SPATIAL BEHAVIOUR with AMENITIES, FACILITIES, UTILITIES and ENRICHMENTS

Post 597 by Gautam Shah (15 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Human behaviour, at realistic level is governed by how a habitable space allows various tasks. For conducting work-tasks and other tasks such as social interactions, expression and communication a space needs many provisions. Amenities, Facilities and Utilities endow a sense of belonging while achieving functionality, but Enrichments invest the space with personalization.

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Service station at a Chevron gas station San Francisco CA USA > Wikipedia image by  @ BrokenSphere / Wikipedia Commons

AMENITIES

Behaviour in habitable space often revolves around the amenities. Areas near the attached amenities attract all the activities. Due to this, users seem to move from one amenity to another. All the intermediate space patches and time interludes between the amenities become sections for secondary behaviour.

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Work environment for Stone masons Agra India > Flickr image by Chris Shervey

Amenities are attached to a building shell. The linkage is for structural support through a wall, floor or roof, or for functional support for sourcing a ‘supply or disposal utility’. One of the largest sections of amenities, are for environmental control, such as projections, wind towers, air ducts, sun shades, pergolas, grills, etc. Some of the amenities are conceived to be architectonic elements for enhancing the architectural language.

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Architectural amenities – Hearth in traditional Japanese house > Wikipedia image by Fg2

Amenities could be both, structurally integrated solutions which are difficult to remove without damage to the building shell; and mounted entities that may perhaps be replaced but require an identical or matching solution for the sake of design integrity. Relocatable amenities are sometimes considered as facilities. Amenities are also subsystems, part of a larger system -the building. Such subsystem amenities have well-defined relationships or connectivity.

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Kitchen services sourced from the wall > Wikipedia image by Flickr user rick

The structural elements of a building also serve the function of an amenity. An amenity nominally is static, but could also be a mobile, which then is called a utility. A static amenity can have some degree of internal variability like a louvre in a window or an elevator in building. The static amenities are designed to take advantage of the location, orientation, connections, etc. Static amenities use their mass for their relevance and so are heavy. Static amenities consume little operative power, and in most cases have no outputs except for disposal or extinction. Non static, dynamic or mobile amenities are difficult in terms of managing the inputs (power, etc.) and outputs (residues, effluents and disposal or extinction).

Environmental amenities relating to the climate (Sun, Wind) operate only for a part of the season, day or hour. Such amenities are also designed to be architectonic elements. Fixed amenities are difficult to reestablish elsewhere or everywhere due to their dependency on connections (power, water supply, entry), forcing one to customize the living around the amenities or accept the inherent deficiencies.

In buildings such attached amenities are platforms for cooking, fireplaces, window ledges, door thresholds, otalas, steps, open to sky Chowks, cutouts, seats along the walls, etc. These are areas with very focussed behaviour, surrounded by a loosely defined zone but worthy of many ‘free’ activities. Amenities are dependent on strong structural elements of the building, often touching the exterior, this creates planning where amenities and related activities to the peripheral areas of the space.

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Clothes store Jodhpur Rajasthan India > Wikipedia image by Matthew Laird Acred

FACILITIES

Facilities are unattached entities and so demountable and relocatable. The word facility is often used synonymously with an amenity. A space occupier makes some rearrangements to all the facilities designed and sited by an expert. Such personal manipulations are intentional or experimental, either of temporary or permanent nature. Change in form and location of various amenities is also occasional and seasonal. A space grows with age and reflects not only the taste but turmoils and compulsions of the user. The size, shape, location of different facilities is as important as their interrelationships. The siting of a facility in reference to the spatial quality and architectural ambience reflect the concerns for environmental conditions.

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Gym Facilities > Wikipedia image by LocalFitness.com.au

Facilities have ergonomic characteristics to enhance the human capabilities. A facility is conceived to satisfy the largest section of users via the ‘percentile method’, though leaving the users at the top and bottom highly dissatisfied. This causes behavioural problems that are very acutely displayed in public expressions.

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Attic bedroom Skoga Iceland > Wikipedia image by Ben Husmann from Chicago USA

Largest section of facilities consists of various devices for carrying out tasks. These task devices support the body or its parts, facilitate and extend the reach and aid the body movements and motions. Support devices provide a base for utilities like chopping and ironing boards. Posture taking devices like for seating and resting, are created with anthropometrics, but their styling affects the human behaviour. Storage systems are work-organizers and do not affect the human behaviour.

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Post Master’s Desk > Wikipedia image by weisserstier from Wien Australia

UTILITIES

Utilities different from amenities and facilities. The utilities include tools and equipments that are handy, though some require a base support for efficient working. Support dependent utilities are often nearly fixed devices. Sourced utilities are tied, requiring linkages for input-output like power or effluents. These are relocatable within a range. Hand-free utilities require very little manual manipulation for operations. Utilities become multipurpose because every variation in its support system gives it a new purpose. So it is, said creativity comes through the craftsperson or technician, and not from the utilities. Majority of the utilities and facilities are preferential to right-handed people in terms controls and operations.

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Work-Lab utilities > Wikipedia image by Rory Hyde from Amsterdam Netherlands

ENRICHMENTS

Enrichments are means of personalization of a space. Installation or removal of the enrichments does not affect the utilitarian value of a space. Enrichments serve a decorative and metaphoric purpose. Enrichments are extremely personal and frequently replaceable, so are transient entities. Some functional entities like bolsters, cushions, dusters, etc. are accepted to be items for comfort but are accepted as enrichments. Enrichments are items of expression through their shape, form, scale, colour, texture, patterns, composition, symbolism, position or location, relationship with other objects.

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Personal space Sherlock Holmes Museum London, > Wikipedia image by user:FA2010

The schema for enrichments originates through several sources like media, inter-personal interactions, print media, TV, cultural heritage, caste, religion, locale, region, pride, leisure time, motivation and competition. It is also supported by desire to add-on the convenience offered over industrially produced standard goods, love for artistic intervention or crafty manipulation, experimentation, innovation, improvisation, upgrade, repair etc.

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Choir stalls Trinity Church in Cracow Poland > Wikipedia image by Pudelek

Enrichments are brought in by a person, members of the family or leaders of a group. The theme, as a result inevitably has one or singular ’authorship’ and consistency of concept. This reflects in the unified effort. There is a continuous thread of concept, form, colour pallet, patterns, placement, symbolism, etc. Occasionally radically different types of enrichments also manifest in such spaces, but over a period of time things gets acceptance. Where a next generation inherits the space entity, their responses are nearly confirmative, and something of the past survives or is consciously continued. When a person or family migrate to new environments, the new place carries the imprints of the old, in many instances more intensely. Where space designing is outsourced to professionals a new vocabulary of enrichment arrives, but these too get domesticated or personalized. Such personalization occurs through re-siting, re-orientation, and new contextual composition. In few instances it may awaken new lifestyles, but something of the past always reappears.

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Desk of Anthony Chekhov > Wikipedia image by SiefkinDR

 Enrichments affect the behaviour very mildly but persistently. The cumulative change over a period of time is far greater in content and extent. The enrichments reflect the personalization, so are very comforting and assuring. It represents the author and an age, and reminds the contribution of the author or the era. Enrichments take away the loneliness and boredom. Enrichments add to the micro levels of comfort without destroying the standard scheme of the space. Enrichments customize a space circumstantially, according to local environmental needs, personal choices and tasks. Enrichments are self-created and self-installed so their repair, alterations and replacement are within the personal ambit of skills and time management. Enrichments are demountable and transferable, so remain personal assets.

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Mall space Kolkota India > Wikipedia Biswarup Ganguly

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This post forms 15 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.

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PERSONAL SPACE for BEHAVIOUR

Post 589 by Gautam Shah (11 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Behaviour in space is conditioned by two personal notions: Privacy and Intimacy. Privacy is personal as well as group-based requirement, whereas Intimacy is mostly an intra-personal or object affair. Behaviour first develops from the primary concern for survival, a defensive action where one tries to create a personal protective layer. It is also an offensive activity where people form groups to create a common protective mechanism, and thereby be more accessible to others. Here the privacy and intimacy become expressions of intra-personal relationships.

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Crowded elevator Flickr image by BurnAway

In a space, primarily, one tries to acquire a spot where privacy and intimacy are controllable. People discern their relationship with others in terms of distances or spaces between them. A personal space allows privacy and intimacy by controlling the distance from objects and people. Distance in space is simply a notion, a negotiable reach, one creates and perceives from other beings and objects. A personal space is an assurance for conducting certain tasks and expositions. The reach in space is negotiated by suitable space planning, physical and metaphorical declarations of the territorial ownership, style of space occupation and managing the extent and duration of exposure.

