Post 425 –  by Gautam Shah


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida

A system is an entity with recognizable parts or subsystems that in some way overlap or interact in time and space. This overlap of functions and degree of interactions project a singular purpose or identity of the system. A system is conceptual totality, but need not be a fathomable entity, like the atmosphere system. Systems have parts or subsystems that may seem to participate with other system. Such transcending parts individually reflect the nature of the systems they subsist on.

Richards Labs Penn L Kahn


Systems are also finite when they exist within an environment of discipline. Such open systems also have nodes where other distinct systems get attached. Many such interconnected systems again serve a singular purpose. Compared with the interconnected or open systems, there could be self-sustaining systems. Such systems are strongly contained, and so are closed systems. Open systems interact with other systems or outside environment, and Closed systems have little interaction with other systems or outside environment. Our body is an open system as it continuously interacts with the environment, where as a watch is nearly self sufficient entity.


Open system have external interactions, such as of information, energy, material and other resources export-import. Open systems retain the enthalpy to be in equilibrium. Open systems are like a digital word processor article or a spreadsheet which are amenable to changes or can be “adjusted’. Some legal agreements could an ironclad or closed document, which once created cannot be changed in any part, and must be redrawn. A quasi-legal agreement could be an understanding, an open document allowing future change or revision.

Emil Bach House FLW

In Architecture, buildings are classifiable into Open-ended and Closed-ended entities. An open-ended form and structure allow extensions or additions. Open-ended structures allow spatially limited or occasional alteration. Open-ended buildings have identifiable subsystems, each of which can be designed, executed, maintained, operated, upgraded, replaced or terminated by different agencies, at different times and circumstances. Open-ended systems inherently have multiple units of modulated sizes, form consistency patterned arrangement and perceptible organization.


Closed-ended structures have a self-sufficient form and singular purpose. Such structures reflect the one master ownership or single intent, and so are monumental, akin to a piece of sculpture. There may be nonfunctional repeat units in the composition for pattern making. A closed system does not transect anything, and may not have nodes of exchange. One need not be aware of the interior of the system, as there are ‘no repairable or serviceable components inside’. Such tags are very common on technical products of proprietary design.

All Gizah Pyramids

Certain forms or shapes are dominantly, either Closed-ended or Open-ended. Forms that are broader at the base, and narrower or pointed at the top, do not allow extension. Pyramid, cone or tower, are closed ended systems. Similarly drum like shapes allow little additions except in the upward direction. Contrary to this, a square or rectangle is very extendible shape in all directions. Old Basilicas and Church buildings have been added upon, but Hindu temple is rather a static form.

Houses of parliament British

Highly articulated buildings like Versailles or British Parliament, are closed ended or static structures. It would be difficult to add upon them in any relevant manner without compromising the integrity of the built-form. Indian Parliament has an annex connected with an access tunnel. Versailles has glass pyramids (closed ended entities) as new extension.

Sansad Bhavan

Architects create monumental buildings by compromising many other functions or requirements. For such purposes the building is conceived with a single form (though transgressed in many ways), single material, or sensuality, nonhuman or disproportionate scale and fewer sub elements. Some explorations towards closed ended architecture or monumental buildings have been deconstructionist, gravity defying and highly dynamic or mobile forms.

Vitra fire station -Zaha Hadid



Post –by Gautam Shah


Open ended system Space craft

A system reflects the nature of effort used in its formation. Personal and impulsively formed systems tend to be Holistic. Holistic systems have few or no recognizable sub systems. On the other hand, planned systems, whether personal or evolved through multilateral effort, and over a longer period of maturation, consist of many sub sets.



Design effort that conceives a complete and self-contained system initially is called a Holistic system. Holistic systems are conceived as a whole without much thought for the details. Holistic approach entails germination of an intuition as a complete system. Such creations are akin to a work of art, often not functional, and not necessarily reproducible. However, such impulsive concepts may be detailed later on to become component systems.



Close-ended systems result from prime or unique effort. These are also a type of holistic system. Spontaneous and one-person creations tend to be closed systems, unless a conscious effort is made to make it an open system. Closed systems have inherent limitations of time and space. Such systems become irrelevant as soon as an open-ended system is available. Closed systems are improvise-able only by the author or inventor, whose capacity to update it continuously is limited. Closed-ended systems are intentionally planned to protect the intellectual rights of the innovators. Here the innovator creates an ironclad entity that not dissected for inspection or repair. Closed systems as a result are compact and rigid. Proprietary computer software may be used by anyone but its code is restricted.


Closed-ended systems to be functional, however, must become part of a larger set up. All closed ended systems are components or subsystems of a larger system. Closed ended system need nodes of connectivity or gateways to connect with the larger set up. Such gateways may or may not allow access depending on whether these are open or closed ended systems. In the world of mutual dependency one cannot survive.



Open-ended systems evolve from multilateral effort or multi trial endeavours. Where large number of people are involved in design and execution, and where these processes are likely to take place at different time and locations, the system automatically becomes open ended. The subsystems for a variety of reasons are conceived as substantially independent systems. The subsystems are often designed or manufactured by different vendors. Due to such distinctions the subsystems are separately up-gradable.


The success of the open-ended systems depends on certain discipline or architectural parameters. These are adaptation of common measurements and standards for materials and procedures. To accommodate all these, open-ended systems have a skeleton type frame structure (infrastructure). Open-ended systems many a times are wasteful, because every subsystem has built-in reserves or additional safe capacities, though such individual reserves make systems more persistent. Open-ended systems allow replacements, improvisations and up-gradations of their subsystems and components.




Post -by Gautam Shah




In an open-ended system, components designed or manufactured by different vendors are used. The success of such a system depends on the adaptation of measures, standards for materials and codes for procedures. Open-ended systems are wasteful because of the built in, reserve or additional capacities. The built in capacities in the open-ended systems do facilitate future replacements, improvisations and up-gradations. Open-ended systems generally result from mature and multi trial endeavours. Where large number of people are involved in design and execution and where these processes are likely to take place in different time spans, the system automatically becomes open ended. Open ended systems are also called ‘open architecture entities’.




In a closed ended system the components are not interchangeable. Components designed for a particular situation ,are neither usable nor adoptable in another situation. Closed systems are very wholesome or compact compared with open systems, which usually have a skeleton type frame structure (infrastructure) and are loosely held. Closed systems are rigid and not easily improvisable, whereas open systems allow up-gradation. Closed ended system being compact have no redundancy. Closed ended system become totally useless with even minor changes in their environment or working. Close ended systems generally result from first ever (prime) or unique creative effort. Spontaneous and one man creations tend to be closed systems, unless a conscious effort is made to make it an open system. Closed ended systems are also called ‘proprietary systems’.