DEPTH of OPENINGS

Post 636 –by Gautam Shah

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We are more concerned with the width and height of openings. Width and Height are primarily functional derivative, and secondarily a matter of proportioning. The proportioning works intrinsically with width versus height, but more importantly with the schema of the building. The schema also takes of aura or grandeur of the openings like doors, gates, etc. Over-engagement with width and height of the opening can be reduced by use of surrogate like shadows (Sciography from Greek σκιά ‘shadow’). This technique creates a metaphoric depth of very high contrasts. In this the contrast is between black and white (or presence and absence of certain colour).  Such contrasts are difficult to fully visualize in scale models, as the subduing effects of reflections from surroundings or floors, or counter balancing by internal illumination.

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The openings gain a third dimension due to the shadows, and shadows occur due to differences in depths. But depth of a door or window regulates the field of view and amount of illumination. It governs the changes occurring in transit through the opening. These include disciplining the passage of goods and people. Depth forms an intervening space and time for mechanisms like filtration, funneling, release, mixing, direction, etc. of air and illumination.

Two_doors_of_the_tomb_(inside)The depth of an opening derives from the structures like walls, partitions, domes, etc. but in few cases it is achieved through architectural manipulation. External walls of the buildings, till about the Gothic period, were heavy offering two choices for showing the depth on the external face or internal side. Both of these were done in several ways. A chamferred edge on outside, enlarges the size of the opening, view of outside worlds, net illumination gain for the interior and weather protection. A chamferred edge on inside cut the glare, diffused the illumination, reduced the wall surface requiring mural or other treatments.

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Gothic buildings’ thinner walls, however, did not allow such a play. So instead the Windows were elaborately segmented. The mullions, muntins and traceries did not divide the story line running through. Gothic glass unlike modern glass was opaque so did not allow interiors to be visible, but during daytime the segments and colours both compensated lack of wall murals and mosaics (of an earlier era). The third dimension of the opening was completely eliminated with glass curtain wall buildings. Mies van der Rohe was yet criticized for using very emphatic mullions.

8714804380_857c6eb75a_z(1)The Depth of openings enhanced the dual character of inside and outside. The architectural depths of the openings are, however, changed by bevelled edges, chamferred sides, introduction of pilasters, intrados, extrados, sloped sills and opening heads. A bottom taper brings the light to the floor, and a sloped interior head illuminates the ceiling.

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One of the most fascinating aspects of openings is the threshold. It may be informal, just a marked significance by small change of elevation, colour or texture. The greater depth of the opening bestows a formal change of a domain, due to marked elevation, changes of treatments and side treatments like seating place, alcoves and chambers. A threshold has two distinct worlds on either of the sides, one or both of which could be real or notional. Such elaborated depths of the door elements become resting zones, zone for transition, point of decision making, celebration, welcome or separation.

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BLOG LINKS on OPENINGS SYSTEMS

Post 633 –by Gautam Shah

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ANTI-LIGATURE https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/anti-ligature/

LOCKS https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/locks/

ANTI LIGATURE > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/anti-ligature-issues-for-design-8/

SAFETY ASPECTS of DESIGN > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/safety-aspects-of-design/

ALMIRAH-1 > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/almirah-1/

STORAGE CABINETS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/storage-cabinets/

DOORS-SECONDARY HARDWARE > http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2016/02/doors-secondary-hardware-latches-stays.html

DOORS – BASIC HARDWARE > http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2016/01/door-basic-hardware.html

ANCIENT DOORS > http://talking-interior-design.blogspot.in/2014/05/ancient-doors.html

DOOR HINGES > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/door-hinges/

SLIDING DOORS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/sliding-doors/

 WIDE DOORS and MULTIPLE DOORS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/wide-doors-and-multiple-doors/

REACH in SPACE > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/10/18/reach-in-space/

MEANING of a WINDOW SILL > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/meaning-of-a-window-sill/

SHOP WINDOWS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/shop-windows/

EVOLVING ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/evolving-architectural-windows/

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CLASSICAL WINDOW FORMS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/classical-window-forms/

WITCH WINDOW > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/witch-window/

WINDOW TAX > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/window-tax/

MASKING of OPENINGS Part -III -Framing https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/masking-of-opening-part-iii-framing/

MASKING of OPENINGS Part -II https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/masking-of-openings-part-ii/

 MASKING of OPENINGS Part -I https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/masking-of-openings-part-I/

 

FRAMING of OPENINGS https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/framing-of-openings/

 

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and VISION in-out

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/architectural-windows-and-vision-in-out/

 

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and the MEANING

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/architectural-windows-and-the-meaning/

 

FRAMING of OPENINGS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/framing-of-openings/

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DAYTIME INTERIOR ILLUMINATION -REALITY and PERCEPTION > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/daytime-interior-illumination-reality-and-perception/