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Perceived privacy in a public space > Wikipedia image

Privacy is a personal belief and is achieved by obscuring own self, or by isolating from people. One can obscure own self by merging with background or by becoming less perceptible. Isolation is achieved by barricading and distancing. A person or group achieves insulation through body posturing and adjust the exposure, control the communication, command the expression and re-calibrate the reach of the body and the sensorial perception. Privacy can help overcome many inhibitions through mental isolation. Psychological motivation helps one to ignore some of the side effects of lack of privacy.

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Spatial seclusion for privacy > Wikipedia image by Sulasulasula

Privacy provides the isolation whereas degree of interference by others determines the nature of intimacy. Both are important means for individualization or branding of unique personality. And whenever these are compromised one may try to adjust the posture, reorient the self and distance from others. In appropriate conditions it is easy to control ingress, distraction and unwanted participation by others.

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Flickr image by Paul Townsend

One requires many different types of privacy:

● Physical and Social privacy: Ii is a function of distance and shielding. It is required against someone making a close approach (touch or near approximations). Social privacy is often equated to physical ‘crowding’ in a space. It is reflected in degrees of accessibility a person or group offers to others. The perceived territorial space gets crowded due to excessive or undesired social contact. Crowding means heightened accessibility or reduced interaction depending on the need for expression, communication, physiological requirements. Crowding affects the sense of belonging for group behaviour mechanisms (common purposes, beliefs). In ‘neighbourhood spaces’ one wants to be away from the closed interior space and so here crowding of any type takes away the social privacy.

Crowding may be tolerated if it is temporary (elevators, stairs, public transport) and for a definite purpose like for fun. The scale of a room it’s size relative to the occupants also influences conversational distance. As room scale reduces, people tend to sit closer together. Likewise, increased noise levels and distractions drive people to sit closer together.

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Titian, Actaeon surprises Diana in her bath 1559 Wikipedia image

 ● Visual privacy: Inherent in human behaviour is a tendency to avoid situations in which one can be watched without being aware of who is watching. Visual privacy addresses the ability to limit view of oneself by others. It can be achieved through the use of furnishings, furniture, amenities, partitions or walls.

In a private space or an office, people will often orient their desk in order to visually control the doorway and achieve a visually private space on one side of the desk. Similarly, people prefer to sit with a protected back, controlling the area they cannot see directly. In restaurants, the first seats to be filled are usually those along the walls. In outdoor spaces, people tend to sit against or beside objects such as trees and bushes rather than in the open. In open office plans’ a person is made to sit facing a wall or partition for lesser distraction from the back side passage, however, it is the unseen and unpredictable traffic on the backside that challenges the privacy. Contrary to this in garment stitching room workers are one behind the others and passage is on the side.

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Mobile phones diversion from visual and social privacy issues > Flickr image by Marc Smith

● Audio privacy: It is an insulation against being overheard, interference from background noise, and lack audio of clarity of listened sounds. A high quality of audio privacy significantly defines the level of communication, social interaction, and productivity. An appropriate relationship between the background noise and one that is produced within the activity space is conducive to speech privacy.

Complete insulation of a space, such as a study room, cuts-off the background noise, leading to loneliness or alienation. Hospital wards are hard finished due to issues of bacterial infections. The wards during daytime have high presence background noise that subdues or balances the noise from within the space. However, past midnight, in absence of background noise, the noise from inside the room becomes unbearable.

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Barriers for Noise privacy Melbourne > Wikipedia image en wiki by Atlantica

● Olfactory privacy This limits to reveal own physiological state or experiencing someone else such a state through hormones-odours. Other privacy parameters include the body temperature, breathing rate, heart beats, pulse rate, vibrations of the body, sweating and perspiration.

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INTIMACY

Intimacy is a feeling of closeness or affinity between a person and another, or an object. Intimacy is also a biological need. Intimacy is considered a product of distance, and it relies on compatibility, sexual needs, glandular secretions, social acceptability, etc. It is an attitude, mental conditioning or mental posture. A person or group seeks privacy for security, to flourish in an environment. Intimacy could be one-way feeling that is without reciprocal feeling. One can be intimate with another person or group of persons without the apparent need for privacy. One can feel close to a person who is long dead –an illusory presence or through notional links (clothes, odours, recorded sounds, etc.). Distancing is also a matter of time, like remembrances. An intimate relationship is with a person, but an intimate space is one where an occupant and objects have intense relevance to each other.

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A date with view Flickr image by TheeErin

Intimacy can have two main forms: emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. There could be other forms of empathy like cultural, intellectual, spiritual, social that are akin to intimacy in some conditions. Strategic relationship developed to take advantage of anyone could be very close but it is a make-believe intimacy.

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Intimacy by known People and Space Pixabay image by Akshaypatra

A private abode is an own world. An intimate situation is safe, predictable and reassuring. Intimacy is like a domain where everything is under an exclusive command.

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This post forms 11 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.

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EXPRESSION and COMMUNICATION -as behaviour in space

Post 587 by Gautam Shah (10 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Behaviour is reflected through intentional and involuntary expressions. Intentional expressions are for informing, recording, recollecting, inciting, convincing, putting forth an argument, generating feedback, showing feelings, ideas, thoughts, opinions, re-experiencing, recollecting, abridgement, elaboration or re-enactment of a happening. Involuntary expressions reflect biological working of the body, deep-rooted prejudices, and learned behaviour. These reflections are often so subtle that neither the person expressing nor the party perceiving it are aware of it.

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Gestures and Postures for expression > Wikipedia image by Sumita Roy Dutta

Expressions occurring through the body’s gestures and postures, are perceived by others, however, one may conceal or suppress such a display. For expression through gestures and postures, main contextual conditions are spatial characteristics (form, shape, size, scale) and environmental effects (illumination, acoustics, climatic comfort and well-being). Other aids include referencing through position, orientation, background vs foreground, angle and nature of perceptibility, degree of sufficiency for various body functions (reach capacity, comfort, metabolisms, etc.). These are used to simplify, amplify, de-intensify, amalgamate, compact, quicken, retard, diffuse, or reschedule, the rate and contents of expression.

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Spatial expression Wikipedia image

One may make an intentional expression by using body gestures and postures but additionally support it by other sensorial means like vocal and touch. Non-personal or absentia expressions through remote means like telephone, broadcasting or publications use various means of emphasis (or even diffusion) (repeat, highlight, placement, emphasis) to support the expressions. Like for example, speaking face to face or frontal-way is a very direct but can be diffused by slightly off-centric or angular dealing. Similarly a superior delivery position, a static and clear background, appropriate lighting, clothes, etc. reinforce it.

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Expressions reflect behaviour. ‘Classical expressions’ occur within geographical, social, political or ethnic groups, due to the very intense, frequent and consistent usage (non varying). These expressions are brief, abstract or metaphoric. Behaviours of communicators are made up of factors like: media used, transactions to be one way or two-way, communication to be ‘one to one’ or ‘one to many’, use of feed-forward and feedback mechanisms, etc. Expression allows a person to organize and rationalize the thoughts. It allows one to emphasize and de-emphasize whole or parts of the content.

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Aesthetic satiation > Wikipedia image by Ducttapeavenger at En wikipedia

Behaviour reflected through intentional expressions becomes means of communication, meant for an audience or personal satisfaction. Expressions for aesthetic satiation are always intentional and occur through representative forms like singing, writing, art, craft, etc.

Expressions for communication must be efficiently conveyed and adequately registered. Intentional expressions get improvised the moment a perceiver shows reactions. The expression, communication and its perception may not happen in same time or space. Expressions for posterity are recorded as writing or image creation, broadcast through a device or recording on a media.

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Expression and communication both must occur under certain protocol and situational conditions. A space is confirmed (accepted) or designed for such purposes. One intuitively exploits the existing spatial assets and environmental provisions, and continuous to modify it. Both need Functional elements, such as: tools, amenities, facilities and structures. The style of architecture and interior configurations inspire many to express and communicate. The Environmental conditions like illumination, acoustics and comfort affect the nature of expression and thereby the communication.

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Christ and the adulteress (by Lucas Cranach the younger 1532) –Expression and communication – Wikipedia image

Expression and communication are personal processes, but occur in consideration of the physical characteristics of participants, such as age, sex, experience, body posture, mental adequacy and maturity, time and distance, nature of need, compulsions, disposition, etc. Process of expression is conditioned by the system of cognition. Visual perception is a key element of expression. The originator and the perceiver both remain open (public) or concealed (private), by exploiting means of visual perception such as illumination, brightness, contrast, clarity of colour (hue, tone, texture, etc.), the distance and position (angle) of the expression.

