free flowing asymmetrical forms. To this vocabulary, glass patterns by way of frosting, etching, grinding and stained colouring were added.

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Early glass for windows was produced as cut bottom of a bulb or cylinder. These had residual ripple patterns, imparting a fuzzy view. The defect was subdued by masking it with translucent sheer curtains and by framing it with a grid of muntins and mullions as in Colonial sash windows.

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High quality modern glass has extra ordinary surface gloss, making it a mirror like a surface. The glossy glass if placed on the edge without sun-shading reflects the surroundings, and also reflecting sunlight as bounce-back, causing a nuisance to neighbouring properties and blinding with the glare the moving vehicles. This is now being controlled through building regulations. The solutions are masking the glass with polymer films or polychrome treatments.

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Openings are occluded by stationary and mobile objects that manifest on the inside and outside. Objects occluding a brightly lit opening are seen as silhouette or outline. A person sited against an opening can see gestures of others, but in reverse direction others fail to perceive the expressions and ignore him/her. For correct modelling some illumination or reflections from other sides are required. But this can also happen if the object has multiple planes oriented differently. The scale of occluding objects is its absolute size and relatively the distance from the opening as well as the perceiver.

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Framing and Masking, have relevance of nearness. The framing becomes irrelevant at closer distance. Masking for visual screening is more affective at a distance, but for illumination control, it is affective at all distances.

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WALL STRUCTURES

Post 682 –by Gautam Shah

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Wall structures have been prime structure for community purposes like, flood protection, irrigation, defense, terrain contouring and against erosion of land. These, perhaps preceded the walls erected for construction of dwellings. The builders from ancient times, were innately aware of the difference between a wall carrying side thrusts and bearing vertical loads. And accordingly the forms and techniques of constructions were different. The walls carrying side thrusts followed the natural angle of repose (the steepest angles at which a sloping surface is formed of loose material remains stable). The walls carrying vertical loads were designed with concern for lateral stability, and to a lesser extent worry about load bearing capacity.

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The idea of a column, as a ‘zero-sized’ wall, (like the Stonehenge) and of pillars (obelisks) may have come from tree trunks. Wood scaffolds were used for painting tall cave walls and ceilings. A series of props or poles, were used as piles or spikes for quicker formation of linear structures, such as in under-water constructions, floods, wet soils, or support against sand like loose soils.

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Earthen Wall structures for embankments or dams, for water flow regulation, storage, prevention of land erosion, against flooding, access-way (road) construction, for irrigation or navigation channels were constructed by combination of deposition or cutting-dressing. But the skill rested in exploiting the existing contours of the lands. Such structures were large and affected the entire community. For participation of large number of people, clear perception of the project and its benefit was necessary. It is apparent that such projects were executed during certain season. These were continuing efforts as added upon and improvised by several generations. Such lasting efforts can occur in societies that are politically and socially stable.

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Other walls were erected in the form of city-town walls to protect the community, and monumental structures related to burial facilities. These walls due to their extent gave impression of monumentality, and were gravity-stable and invincible forms against the invaders or marauders. Walls defining passageways are for land mass retention and ceremonial demarcation of walkways. Town walls and monumental walls, both were not ‘load-bearing’ structures. Both also related to access by large number of people, often in processions. The inevitable entry point was well marked in scale and position-location.

16 Passage tomb of La Hougue Bie by © Copyright Bob Embleton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Protective walls were often constructed as tall fences. These were made insurmountable by various means like an enhancement of height-width factors. Width was increased by forming a ditch on the face of the wall, and height was added by constructing the wall over a natural steep edge of terrain. City walls in some areas were constructed of tree trunks or wood lattices.

5 Pallisade like fence as a wall against calalry United States History Civil War, 1861-1865

Palisade in Celtic village Wikipedia image by Zureks

A palisade, was a defensive fence (also called a stake-wall or paling) formed around the military camps by Greeks and Romans. It is formed of wood stakes or tree trunks placed in a line. A groyne is a similar, but low height wall structure, a hydraulic entity for interrupting the free flow of water and restricts the movement of soil-sediments from coastal area.

