Post 256 – by Gautam Shah
Buildings are conceived for a specific use intensity. The use factor, perceived as a probability, makes a building a viable entity for a defined period. This factor must be rational, realistic and economic for the times buildings are designed. Premature provisions for extra capacities, mean a frivolous investment of resources.
Buildings, designed for current day needs and for a predictable increase in it, have built-in capacities for minor growth. The technologies of building and its amenities have been shifting to miniaturization or micro-sizing and getting synthesized, resulting in substantial space saving.
One can accommodate growth needs of minor nature through space re-planning and changing the existing facilities. Additions occur through outward transgression from local receptors such as gaps, openings, nodes, limbs, etc. Major additions affect the character of a face or entire section of a building.
Building forms or shapes like circle, triangle, or sphere, pyramid, etc. do not allow outward transgressions as these do not have attachment nodes or receptors for additions. For the same reason, even modular additions to these forms cannot be made dependent to the basic building. Some form like a rectangle square or cube or drum have possibilities of axial growth.
An addition to a building nominally subsists on the existing structural provisions and services, whereas an extension relies more or less on its own newly created provisions. Additions, if any, must be preconceived like a computer’s open-ended system.
Additions could also occur as an afterthought. Additions, circumstantial or planned, follow the regimen of the original building. Additions to complex buildings such as with intricate structural systems, elaborate styles, diverse configurations and multi purpose utility will require an expertise equal to, or even of higher order than the one put into the original creation.
Designers prefer to add to a building by creating a self-sufficient entity, sited in such a way that it does not defy the sanctity of the original building. Additions, however, always stand out as a differentiated statement due to variations in materials, styles and technology of architectonic elements.
Buildings are ‘added’ with certain looks to ‘upgrade’ them to current fashions. The style loading often took ridiculous levels, when bridges and railway stations were upgraded to Gothic or Roman styles. New façades were mounted on various structures. Additions or decorations were superfluous, insincere and made with make-believe materials. As a reaction against mounting of historical or sentimental values of past eras, iconoclast buildings, bereft of decoration were conceived. These often reach the other extreme of punk culture, where nothing is conformist.
Additions allow intensive use of land as a commodity, enriching not only the owner, but also the local administration. In urban areas additions are controlled by minor tweaks or favourable interpretations (for political reasons) to building regulations.
Additions supplement the building with enhanced or new functionality, which can also be achieved by the opposite process, the subtraction. Planned eliminations can help redefine the buildings’ value. Removal of unnecessary appendages leads to efficiency by reducing the wear and tear and other decay causing elements.