At night clubs and other social gathering places, personal privacy is provided by darkness and preference for black dress. It encourages free expression. Whereas ball room dances and parties are brightly illuminated, so that everyone is able to see others’ expressions. Indian classical music artists prefer audiences to be visible.

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Night Club > Wikipedia image by Dossier

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COMMUNICATION

One of the important purpose expression (intentional or involuntary) serve is of communication. Communication is conveyance -a two-way process between the sender and receiver. Both sides share a modality, and are interdependent. Communication occurs when both, the sender and the receiver are in the same or different time and space. Intra-personal communication, occurs in the same time and space, and allows both the parties to ‘read’ each other. Indirect or remote communication is where the time and location of the sender and receiver are different. The perceiver has no means to know how the expression was created, though the receiver is sometimes able to judge the state of the creator.

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Communication > Wikipedia image by David Shankbone

Communication occurs through direct and indirect channels. Direct channels use verbal, as well as non verbal means, but are under control of the sender and receiver. Indirect channels are not under the direct control of the sender, but are recognized subliminally or subconsciously by the receiver. This includes kinesics or body language that reflects inner emotions and feelings rather than the actual delivered message. The receiver may call it a gut feeling, hunch, intuition, or premonition.

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Non verbal communication include postural, gestural and other (endocrines) features: facial expressions, eye contact, controllable body movements, metaphoric associations, sounds, odours etc. Non verbal communication also occurs through objects and metaphors, like: clothes, hairdo, architecture, interior, furniture, furnishings, arts, crafts, colour combinations, lighting ambience, signs, symbols, graphics, typography, etc.

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Non verbal communication > Wikipedia image by S. Krupp, Germany

Non verbal communication during the interaction operates in the context of: 1- Environment includes elements like furniture, architectural styling, interior decoration, amenities, illumination, acoustics, and temperature; 2- Media and tools available consist of enlarging, focussing, recording, recapitulation manipulation tools. 3- Behaviour expressions of communicators due to their age and sex differences, experiences, physiological facilities, mental adequacy and maturity, time and distance, nature of need, inclinations, etc.

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Dance is a metaphoric form of nonverbal communication. It can be abstract form of self-expression, or a very formal vocabulary of movements, steps, postures, mudras, gestures additionally supported by musical rhythm or Tal-beats. Though, all these can become very abstract as there is lot ambiguity about personal meaning.

Verbal communications use the spoken words or language, and written and other textual forms of expressions. Verbal expression is substantially coloured by para-language and prosodic features, like the voice quality, rhythm, meter, intonation, stress, pause, emotion and speaking style. Textual expressions have elements such as presentation style of handwriting, graphics, typography or calligraphy.

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Talk Show Verbal and non-verbal communication > Wikipedia image

Use of expressions in one-way systems of communication is by the originator alone, whereas in two-way systems, both the originator and receiver are involved. In one-way system with a direct channel a lecturer improvises on perceiving the behaviour by the audience. In one-way system with an indirect channel like radio and TV talk shows, such feedback is generated by having a small set of audiences within recording or broadcasting area.

A person looking through a small opening can see the expression of the others but others cannot read the expression of the viewer. Opposite to this stage performers often use larger lip, eye and other facial gestures so that furthest members of the audience recognize the expression. Such expression may look ‘loud’ or abnormal at close distances.

For communication, two way systems with direct channels succeed when expressions of both parties are mutually recognized. But, for this, the communication should occur under certain protocol and situational conditions.

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Lecture Hall > Wikipedia image by Schtone

A lecturer or a performer, is perceived, when on a podium (well positioned), with frontal illumination (well lit), clean and contrasting backdrop (sharp silhouette form), availability amplification devices (sound enhancement by architecture design or electronics), good acoustics (reduction of background noises and reverberation reinforcements), use of gesture enhancing enrichments (robes, sticks, batons, cap, etc.). But for the reverse feedback from the audience following parameters need to be fulfilled. The audience should be at the same level, well lit but slightly from sides (rather then top down), complete absence of background noises on performing stage, minimized movement within the audience (seated rather then standing), non distracting colour of seats (for unoccupied ones).

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Putin and Rauhani > Wikipedia image by Attrb. > Kremlin.ru

In offices and conference rooms bosses want their assistants, secretaries and juniors to seat or stand on the right-side for a right-handed side, but never on front or back sides. For a one to one meeting between two equals separate seats placed an angle of 145º to 160º is considered correct protocol then seating on side by side and on the same seat. A physician wants the patient to sit on the side rather then front. Entry to an office cabin must be from the front corner. Similarly distance is important determinant for communication. In one to one meeting too close a distance leads to intimacy but loss of privacy and objectivity. Too much distance increases dilution of communication and also alienation. This happens over very large dining tables, where to avoid an unwanted neighbour one must talk to the person on the opposite side, but never with due intimacy and privacy.

A flat edge meeting table or dining table does not breed homogeneity as much as a slightly curved table can do it. A square table conference room divides the audience into artificial classes, a round or oblong but a closed-ended table creates an artificial classless unity. UN uses horse shoe (open ended) table for a security council. US president uses an oval shaped office occupying one centre of the eclipse leaving the other free (and so often challenged by the person who can dare to stand there and communicate from that much distance). Moreover the US president has an advantage of a secure back drop compared to the possible challenger, whose back is open and vulnerable.

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Wikipedia image Oval office

Two way systems with indirect channels are like telephones, where one may not be able to judge the behaviour of a person at the other end. Chat rooms of social media sites also function similarly. Interactive TV and radio programmes like breakfast shows have partial two way systems. Here the programme conductor controls the participants’ feed-in.

Behaviour is intentionally reinforced by using personal means like postures, gestures, voice modulation, dressing, make-up, and also by using architecture and spatial elements. During interactions when one may not immediately recollect or be aware of the correct words, one uses gestural and postural behaviour to reinforce the vocal message. Similar reinforcement is required for expression in a foreign language, or audiences of different localities. Such accented use of gestures and postures can be ‘loud or gaudy’ for certain social events, but can be subdued by extending the period of expression enactment. Architectural elements like a flat wall, a strong column, convergent space form or pattern help focus the expression, but articulated elements like stair, ramp, exterior view, or a complex pattern, as backdrop diffuse the impact.

A mobile in pocket is a great assurance. A TV or radio creating some background noise serves warmth of a family. A picture of a loved one or family portrait in a hotel room or space module replaces the loneliness. People keep memorabilia for a very long time. Life-place memorial evoke the same sentiments.

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This post forms 10 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.

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SPATIAL SETTINGS for HUMAN BEHAVIOUR

Post 581 by Gautam Shah (8 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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NEIGHBOURHOOD       –The first setting for human behaviour:

A neighbourhood is a space with uncertain markings. The extent of a neighbourhood is flexible, depending on the person’s physical reach capacity, vehicles or means used, routing, climate, obstructions and the linkages such as bridges, access conditions etc. A mother will not allow a child beyond visual field or shout-out reach. A youngster reaches out to known places like friends’ house, school or playground. Buildings and objects on daily routes of travel seem part of the neighbourhood. Objects beyond the cross barriers, such as busy roads, water-bodies, railway-tracks, hillocks etc. are considered parts of other neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods are politically and administratively defined as wards, zones, sections or postal code zones.

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Neighbourhood -Flushing Main St Kissena Blvd NYC > Wikipedia image by Yanping Nora Soong

The neighbourhood is a sharing space and so intra-personal activities occur here. The intra-personal behaviour rests on exploitation of the spatial conditions of the neighbourhood, such as, proper orientation, anchoring to potential locations, distancing from other humans and objects, scheduling the use-occupation, calibrating the spread of activities and by regulating the intensity of interactions. The neighbourhood space becomes a setting for behaviour more by exploitation of the features and less by way of design.

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Broad water Farm London > Wikipedia image by Iridescenti

The neighbourhood, though a public space of uncertain extent and for nonspecific users, is reasonably changing and manageable realm. The manageability develops from social attitude not to disturb the fabric that provides familiarity, reliability, predictability and security. This fabric, however, gets disturbed by new buildings, new settlers in large numbers, rapid changes in urban-architectural character.

The space and the environment, as recognized here, are beginning of an individual as well as mutual process of domestication. The behaviour in interior space ensues and persists due to the neighbourhood exterior. The involvement of exterior and interior is also stepped up by various types of inward-outward transgressions. The exterior neighbourhood space is reflection of the interior space, a carry over of the past, perception of future, or an extension of the present.