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A levee, dike, dyke, ditch, embankment, flood-bank or stop-bank, are naturally occurring long ridges or artificially constructed walls to regulate water. These are usually of stone and earth, and follow the course of a river. Levees and other structure require constant care by organized society. Some of the earliest levees were constructed by the Indus Valley Civilization (2600 BC), Egyptians to manage the floods of river Nile, in Mesopotamia and China. The word Levee or F. Lever, literally means ‘to raise’.

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The Greek geographer Pytheas noted in 325 BC, that ‘more people died in the struggle against water than in the struggle against men’.

The word Dyke (dijk) indicates, both trench and bank for water management. The word Ditch derives from dic, dick or dig, meaning to digging a trench and raise the banks with the excavated soil. Such earthworks acted as horizontal walling to deepen water channels, enhance the flow-rate and water carrying capacity. The water channel shaping by the side walling structures provided reliable lanes for waterways. These wall structures were formed to reduce the erosion by water flows, waves and winds.

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The first dikes and water control structures were built and maintained by those directly benefiting from them, mostly farmers. As the structures got more extensive and complex councils were formed from people with a common interest in the control of water levels on their land and so the first water boards began to emerge. These often controlled only a small area, a single polder or dike. Later they merged or an overall organization was formed when different water boards had conflicting interests. The original water boards differed much from each other in the organization, power, and area that they managed. The differences were often regional and were dictated by differing circumstances, whether they had to defend a sea dike against a storm surge or keep the water level in a polder within bounds. In the middle of the 20th century there were about 2,700 water control boards. After many mergers, there are currently 27 water boards left. Water boards hold separate elections, levy taxes, and function independently from other government bodies. -Flood control in the Netherlands Wikipedia

Mycenaean city walls

City walls are elaborate ‘fencing structures built from stronger materials to fortify a territory. The fort walls were symbols of power, so the scale was grandiose. These walls were planned at most select location, adding upon whatever natural defence features were available. Appropriateness of the site also rested on logistics of supply, of which food-fodder and drinking water, even during seizure condition, was very important. Forts housed a populated community and to sustain it, also included structures for defense preparedness and for offense capacity like ditches, gates, embankments, watchtowers, crenelation, etc.

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A moat is a ditch or long pit around a settlement with or without a fence or fortification. Moats were created by reforming the existing terrain features, or dug as a new one. Fortified structures, like castles were once sited over difficult terrains, where some natural features such as hills, elevated lands or rocky landscapes were available for some protection. Moats were additional defence provisions, formed at vulnerable spots. The difficult terrains, however, make it difficult to reform existing terrain, or excavate a new trench. Digging a moat was not only labourious, but the management of the excavated material equally difficult. The excavated stuff was used to back support the fort walls, or raise the level of internal grounds. Moats were formed along with construction of fort walls.

Linear Defense wall GorganWall

Some of the earliest defensive walls were linear formations and not any surrounding or enveloping forts. These were long barrier walls with open ends or terminating into hillock or large water body. These linear walls marked a territorial edge or boundary of the kingdom. Such edge walls had to be very extensive to be effective.

Sumerian King Shulgi of Ur, 2038 BC., built a wall that was 250 Kms long, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, to keep the invading Amorites out of Sumerian lands. Great Wall of Gorgan (restored and renovated by the Sasanian Persians in the 5th or 6th C) was 195 Kms long, and included more than thirty forts along its length. Great Wall of China was built as several small independent units, possibly first at vulnerable points, which were ultimately joined together during the Ming Era. It was as a freestanding regional scale defensive structure. Similarly the Anastasian wall (the Long Walls of Thrace) of the Byzantine Empire (469 C) located in modern Turkey was also not anchored at either end to any terminus. All such walls proved to be ineffectual as enemy army marched around the ends. The most known wall structure, Hadrian’s wall of Britain was built by Roman Emperor Hadrian (122 AD) to prevent frequent incursions.