 

LANTERNS in ARCHITECTURE > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/lanterns-in-architecture/

 

LEGENDS of OPENINGS-1 > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/legends-of-openings-1/

 

NATURE of OPENINGS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/04/12/nature-of-openings/

 

OPENINGS in COLONIAL PERIOD of INDIA > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/openings-in-colonial-period-of-india/

 

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and MECHANICS of VISION https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/architectural-windows-and-mechanics-of-vision/

 

GLASS and PERCEPTION https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/glass-and-perception/

 

LEVEL of OPENINGS https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/level-of-openings/

 

DESIGNING OPENINGS https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/designing-openings/

 

CLASSICAL WINDOW FORMS https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/classical-window-forms/

 

GLASS IN WINDOWS Part-II

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/glass-in-windows-part-%e2%80%a2-ii/

 

GLASS IN WINDOWS Part-I

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/glass-in-windows-part-%e2%80%a2-I/

 

CONTRAST EFFECT PERCEPTION

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/contrast-effect-perception/

 

THIRD DIMENSION of OPENINGS

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/third-dimension-of-openings/

 

SKY LIGHTS https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/07/15/sky-lights/

 

ARCHITECTURAL OPENINGS in LITERATURE > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/architectural-openings-in-literature/

 

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS for DAY-LIGHTING > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/design-considerations-for-daylighting/

 

CLERESTORY OPENINGS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/clerestory-openings/

 

CLASSES of OPENINGS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/classes-of-openings/

 

STRUCTURES over DOORS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/structures-over-doors/

 

OTHER TYPES of DOORS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/07/19/other-types-of-doors/

 

SIZE of a DOOR > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/size-of-a-door/

 

JALOUSIE > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/jalousie/

LEVEL of OPENINGS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/level-of-openings/

 

INTERIOR ILLUMINATION through DOORS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/interior-illumination-through-doors/

 

DESIGNING OPENINGS > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/designing-openings/

 

MULLION > https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/mullion/

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LINKS for MECHANICS of VISION

Post 619 –by Gautam Shah

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MASKING of OPENINGS Part -III -Framing
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/masking-of-opening-part-iii-framing/

MASKING of OPENINGS Part -II
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/masking-of-openings-part-ii/

MASKING of OPENINGS Part -I
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/masking-of-openings-part-I/

FRAMING of OPENINGS
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/framing-of-openings/

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and VISION in-out
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/architectural-windows-and-vision-in-out/

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and the MEANING
https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/architectural-windows-and-the-meaning/

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and MECHANICS of VISION https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/11/18/architectural-windows-and-mechanics-of-vision/

GLASS and PERCEPTION

https://interiordesignassist.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/glass-and-perception/

 

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS for DAYLIGHTING

Post 593 by Gautam Shah

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Daylighting is illuminating the interiors of built spaces with the sunlight, as available during the sun up period. This is controlled entry of natural light and diffuse skylight into a building to reduce electric lighting and saving energy. The ‘direct’ daylight arrives through openings like doors, windows, skylights and other gaps. Indirect daylight is brought in as Diffused sky light from surface reflectors or Transmitted light through tubes and other devices.

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Haveli Courtyard, Near begum Samru’s palace > Flickr image by Varun Shiv Kapur

Daylighting depends on the external conditions, such as the season of the year, climate, dust, fog or cloud cover, time of the day, terrain or surroundings. Daylight can be designed through buildings, size (spread or massing, depth, floor heights), form or shape, orientation, scheduling and location of tasks, configurations of openings, etc. It is closely linked to saving energy used for lighting during daytime. Daylight is substantially dependent on openings like doors and windows, and this help creates stimulating and natural environment.

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Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai Departure area > Wikipedia image by Nancy Beaton

Daylighting is dependent on external conditions. The season of the year determines not only the ‘sunshine’ days and brightness, but the direction (solar inclination) of the light. The climatic conditions govern if fenestrations can be kept fully open or closed. Local atmospheric conditions like dust, fog, cloud cover and pollution affect the intensity of daylight. Activities must be scheduled according to the diurnal cycle and positioned as per the available exposure. The surroundings’ factors, such as the terrain slopes, colour (of white sand beach fronts, green lawns or foliage, water bodies), and reflective capacities determine the brightness level of illumination.

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Sahara Town Ghadames Libya > Wikipedia image by Luca Galuzzi http://www.galuzzi.it

Daylighting and building design, have mutual dependence. The exposure of the face, surface area, perimeter and form of the buildings can be advantageously exploited for better gain of daylight.

Daylighting for energy saving must be conceived with a view to reduce the artificial illumination requirements of deep-set spaces, low height spaces, isolated interior entities like vestibules and corridors. A synergetic system to calibrate the electric illumination can be created for task-need and occupancy of the space, compensative distribution (elimination of glare-contrasts) and low heat output.