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Village in Kaita Nigeria > Wikipedia image by Shamsurabiu

 INTERMEDIATE ZONES       second setting for human behaviour:

The involvement of exterior with interior space is graded. There are two major types of grading mechanisms: Threshold areas and adjunct structures. Both of these subsist on gaps, cleavages and openings in the barriers of space making elements. The thresholds have a physical depth which alters the transition occurring through it. These depths are often inadequate to occupy or conduct a task. So adjunct structures like a verandah, shades, etc. help the process of transition.

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A proposal on the threshold by Edmund Leighton (1900) Wikipedia

The threshold areas and adjunct structures abutting the gaps, cleavages and openings are used for different types of transits and so support distinctive behaviour. Such varied uses of intermediate zones are of two main categories as seen in barriers of the interior space being transgressed inward or outward. Inward transgressions like Chowks, courtyards and cutouts, bring in the experience of the exterior. Outward transgressions like Verandah, Chhatris, pavilions, Galleries, bay, oriel and Mashrabiya windows, distend the interior space. These intermediate zones are always attached to the barrier system of the space making elements, in other words, connected to the peripheral zone. The intimate connection to the peripheral zone permits extension of the activity nominally occurring in that zone.

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Udaipur Rajasthan India Zarokha Gallery Flickr image by McKay Savage

INTERIOR SPACE     –third arena for human behaviour:

An interior space is finite due to its omnipresent enclosure. The enclosure is, however, relieved through the exchanges taking place through the gaps, cleavages and openings and the inward and outward transgressions. The concurrency of the interior space with the exterior provides spatial and environmental variations. The interior space is constituted by Six elements: 1 -Thresholds, 2 -Adjunct structures, 3 -Outward distensions, 4 -Inward ingress, 5 -Peripheral zones and 6 -Core zone.

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Crosby Theater at Santa Fe > Wikipedia image by Chyeburashka (talk / contribs)

 A threshold is a symbolic divide, and whatever spatial spread it has is a metaphoric effect. But it stops guests and discourages one venturing out. Adjunct-structure near a threshold adds physical spread and extends the periphery of the interior space. This structures offer multipurpose space but yet it remains an extension of the nearby interior space, such as drawing room, bed room, kitchen. Very specific spaces, such as storage, toilet, prayer room, etc. if have such adjunct structures, the specificity is lost. Outward-distensions Increase the interior spread of the peripheral zone or create a new one. It remains a space within a space and is affected by the happenings in the core zone. Inward-ingress provide the environmental variation to the static core zone, very often disturbing the dominance of the core. Peripheral-zones allow wide variety settings for human behaviour, but these are location and situation specific and core zone dependent. Core-zone is multipurpose area and, so time scheduling and activity spread, are key determinants of human behaviour. Both are exploited for social interactions but needs for environment, privacy, intimacy, expression and communication force an activity first to the peripheral zones and then to inward and outward transgressions.

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Bazaar ao Silk Mercers in Cairo > Wikipedia + Wellcome blog post (archive)

 VIRTUAL SPACES     –-Fourth sphere for human behaviour:

Virtual space is unreal on one or both the counts, exterior and interior. Here the physical presence of either exterior or interior realms, are made through notional representations. Many such conditions created with make-believe conditions, and so have limited efficiencies, or very concentrated space and intensive time experience. Make-believe do mould the human behaviour with compact and direct effects. Make-believe effects are useful for their novelty or experience.

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Metro station Paris > Wikipedia image by Stephen Butterworth from Atlanta, GA USA

Other indirect manifestations of human behaviour are in the expressions’ through art, craft, performances, writing, etc. Here the expressions represent a set of emotions and so are interpreted for the expression of behaviour. The exercise is likely to be very subjective, yet an ethnic society or mature culture offers some common insight.

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Steampunk Cafe Capetown > Wikipedia image by Author http:www.yatzer.com

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This post forms 8th 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.

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SPACES SIZES and SHAPES

Post 579 by Gautam Shah (7 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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For any space shape and size are two major factors that condition the human behaviour. A space can have many different shapes irrespective of the size, and so it is an absolute function. The size makes a shape relevant when it adequately relates to the human body, and so it is a relative function. Shape and Size are considered concurrently for spatial relevance. Spatial relevance has many facets.

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Train concourse, new Pennsylvania station Washington DC  Wikipedia image

Functional adequacy is very important for spatial relevance, and is checked on: tasks conduction, social interaction, degree of proximity for intimacy and privacy, security, cognition, physical reach, communication and expression. Functional adequacy is achieved by ergonomic facilitation in the space. The Reach in space is physical and cognitive. Former is important for functional satiation, and the later one for sensorial perception. For both the purposes, the quality and depth or extent can be modulated by reach extension tools. Social interactions in a space are afforded by means and modalities available for expression and communication. Space size and shape bear upon the intimacy and privacy one experiences.

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Fluid distribution in micro-gravity conditions Wikipedia image by CFCF

SHAPE of SPACE

A shape can exist in great many sizes, but the scale and proximity of the shape forming elements such as the barriers and environmental effects signify the shape. A very tall Gothic cathedral ceiling has presence through its audio feel then visual detail. Shape configurations have a strong vertical, horizontal or inclinations relating to the gravity. Shapes are closed or open ended. Some shapes are open to attachments but others show potential of growth through distensions. Indian Parliament building a rotunda in shape has very little scope for attachments. Similarly Louvre had very little extension possibilities due to historic style and functional need (housing extra large sized Egyptian artefacts). The shape expansion by addition or distension is linear, planner or volumetric, and local, pervasive, directional or haphazard. A spatial shape reflects the constituent forces, so a shape could be transient or consistent. Shapes are repeated for an array and create interrelationships through proportions, analogy, sequencing, proximity, etc.

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Airbus A340 Kitchen-Pantry unit > En wikipedia image by w:user:Acidbomber

SIZE of SPACE

Size is fundamentally scaled to the human being, but it also represents control, spread and distance. These also reflect the effort and duration required to operate the space segment. At Absolute level the size is perceived as the difference between the Length and Width of a space. It is seen as a narrow or wide entity. The height confers its own scale of narrowness or broadness to the space. Height accentuates or de-emphasizes the character of the space nominally contributed by the relation between the Length and the Width. The equality of Length and Width of space marks a balance. The orientation of smaller or larger size gives a feel of a deep and shallow space. All these terms also give a sense of direction (long vs short) in the space.

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Scouts training vessel Wikipedia image by Joe Mabel Sea

The nature of cognition, reach, communication and exchanges are function of the space size. The levels of intimacy, the loss of objectivity and subjective involvements that occur in a space, are governed by its size. The size is seen as a facility of accommodation and also future potential for alternation, improvisation, and personalization. Size in a neighbourhood space is perceived in terms of reach. Here the recognition of reach also defines its functional adequacy for interpersonal relationships and related behaviour. The sizes are defined by the mutual relationship between people, spatial elements, barriers, and their cognition.

A hazy or foggy atmosphere dulls the perception of such elements as much as a bright sunny day highlights the spatial elements through enhanced light and shadow differentiation. Past midnight in absence of nearby background noises far-off sounds are acutely heard, increasing the extent of the neighbourhood space.

Patients in a large hospital ward experience a very large space to be strange compared to their home, because the space size proportions are different, surfaces are harder and less absorbent (causing reverberation to be different), background noises are less passive, during day or night illumination levels are brighter, furniture and furnishings are unusual. These experiences occur during periods of sickness and weakened mental faculties.

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Catacomb in Rome > Wikipedia image by Bgabel

A space is perceived to be small, adequate or large in terms of various tasks, and in nature of responses it offers such as echoes, reverberation, reflection, illumination, glare, vision. Same space may be seen to be of a different size depending on the recent experience. Occupation of domains with unusual proportions (combinations of lengths, widths, and height) and sizes require extra efforts of accommodation.

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Tall space of Salt Cave in Mount Sodom Israel > Wikipedia image by Wilson44691

Functionality and the environment are difficult to separate, as one seems to manifest the other. For a lay person, spaces within the known range (of recognition) are predictable and so manageable. The strangeness or alienation is reduced by introducing scalable elements. The scalable elements in a space include repetitions, rhythmic evolution, structured patterning, sensory gradation, acceleration-de-acceleration, graduated changeovers, linkages, relationships through modulation and proportioning, etc.

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Mini house > Wikipedia image by Source Weekend with Dee by Tammy

SMALL SPACES

Small spaces are small absolutely and relatively. A space is considered small if one, two, or all of its dimensions (Length, Width, Height) are small in comparison to the occupant’s body size, and inadequate for task requirements. A space is considered small (narrow) if one of its horizontal-spread dimensions (either Length or Width) is proportionately smaller.