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MORPHING the ARCHITECTURAL GEOMETRY

Post 671 by Gautam Shah

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640px-Cuba_habana_vieja_casa_de_simon_bolivar

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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Basilica_of_St._Procopius_in_Třebíč,_Angled_Romanesque_arches,_165275

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.

640px-Trinity_Church,_Boston,_Massachusetts_-_front_oblique_view

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.

640px-Victoria_Memorial_Hall,kolkata

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.

Chambord_Castle_Northwest_facade

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.

Yale-Art-and-Architecture-Building-Rudolph-Hall-New-Haven-Connecticut-Apr-2014

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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ARCHITECTURAL vs COMPUTER WINDOWS

Post 668 by Gautam Shah

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The first independent version of Microsoft Windows, version 1.0, was released on 20 November 1985. It was originally going to be called Interface Manager, but Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the company that the name, Windows was more appropriate.

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And this was the beginning of unlimited harassment to all architects (and even lay persons), first from the Encyclopaedias and later by search engines. This happened when a nominal word of day to day use, became almost an exclusive intellectual property. Many of the Microsoft ‘windows’ features were already tried out by Apple computers.

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The ‘Windows’ was (or ‘were’, no grammar Nazis have raised the issue) was an opening to look into data. There was earlier a nearly invisible dot as the command ‘prompt’ to interact in dBase and other programme, and it never prompted anything except that the entered command is not right.

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Windows_2.0

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But here the ‘computer industry’ (Microsoft, Macintosh or some less known entity) was offering an Icon like a door within a door. The icons or windows were displayed as tiled on the screen, that is, they could not overlap or overlie another, but icons interacted with others in time and space. There were active and latent icons in terms of time reference. ‘Spatially the icons on a screen were more relevant then others that were not seen’. The icons were perceived to be windows or peep holes that allowed one to see through it.

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For many, the icons are still like the 36th Chamber of Shaolin. One is aware that there is something of higher order inside, but too scared to cross over. The unceasing efforts are to form 36th chamber where ordinary people can enter and learn the “art of self-defense.

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In the movie 36th Chamber of Shaolin, “San Te wants to create a new chamber where he can train ordinary people in the basics of Kung fu so they can defend themselves against their oppressors, the temple officially banishes him in a surreptitious way to allow him to carry out his mission. He returns to the outside world, namely to his hometown, and assists the people.”

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This was a view in a window (like a shop front display), but, it was destined to become (with internet) an architectural entity for viewing out, whatever is happening in the world. The earlier version of Windows was little better than dBase like programmes where the software creator and user both were instilled with unspecified fear ‘do not push a wrong key’. The user was perceived to be an alien, and better remain outside.

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The computers gradually became Janus’s gateway (Janus -a dual headed God of antiquity) with an interior world and an exterior cosmos. This was a virtual window or rather an entire building of its own, which could be shifted around, pushed away to obscurity, shrunk or enlarged.

Statue_of_Janus_傑纳士像_-_panoramio

Some of the basic functions of a computer system have been storage, processing power and programmes. Now one more is added, the communication or linkage. With live linkage one can source storage (cloud), computing power (parallel server processing) and dynamic programmes (in place of static loads). These make for a ‘home’ out of an architectural ‘house’, where the opening systems (‘windows’ or any other) make connections. So Microsoft windows may need to be renamed “Doors”, as doors are more functional (for passage, delivery and dispatch) than any other openings’ systems.

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The smart ‘Home’ (computer or such devices) will need lot more individualization not through configuration efforts but through commonly shared (floating around) intelligence. These include the languages, intonation, choices, history of preferences, behavioural characteristics, biological patterns and capacities.

Multi-level ghorfas, as seen at Ksar Ouled Soltane in southern Tunisia..