Small spaces are often considered intimidating and claustrophobic because the core zone nearly embraces the entire space, leaving no or very small peripheral space zones. Such an exclusive core space zone is too susceptible to affectations from neighbouring domains. Small spaces evoke overwhelming power of the barriers, such as no echoes, or no depth for perspective perception. Small spaces are intimate and show good recognition. Small spaces aid intra-personal communication and exchanges. But very small spaces become too personal for reasonable or objective communications. Small spaces are acutely specific for one or few activities, and so are manageable. Small spaces may be functionally adequate by themselves, but do not permit even a temporary expansion of an activity. Small sub-space modules have a tendency to merge and form a larger system, as it saves estate wastage in peripheral zones. Small spaces have bulged (transgressed) peripheral zones.

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Crowded Snack bar at Bowling Alley > Wikipedia image

 LARGE SPACES

Large spaces have large core zone and equally large peripheral zones. Very large spaces have diffused or multiple cores. Diffused cores have poor recognition, communication and exchange capacity. In large spaces the distanced barriers are also less commanding in the quality of the core zone. A large space with fewer occupants may seem impersonal compared to small spaces that in some way infuse intimacy. Large spaces allow individualization, but group formation becomes uncertain. Large spaces confer power to the individual who can own it and have the reach capacity to control it.

Amphi theatre performances require large frill dresses, loud dialogue delivery, spaced out movements -theatrics, real or make-believe sub-zoning of the stage. Large space audiences can be reached through public address system, a large podium, stage setting, colour-light highlighting, etc. People in large spaces like airports and marriage halls reach out to others through wild gestures, shouting etc.

Large spaces seem alien as the edges are less definitive. Here the peripheral zones are too segmented and varied. Occupation of large spaces is a challenging task. One needs to find points for anchorage, a direction for orientation, presence of other human being (or an animal like a dog) for confirmation, and a ready strategy for exit in any exigency.

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Large space with off centric core zone > Wikipedia image by Rodejong

NARROW SPACES

Narrow spaces have one of the floor dimensions (width or length) proportionately smaller. Spaces with a strong linear (directional) character seems narrower. Narrow spaces are functionally single-purpose, such as stairs, passages, roads, corridors, etc. Narrow spaces discipline the movement. The functional inadequacy of narrow spaces could also be physical, a carryover of the past experiences, or a psychological condition. Taller spaces often seem narrower compared to a shallow (low height) space with the same floor spread. Narrow spaces have domineering effect of the side barriers, more so, if these are opaque that is without any break or transgression. Narrow spaces allow formation of small groups. Linear distance among the groups increases the privacy and intimacy. Narrow spaces may have multi-core spaces due to the specific conditions available locally such as near the doors, windows, columns, corners, benches, niches, public address systems, focussed illumination spots, air movement-delivery and ventilation nodes (fans, air conditioners, heaters), stair entrances, junctions (cross corridors, floor cutouts), signboards, parapets, ash trays, etc. Narrow spaces in their longer direction are leading and focussing, and in the shorter direction are diffusive and non-attentive. Art galleries tend to be linear spaces as exhibits are smaller, Areas with master pieces in museums are non linear for distanced viewing. The hall of mirrors, Versailles, is a classic example of long space, opaque on one side and fully windowed on the other side.

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Liverpool infirm ward Flickr image by University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Life sciences

WIDE SPACES

A wide space is very ambiguous a term. All large sized spaces are also wide spaces, because here both the dimensions are functionally more than adequate. A corridor is long (so essentially narrow) element, but could have generous width, making it a wide lobby or a hall. A space seems wider if it is less occupied and sparingly furnished (a vacant hall). Shallow spaces (low height) seem wider and larger. Wide spaces have distanced barriers and so mid space elements like columns, central furniture pieces, floor cut outs, etc. gain importance. A space may seem wide if its barriers are non opaque, and allow vision, movement, etc. across it. Wide spaces allow group formation. Individuals and groups have intimacy and privacy due to inter group distancing. Wide spaces, if adequately dimensioned permit sub-core activities near their peripheries.

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Narrow space Gamla stan, Stockholm, Sweden Wikipedia image by Mastad

TALL AND DEEP SPACES

Tall is a ‘height’ identity and Deep is frontal distance distinction. In both the cases the side barriers have a strong impress that often restricts or affects the apparent size perception. Tall and deep spaces acutely reveal their functionality. Chowks, cutouts, light wells, stair wells, under sides of domes, etc. are all directional (vertically stretched) and static (non changing) spaces. These are considered ideal for non diversionary activities like study, meditation and prayer. Exhibitions, museums emulate this effect, by spot lighting the displayed items. Tall and deep spaces restrict the transmission of background noise (nearly absorb all the reflected sound, allowing only the direct waves).

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Very tall space for Mass prayer at Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta, Indonesia Wikipedia image by Gunawan Kartapranata

FORMS OF SPACES

Our perception faculties are directional and nodal. Hearing and vision, are bi-nodal. Vision, smell and taste faculties are frontal, whereas touch is non-local. Balanced or equilateral spaces, such as a square, round, or a triangle shaped, are difficult to occupy at their nominal centres. For such balanced spaces a non-centric location that is towards a contributing periphery is better.

Shapes like convex, concave or parabolic curvatures modify the movement. Planes that slope away or towards the user, mean opening or closing of the form. Right and left turns have culture specific relevance which may override presumed biological preferences. The nature of activities in a space help highlight or de-emphasize the shape. A spiral stair’s circular movement enhances its vertical scale, but a right or left turning spiral could, respectively, mean upward or downward movement orientation. Minarets and Gopuram narrowing skyward enhance the vertical direction.

British Parliament has opposite benches in long rectangular room, signifying one is either for the government (ruling party) or in opposition. Many other parliaments in multi party democracies have segmental circle forms, with speaker occupying the cut end. Equal participation seminars are held in square or circular rooms. One way affairs, like press conferences were once held at the smaller end of a rectangular room, but are now held with a wider end as backdrop to facilitate video shooting. Lectures, discourses are focussed to the speaker. Fashion shows use the long axis of a rectangular space to be with the spectators. In an Olympic main stadium is a multi game facility, where events like opening – closing ceremonies get a highly defined shape – form, but smaller items of athletics get a de-emphasized (nonspecific) a shape entity.

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Reichstag German Parliament Berlin > Wikipedia image by Mary-Grace Blaha Schexnayder

Monuments designed for posterity (historic buildings, memorials), government buildings, institutions associated with discipline (army training, hospitals, research laboratories) overwhelmingly have cubical shapes or regular circular forms. A square or a circle subsist on their own and seem to survive in all types of conditions. Inversely a free or irregular shape may not last, unless it is properly oriented, and made to fit well in a setting. Geometry of a form is transmittable across cultures.

Closed in overhead forms like domes, pyramids, tents, etc. seem to provide greater cover and so protection, compared to regular cubical or flat roofs. Sloped roofs and floors not only indicate an orientation but enforce concentration (or dissipation). Slopes indicate a gradual change whereas stepped forms show a sequential change. Slopes have been used to merge different domains, and steps to demarcate the divisions.

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HK TST Isquare mall windows > Wikipedia image by Teipangshan102

ENVIRONMENT IN SPACES

An individual experiences environment and space as a single happening. A space entity offers several sub environments in its peripheral areas which in turn highlight an aspect of a space. The multilateral mix of environment and spatial characteristics, when combined with the daily, seasonal and diurnal variations of the environment provide for great variety of choices. The choices allow one to explore, improvise and individualize a habitable territory.

Environment is conditioned at specific locations. Such efforts include architectonic elements like shading devices, barriers, reflectors and receptors, insulation, time delay mechanisms, etc. These are overt attachments to the building shell, facilitating a task. But very often the space-form is moulded to serve these purposes.

Cooking and dining, were activities occurring close to the hearth, but cooking preceded the dining. These time scheduling allowed them to be separated. Similarly, dining was an occasion for family get-togethers but presence of an outsider disturbed the intimacy of the family. So cooking, dining and social gathering spaces separated from one another as sub-core zones. In single room houses such territories are metaphorically identified, flexible in size, and relocatable. In large buildings these are physically marked as rooms and have metaphysical associations.

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This post forms 7th 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.

GRADES of EXTERIOR and INTERIOR SPACES

Post 576by Gautam Shah

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A space is recognized and improvised, or designed for a range of behaviour. A lay-person recognizes and improvises, or the expert, who designs it, can only surmise how it will manifest. The stake holders, Designer or the user, are often not aware of the basis of the recognition, improvisation or design, yet all do arrive at common realization.

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GRADES of SPACES

The spaces have Two distinctions: Exteriors and Interiors. Exteriors have Two distinct zones: One where the extent is endless and beyond the perception limits -‘the wild exteriors’, and, Two where the edges limit the perception creating ‘neighbourhood spaces. Interiors have Core and Peripheral zones. ‘Threshold areas’ manifest between the exterior and interior realms.

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EXTERIOR SPACES

Exterior spaces have highly variable environment and territorial presence. There is virtual immediacy of the two realms. One cannot conceive the Interior or Exterior alone, without the other being present in time and space proximity. This proximity is however achieved by design, by carrying across the impressions of the other. The Internal and External spaces, can occur as a ‘metaphoric concept’ for the other. The duality of the interior and the exterior is like an antithetic zone to the other.

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The heaven and the hell are two surrounds of the earth. Egyptians have dummy doors (drawn or carved) in their tombs. A Garbha Griha in a temple is an inner sanctum. The Japanese gate Mori is placed anywhere, in a vast open land or sea, to mark a divide. Lakshman Rekha was a notional boundary.

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■ Wild exterior spaces: Very vast exterior spaces are perceived for the endless sensorial ‘effects’. A ‘beautiful sunset, a valley or seashores’ are markings of a space. Markings denote the natural extent of a wild exterior space, but the same may not be perceptible. These are, though evident through the physical elements like: edges, banks, thresholds, slopes, plains or fences and environmental effects thereon. We perceive only certain range of space. The reach capacities vary with perceiver’s  capacity, needs and environmental conditions and so are circumstantial. The behaviour with reference to markings, is perfunctory, as it relates to only the potential –what can one do with it?

A wild exterior space defined by the markings is an infinite realm. It cannot be a setting for personal or interpersonal behaviour. One can perhaps realize a potential to possess it.

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These are few quotes taken from historic text documents that describe the markings of Land-Spaces. US President Thomas Jefferson insisted that the purchase included ‘all land to the east of the Rocky Mountains and to the north of the Rio Grande’. ● The (Spanish) missions were located in a disputed area; France claimed the Sabine River to be the western boundary of Louisiana, while Spain claimed the Red River was the eastern boundary of Texas, leaving an overlap of 45 miles (72 km). ‘From the point on the north bank of Muddy Creek one mile above the junction of Muddy and Indian Creeks, north for 400 yards, then northwest to the large standing rock, west to the large oak tree, south to Muddy Creek, then down the centre of the creek to the starting point.’ ‘Lying in Anson County, on the side of the Atkin River, beginning about a mile below the fork of the fourth creek that empties into the said river, above the wagon ford, running up the said creek for complement, including an Indian Camp about eight miles beyond the path that crosses the buffalo licks.’

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Esgaroth or Lake Town – a fictitious neighbourhood community that appears in novel The Hobbit (1937) by J R R Tolkien > Wikipedia image work source Angrenost.cz by Neral (Matej Cadil)

■ Neighbourhood spaces: Neighbourhood spaces come into being and remain valid in the dual context of interior spaces on one hand, and the wild exterior spaces on the other side. The neighbourhood becomes ‘a place for everything that an interior space cannot offer and an experience that cannot be had in the wild exterior space’. It becomes a place for informal social contacts. Markings here help create anchor points, line-links and extent spreads. These are also definitions to dimension, grade, scale and proportion the space. The elements represent an exclusivity through a change such as a drop in terrain, contours, variation colour or texture, illuminated or shaded objects, etc.

A neighbourhood as an exterior space is finite and predictable. It is both a ‘collection of individuals and a place, the people who live there and the place itself’. Here the social ties develop not just due to people involved, but due to the setting of the place. Neighbourhood spaces have recognizable geometric order or a predictable configuration, purposive locations for anchorage, well-defined zones, distinct routes and paths, good visibility (and other clarity of other sensorial perception) and recognition of the whole and its parts.

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UNESCO > neighbourhood village of Holloko Nograd Hungary Wikipedia image by Bardos Veronika Gyor hu.wikipedia

Neighbourhood spaces are known through their limiting elements. These elements restrict continuous perception or environmental effects. The bounding elements indicate the purpose of the space, and in many cases even the nature of its ownership, and structure of administration. In the neighbourhood the depth or scale is defined by the reach capacities such as vision, hearing, smell, touch, etc. These elements individually represent varied form of reach, so space definitions here match to the purpose.

– ‘a jungle of apartments where no one knew who was dead or who was celebrating what – but an archipelago of neighbourhoods in which everyone knew each other.’ -Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul: Memories and the City.

Neighbourhood spaces have paths and open spaces that both connect as well as separate various habitable spaces. Here it is not the distance but the degree of dependence that forms unified neighbourhood space. The dependence is a need based as much as it is perception based. One may not know or formally meet the neighbour for years, or ever, but the perception someone is staying in vicinity is a great social comfort. Very often even the presence of a man-made object provides the same comfort.

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A street tunnel underneath the Mexican city of Guanajuato > Wikipedia-Flickr image by Jorge Ibarra

INTERIOR SPACES

Interior spaces are enclosed entities formed by the edge elements such as shell, roofs, coverings, awnings, curtains, partitions, ceilings, etc. These are spatial definitions that create a dimensioned interior space. “A space created by the enclosure is far more enduring then one defined by bounding”. The enclosures have varied levels of transparencies and the openings within the shell allow connections to the exterior. The transgressions occur as outward push and inward pull of the interior space. The outward push or encroachments are often ‘cost-less’, though may ‘load’ the enclosure (shell) body. It increases the interior volume and permits a restrained exterior experience. The inward intrusions, however, consume interior space or estate and reduce the available enclosed space.

Examples of outward transgressions: Galleries, balconies, Chhatris, campanile, bay-windows, oriel-windows, dormers, Mashrabiya, verandahs, skylights, etc.

Examples of inward transgressions: Cutout, Chowks, courtyards, Liwan, setbacks, cutbacks, shafts, light-wells, etc.

The outward sensorial reach beyond the edge of the interior space does not affect either the wild or neighbourhood exterior spaces, but the interior spaces are affected by the happenings in exteriors. A ‘wild exterior space’ due to its uncertain character and infinite size, cannot be possessed. A ‘neighbourhood space’ lacks the complete settings and environment for all types tasks other then the casual social interaction. But an interior space is controlled and a domesticated entity, and so allows many varied activities. The form and format of the interior space are unitary and consistent, but the subsections show minor, local and temporary or circumstantial variations.

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Core versus Peripheral zones in Interior Spaces > Wikipedia image attribution -share alike 3.0 Austria license

■ Core Zones Interior Spaces: Interior spaces have an insulated and static segment as its core zone. The core zone is nominally centric, but to be focal, extensive and an important point, it may be shifted towards one of the edges. At the core segment metaphysical elements like concepts, beliefs, taboos, etc. that reflect the essence of the inhabitation are stronger.

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Peripheral zone in Interior space -Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft Wikipedia image

■ Peripheral Zones Interior Spaces: Peripheral zones abut the built edges of the interior spaces. As the enclosing elements have varied levels of transparencies and the openings within the shell, connections to the exterior are vibrant. These are multilateral entities, reflecting the environmental variations. Where such variations become extensive and a permanent a new spatial entity comes into being. In peripheral zones metaphorical elements like signs, symbols flourish.

For example, cooking-dining, kitchen-bathing, entrance-living room, etc. have been adjunct as well as segregated entities, at different times, and within same era for different social reasons.

 

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THRESHOLD AREAS

The barriers define shape, size and environment of the interior space through their constitution, thickness, mass, volume, size, absorbency and transparency. Thresholds occur at openings, cuts and cleavages of enclosing elements. Enclosing elements have degrees of transparencies and discontinuities and effectiveness of the threshold is determined by its size, shape, location and orientation. The divide, represented by the threshold may not be a clean edge-cut, but could also be an extensively graded formation. Thresholds can have real or hypothetical realms, but usually have abutting structures to create an intermediate climatic zone and intermediate spaces.

 

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A threshold may be an abstract divider in space like the Laxman Rekha but a change marker. Thresholds are marked by change in quality of flooring, illumination, sidewall configurations and by elements like high sill, steps, opening portals and pediments. Architectural attachments like verandahs, canopies, overhangs, otalas enhance the threshold’s functions. In thick-wall structures, openings get a substantial depth creating an interpersonal space as in gates and gateways, or in windows a shading device on external sides or an illumination diffuser on inside. In Kutchh Bhunga houses doors are predominantly South (windward) face and women folk occupy the threshold for craft and household work.