MANIFESTATIONS of DOOR

Post 663 –by Gautam Shah

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Sequence of Doors Temple of Ramses III

A gap, portal or doorway, door-frame and the shutter, have an individual as well as combinative presence. Presence of one or many in physical, hyper-real or allegorical sense manifests the opening system.

Big Data Internet Virtual Reality Future

Door symbolism: A symbolic door is a representation of the nominal door or its important components or essential qualities. Door symbols are abstracted as well as scaled versions. Metaphors are also used to present the physical characteristics, crucial functions, essential qualities and historical associations of the doors. Doors denote a break and so the symbolic presentations are used to indicate the breach-able points or weak spots. In electrical circuit diagrams and pipe layout drawings the door symbols are used to denote a break, open-position or a switch. In communication field a door stands for connectivity with the world so a ‘gateway’ is where traffic converges and redistributes.

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A physical door requires a real gap and a real shutter. The shutters open, close or take up many intermediate positions. Physical doors, however have abstract adornments or attachments that give a deceptive character to the door and belie their reality.

Nara Narayana panel on the eastern wall of the Vishnu temple

A nonphysical door may not have an opening to transit, though the portals distinctively mark the place of opening. A nonphysical door could be unreal or metaphoric. Communication gateways are such doors.

Technology Antenna Radio Satellite Communication

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Notional doors: Over the years, in our minds, a shutter has become so strongly associated as the door that its presence or even notional indication suffices for the opening to be evident. ‘A shutter like configuration, over a barrier satisfies our expectation that there is a way out or in.’ The notional or representational doors, such as the painted doors on Egyptian tomb walls do not take one anywhere, but do satisfy the spiritual needs as an entryway to the other world. Such doors, drawn or carved are of real-functional size as well as of debased scale.

This blind door at Banteay Srei is flanked by colonettes.

A pseudo door exists with inadequate or no opening system. The door has no real gap for transit, no perceptible doorway, or there is inadequate shutter system. The prehensions for a door are at many levels including: functional, perception, size and scale. Such doors also exist without any apparent barrier system.

Invisible Gate that trigger a Door

Louvre the interior of the the door, places monuments.

A virtual door does not reveal itself physically, but otherwise it is functionally as effective. Modern industrial plants, estates and institutional campuses have ‘open’ gaps or invisible doors with control systems that activate a ‘shutter’ (a control system) when required. Few make-believe door frames or markers are placed to indicate the position and presence of such monitoring devices. Metal detectors’ door frames at airports and public spaces, colour coded markings on the floors, are examples of these.

Many invisible security gate features -Gatehouses to the Deep Water Harbour Wikipedia Image by CaribDigita

Make-believe doors are created to denote an entrance or boundary of an ethereal world. Stage side-wings become exit-entry points. An actor, to enact a departure from the realm, at a certain point on the stage, ceases to act or shows the backside of the body. Door frames standing in a wide terrain or the gate structure such as the Japanese Torii gates standing in wide stretch of water is an entrance.

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Heritage Symbol Great Torii Of Miyajima Boundary

Metaphoric doors: Metaphoric doors manifest through signs and symbols. Such doors may not have a functional size, scale and other physical characteristics or functional utility of a nominal door.

Ent to mountain shrine

These allegorical forms are used to mark and enhance the essence of a door:

  •       variations in barriers (representing an overlap or a gap or aperture),
  •       a scaled or functionally sized gap,
  •       a passageway (indicating a pathway to or from somewhere),
  •       signs, symbols and graphics to mark linearity (a lead to some place),
  •       frames (to enclose a view and other sensual perceptions),
  •       miniature or micro-cosm frames around the deity.
  •     mythological associations with doors or openings such as: Janus -Roman, Re -Egyptian, Ganesha, Dwarpal or Kshetrapal (the Indian keepers of the gate or estate), Shen Tu and Yu Lei (Chinese guardians -two brothers of the passageway).

Symbolic Door Chinatown San Francisco gateway arch 2010 California Wikipedia Image by chensiyuan

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