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Threshold- Buffer area at Entrance of Palika Bazar Connaught Place Delhi > Wikipedia image upload by Ekabhishek and Image by Johannes Bader

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This post forms 6th 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.

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DOMAINS and SPACES

Post 574by Gautam Shah

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Domains are nominally, Physical, Metaphysical and Metaphorical. At another level domains could also be Real or Virtual. Physical domains are landed or with dimensioned and marked territorial features. A Metaphysical domain is more relevant by the spread or extent of its activities or effectivity. Metaphorical domains subsist on analogical connections. Such domains rely on thought, concept, traditions, customs, beliefs, style, ethnicity, etc.

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Spatial Domain > Wikipedia image by VeronicaTherese

A space domain has few distinguishing marks, such as the Core and Peripheral zones. Space domains are proximate or converge. Domains have users and their social interactions are triggered by the spatial organization of the domains. In the following FOUR articles, these issues are discussed.

DOMAINS and SPACES

● Part-I  ● DIFFERENT TYPES OF DOMAINS and ZONING

● Part-II ● CORE ZONES

● Part-III ● PERIPHERAL ZONES

● Part-IV ● DOMAIN SPACE USES

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DOMAINS and SPACES ● Part-I ● DIFFERENT TYPES OF DOMAINS and ZONING

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Monte Alban Archaeological site Gran Plaza Oaxaca Oax, Mexico Wikipedia image by Hajor Released under cc.sa and/or GFDL

Physical domains are landed or with dimensioned and marked territorial features. Physical domains have transient core and peripheral zones. The peripheral zones react with the local environment and so can have many spatial as well as temporal variations. Core-zone is a common or community area and continuously shared with others. Core-zone accommodates relocatable amenities. Compared to this, the peripheral areas are assigned to specific tasks, but the tasks shift around to take advantage of changing environment. The house in charge person, wife, mother or in few instances home-based craftsman occupies the core area. Enrichments occupy the boundary sections and define the space such as sanctimonious, utilitarian, storage etc. The core area often shifts towards the daylight zone near openings.

The markings of domains are characterized by the ambit of sensual perceptivity, communicable distancing, consistency of the spatial characteristics (coherent space and environmental conditions creating a unique space segment) and acceptability or confirmation by a section of the society.

Metaphysical domains have a non physical spread. Such domains cannot be perceived through the sensorial system. Their presence is intellectually and intuitively confirmed by the believers, but for others it remains obscure. Such confirmation requires a unitary image, so a strong centric core zone emerges, often with a definitive peripheral zone. To reflect the enhanced participation and democratic nature, the peripheral zones are made transparent.

Revered spaces, shrines, historical sites, haunted buildings, buildings without utilitarian functions or commercial purposes have a strong metaphysical genesis. Beliefs borne out of instincts, concepts, experiences, etc. are rooted to the core area. In the peripheral or threshold areas these have thinner effect, so are impacted by the ideologies flourishing in the neighbourhood. Inhabitants’ beliefs also may be born as a reaction (antithetic) to the neighbours’ ideology, and in such cases may not have any core roots.

Metaphysical entities like home, family, group etc. come into being in a space where communication, exchanges and the intimacy occur more efficiently then elsewhere. Such space units are also ‘home’ to many other beliefs and notions. These are associated with a person or group, and so have a strong presence. Metaphysical zones centering on a belief or remembrance of an event, person or entity are sustainable so far as believers, followers exist, conduct activities to further the belief or notion, or till a counter effect comes to be accepted.

The beliefs as a metaphysical factor cast a space that is sharper at the point of the origin, and prone to diffusion elsewhere. But for belief to survive and gain strength peripheries are necessary. Churches, temples, Ashrams have strongly defined territory through peripheral structures like gates, walls, Gopuram, etc.

Metaphoric domains require very little estate, however to support and enhance the metaphoric presence some spatial characteristics are employed. There being a single generative concept, the peripheral zones have a very small role and so a thin presence. The environment within is static, reflecting nearly solid barriers. Amenities, facilities and enrichment are purposive only, and so their relocation or any shifting of other elements due to them is not required.

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Global Internet Realm > Wikipedia image by Shijan Kaakkara

 Convergent or Proximate Domains

A physical domain is a unique spatial entity. But often other domains are very close-by or converge onto it. The effect of it is seen as inward and outward transgression of the peripheral areas. The transgressions occur to enhance the spatial character, or take advantage of the neighbouring or convergent domain. Ariel windows, Bay windows, Chhatris, Balconies, Verandahs are typical outward transgressions, whereas Chowks, cutouts, shafts, courtyards, are examples of inward transgressions. With such transgressions the peripheral areas change, but core zone remains unaffected. Perhaps the only change that occurs with the core zone is due to the shift towards the vibrant periphery.

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Convergent domains Edinburgh Castle and surroundings > Wikipedia image by Kim Traynor

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DOMAINS and SPACES ● Part-II ● CORE ZONES

Domains have Three basic constituents Formatted Space, Environment and Individual/s. A domain, as a space, is a segmented entity. Its primary segments are Core and Peripheral zones. A core is usually single, but peripheral zones are many. The core and peripheral zones often converge. Different peripheral zones also impinge over each other. The formatted space endows an exclusive character to the domain.

Core Zone of a space domain represents the commandeering mechanism and has a natural tendency to be singular and focal. The core zone has consistent environmental and spatial qualities, but its position within the domain may be transient. The shift is due to environmental conditions, functional needs, available facilities, amenities and enrichments.

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Core versus Peripheral zones Flickr image by Stortinget

Core zones gain strength by the shape (form) of space. Space forms like concentric, conical, angular, circular etc. are focussed and so enhance the nature of a core zone. However, very extensive domains lack an effective focus. A dominant enclosure on one or few sides of a domain creates an inviolable shield, an identity of belonging, or a sense of orientation.

A core zone can be formed by the dimensional and cognition reach extent of the occupant. The reach extent also scales the domain space. Such core zones are very personal, so sustain themselves independently. A core zone may not exist clearly where very vivid surroundings form strong peripheral areas.

Core zone amenities shift due to spatial needs and environmental changes. This leads to demountable or relocatable amenities such as handy or mobile tools, multipurpose equipments, plug in tools, wireless gadgets, miniaturized appliances and modular and system’s engineering approach in design. Compared to these amenities in the peripheral zones are strongly dependent on the architectural and structural systems, and so are static.

Historically a core zone of the ‘Home’ was the ‘hearth’ (literally meaning a focus). It was considered safe, intimate and interactive for the family. The hearth was centric, without any abutting elements like a cave wall or a rock face. The ambit of the core zone was determined by the climate, the scale of the space, number of participants and level of interaction, and the degree of personalization required. There was only one such zone in the dwelling.

The home in charge -the mother was master of the core zone. Her role and presence had become so obvious that ‘the hearth, the mother and home’ were synonymous. In tribal and aboriginal homes the core area is a female domain. The core zone, was the natural centre of metaphysical spread ‘the home’, as much as the mother was de facto guardian of culture.

Today, however the hearth is not an inevitable element for safety, security or comfort. It is the quality of barriers and other gadgets that provide this. Dwellings now have many sub domains each belonging to an individual, smaller group, or configured for a set of tasks. Very few activities of the family occur at the one place and are scheduled in the same time slot. But the family members do share a lifestyle developed through metaphysical markings like beliefs (customs, taboos, etc.) and the metaphoric means.

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Multiple or Convergent Core zones at Water Tower Place Chicago > Wikipedia image by Cosmos1976

Multiple core zones occur in very extensive domains. Such domains have weak central command and so allow formation of groups. The groups separate out primarily due to needs like physical accommodation, need for social intimacy and reach of communication. The groups may not seek a distinct territory or qualitative space segment, however, frequent such occurrences, show the existence of multiple qualitative space segments.

Multiple core zones also emerge where several overlapping or closely spaced domains operate within a larger domain space entity. Such core zones share the same spatial segment simultaneously or are programmed in same time schedules. Here the consistent elements are: spatial characteristics, environmental features, participants, amenities, facilities, tasks and activities. Multiple core zones tend to remain together, but often get separated by strong peripheral areas.

Arab tents had dual core areas within the basic form of the tent, one occupied by the women and used for main cooking, and the other half is used by men and for preparing coffee, etc. These two sections are divided by a mass of stored elements, such as mattresses, floor spreads, etc. The side flaps of the tent are stretched out to create peripheral zones of various sizes. The stretched width and the angle of the flap are conditioned by the sun’s position, wind direction, nature of tasks to be conducted and the need for privacy.

Cooking and dining once (and still do in many societies) belonged to a single core zone, but were separated as two concurrent core areas. These two core areas were further separated by a pantry area that was a peripheral zone to both. Entrance is buffered by a lobby, foyer, entrance hall, or vestibule from other sections of the house. Yards, verandahs, porches are used to separate out the building from the street.

Small or one room houses have multiple core zones. These zones exist in terms of activity space spreads, which often overlap in time. The multiple core zones match the space layout characteristics, such as four corners, the area near the door or window, the area abutting the wall, the axis formed between two opposite side opening. Traditional Sarai rooms are two and half man width (2.0+1.0 mid passage+2.0 = 5 Mts or 16.5 Ft). This allows two families or their men or women to occupy a side. The depth of the room is of less important.

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Centric Core zone A Pompeian Interior > Wikipedia image

Centric and Non-centric Core Zones: Domains with emphatic barriers create a centric space entity. But domains with breach-able barriers or loosely defined peripheral identities have overwhelming outside influences that create a non-centric space.

Domains with a substantial core zone tend to be spherical. Such spherical domains with a centric core zone are invariably static, compact and finite. Domains with an opaque boundary are also similar. Domains with weak boundaries have vibrant peripheral areas. A shift of the core zone towards a benevolent peripheral area becomes inevitable. A very extensive domain also provides greater opportunity for such a shift. Non-centric domains have some directionality as these are strongly affected on one edge, or are attached to other domains. Non-centric domains require far more definitive space formatting then centric domains.

Historically kingdoms have had effective spread of their domain depending on how far and fast they could travel. Mughal kings with their luxurious retinue could not visit the peripheral areas, frequently resulting in weaker control. Compared to this Changiz Khan’s Kingdom extended far & wide, but not for very long. Lecture halls or areas where concentration is required have opaque boundaries and conical shape. A colony against a fort wall or along a river coast is a linear domain, subsisting on the strong peripheral advantage and so apparently may not have core presence.

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DOMAINS and SPACES ● Part-III ● PERIPHERAL ZONES

Peripheral zones are vulnerable to outside influences due to their closeness with the edge and also their distance from the core section. A core zone is dominated by the domain’s main and common activity, but the peripheral zones are distinctive escape areas and so have diverse utility. Peripheral zones derive their functionality from nature of barriers. Peripheral zones emerge as an antithesis or concurrent space segment of the core zone. The peripheral zones are affected differently by the directional and temporal aspects of the environment. A peripheral zone is often relevant only for a while, to an individual, or for an activity.

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Peripheral emphasis in space > Choir and East side of the rood screen of Saint Cecile Cathedral France > Wikipedia image by Benh LIEU SONG

Once the extent 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 elements (to reduce their intensity and reach). The barriers, where available formed the edge sections of the peripheral zone. These were also used for reclining, resting, hanging personal items and for expression (artwork).

Peripheral zones are primarily shaped by the core zone, but are more often affected by the nature of the periphery of neighbouring domains and happenings beyond. The edge areas allow a person to selectively taste the happenings of outside-world even while remaining inside. Peripheral zones are flexible, i.e. can be stretched or contracted from their nominal spread. Domain transgression occurs through the periphery. Peripheral zones are dual faced, so one can orient an activity towards or away from the core area.

Peripheral zones often develop as an acutely specific zone. Study nooks in bedrooms, coffee rooms with the dining area, hobby zones in kitchens, home offices with vestibules, retiring rooms in private offices, vaults in banks, store rooms with homes and offices, wardrobes, shower stalls, change rooms in boutiques, cashiers’ cabins, pilot or driver’s cabins, reception counter, janitor area, services ducts, podiums in lecture halls, green rooms with a performance stage, ticket booths, telephone kiosks, are all examples of peripheral zones separated from the core zones.

Peripheral areas mark the end of one space entity and beginning of another one. Peripheral zones are thresholds to other space entities, and occur or are perceived to be an intermediate or buffer state. Thresholds are interactive areas, and alter (qualitatively) the elements transiting through it. Their activeness arises from their level of transparency and thickness (mass of the barrier), both of which control (rate, direction) the exchange. Thresholds also occur as an interstice on the overlapping barriers, where two effects are simultaneously operative.

The space barriers, such as walls, roofs, awnings, curtains, partitions, ceilings, etc. form a focussed space. Yet these barriers also create segments that are more strongly attached to the periphery. The barriers, however, are always prone to change from outside effects. There are two distinct places for group behaviour mechanisms -the focal and the peripheral sections.

Lecture halls, bed rooms, modern kitchens are single activity and so focussed units, but road side cafes are peripheral. An older style kitchen sourcing its services off a wall was more peripheral, whereas modern kitchens have island workstations, is more of core centric arrangement. A drawing room like the dining area is focussed for an activity, but a family room is multi functional and so less focal. Fire was the focus of the primitive home, and TV has become the current focus of home gathering. A physical feed-based work station is peripheral, but a wireless notepad computer offers flexibility of being anywhere.

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DOMAINS and SPACES ● Part-IV ● DOMAIN SPACE USES

Domains as Space entities are used by owners or occupants, architectonic elements and spatial objects.

Space and Users or Occupants: For a user, occupation of a space triggers a set of behaviour. For occupation the user has to find the most appropriate location, orientation, body posture, facilities, amenities, and environment. One of the most natural and primal way is to search a focal location in the space. This is done by finding geometric junction (cris-cross of many spatial lines), by locating spatial balancing or focussing centres, by orienting to some feature of the space (like an entrance door, window), by being closer to something (wall, column, furniture), by associating with other occupants (through ‘social distancing’) or by creating new patterns (angular, floral, concentric, diffusive). Here other operative factors are: range of cognition (capacity to perceive), physical proximity (level of social interaction), nature of relationship (age, sex, social status) and possibilities of expression and communication.

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Pennsylvania Station NY > Wikipedia image by Alan Turkus

The user also needs to have some control over the space, such as: Opportunity to change the location and position (including the posture) within the space; Choice to interact or not with others; adjust the spatial quality at micro level (scale and schedule-wise) and thereby the environmental conditions; Be noticed or notice others; Form sub-core zones, Shift to peripheral zones and be able to conduct exclusive tasks, and Way to leave the space either in full knowledge of others or without being noticed. A user, unless is an owner of a domain, will not be allowed to change the architectonic character of the space, import, shift or relocate amenities and facilities, alter the quality of environment that perhaps is not acceptable to others.

In very large spaces adjacent walls, hedges, mid columns, flower pots, water fountains, lamp posts, flooring, ceiling, and such other patterns and objects provide points of anchorage for space occupation. Spatial configurations like a stage, podiums, projection screens, speakers, singers, vivid objects, also hold interest by providing involvement.

In parties, hosts make a conscious effort to break intimate formations by removing or adding key or active persons, or repositioning and rescheduling the activities. In clubs and places of entertainment the environment (lighting, furniture, equipment) and programmes are reset to shift the focus off certain space segments. Group gatherings are designed to occupy different space segments (hall, terrace, lounge, library, garden lawn, etc.), variegated environmental conditions (bright vs diffused illumination, change of music, etc.) and diversions (toast by the host, magic shows, musical renderings, dancing, etc.).

Interpersonal Relationships and Spaces: Groups require space for interpersonal relationships, expression and its perception. However, the ‘depth’ required for such interactions in physical domains is irrelevant for virtual domains like telephony or video conferencing, chat rooms, hangouts, etc.

Interpersonal relationships have little relevance in acutely sized and highly defined spaces (ergonomically sized, shaped and provisioned with facilities), such as: toilets, kitchens, storerooms, study nooks, booths, etc. Larger spaces such as bedrooms, drawing rooms, office cabins, etc. allow interpersonal relationships, often in multiple varieties simultaneously.

Ideal place for the interpersonal relationship is the core section. This has least external disturbance, so should be an area of tranquility affording privacy. Yet peripheral zones are more preferred as a place for intimate relationships and commitment. In restaurants, cinema halls, public parks, large waiting areas, people move to corners and edges for seclusion. Threshold areas though peripheral, are public and vibrant. Threshold areas are considered ideal for noncommittal interaction.

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Group behaviour mechanism in Space Image Flickr source: Neko II > Wikipedia image by Sultry

The group behaviour mechanisms exploit the space characteristics to infuse emotional and social functionality. Group behaviour depends on individuals as well as interactions among such individuals. An individual projects psychological and sociological responses. The group behaviour though erratic has a degree of commonality – raison d’être (cause) of formation of the group. The common approach of the group is an assurance that their peculiar behaviour is not an aberration but a probable happening.

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This post forms 5th 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.