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High sill windows Abbaye d’Acey Jura France > Wikipedia image by Arnaud 25

Fenestrations and Daylighting are linked. Fenestration location (wall, skylights), height, shape and construction affect the daylighting. Fenestrations also serve the purpose of comfort (ventilation requirements such as heat gain-loss, air-moisture control, interior pollutant dilution, air movements) and view in-out, so must incorporate these requirements.

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Daylight used for illuminating interior spaces, exploits the ever-changing quality in terms of intensity, colour and direction of the light. The daylight-design, scatters the light over a wider extent, diffuses its intensity and subdues the strong directionality, alters the colour quality, and shifts the location of the source.

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Screening for daylight and view Wikipedia image by Margaret Bourke-White

Light intensity is a function of season, orientation and fenestration design. These are important considerations for siting an activity. Light intensity is perceived against the brightness level of the background scene or the surfaces. It can also be altered by illumination from other directions or additional artificial sources.

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Tony Rich Training Centre Uni of Essex Consistent illumination by skylight and support by electric light> Wikipedia image by Rwendland

Colour of the daylight as reflected sky component have small colour variations, except the occasional colour scattering at sun rise and set periods. Daylight received from reflected surfaces such as terrain, near by buildings and plants has a colour tinge. The colour of the glazing material, colour of the opening cover systems like Venetian blinds, curtains, overlay films, etc. side-surfaces of fenestration systems.

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Colours of the surroundings > Flickr image by Darron Birgenheier

Direction of the light is an important consideration for ingress or avoidance direct sunlight. North light (South light in S-hemisphere), are designed to access best natural illumination for industrial plants. East side facing openings allow ‘cool’ brightness in comparison to West faces.

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Darker surface does not equalize the light > Pixabay image

Scattering the light over a wider area achieves equal brightness by avoiding high-low contrast or patchy areas. This is done by multiple openings or by masking the opening with diffuser screens. Scattering is avoided where dramatic effects are intentionally created such as vestibules, entrance halls, etc. Equalization of illumination in space is also achieved by electronic sensors that activate electric illumination in required intensity.

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Taliesin West drafting studio illumination > Wikipedia image by Steven C. Price

Diffusing the intensity of light is resorted to reduce the high level of brightness on summer or clear sky afternoon periods. This is done by automatic masking devices or by baffles or louvers with apertures attuned to non-bright exposure-directions and schedules. Diffusers are also used to reduce the level of brightness in areas that act as transition spaces to darker environments such as auditoriums.

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Strong light source and contrast > Pixabay image (of woman by window)

Calibrating a strong sense directionality with illumination is necessary to reduce the dynamism of direct natural illumination. Architectural openings like doors and windows bring in variations of brightness (movement of clouds), shadows of moving objects (trees, vehicles, other traffic), and variations of colours into the interior spaces. This changeability is often an irritant for work areas like laboratories, libraries, bedrooms, etc. By sourcing the daylight from multiple directions, the illumination can be made static and multilateral.

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Contrast reduced by additional illumination from side openings >Window at the East end of Choir in Month of Feb, Wells Cathedral Somerset > Wikipedia image by IDS.photos from Tiverton, UK

Altering the colour quality where colour perception is important such as in surgical and pathological areas of hospitals, colour and dye manufacturing plants, film and media editing rooms. Here not only the colour must be neutral but consistent. This is achieved by avoiding light reflected from external sources, such as pavings, walls and lawn or green foliage.

Shift the location of the source is important for space planning design at micro level. The available natural source may have strong left or right, up or down delineation and may need the shift of illumination location. This is done by external and internal reflecting surfaces or use of light transmission tubes.

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MASKING of OPENING PART – III – FRAMING

Post 575by Gautam Shah

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Masking is an overlay on an opening such as a window, door or gap. The overlay could be an additional system, opportunistic exploitation of the surroundings, or an arrangement for doctoring the perception. There is an attempt to change the quality of view, such as increasing or decreasing the clarity of view; add directional emphasis, such as horizontal, vertical or some other direction and alter the proportion and scale of the view; to divide the view into smaller geometric or floral sections and to camouflage or conceal the opening itself, the shape, location or purpose.

Framed View

Framed View through Opening > Pixabay image

Masking of openings happens over the gap portion, but Framing of openings occurs on surrounding portions of the gap. Masking and framing often serve similar purposes, which are of camouflaging the shape of the opening. Shape modulation also affects the size perception. Openings gain a tectonic meaning in consonance with the site, the environment, people and other building elements. Primary framing takes place, on how an opening is composed within a barrier system.

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Door Framing II nd Floor Balcony at Palace of Raio > Baroque era Residence at Braga, Portugal > Wikipedia image by Sara silva

Technologically shutters of doors and windows, pivoted or hinged, have been square edged. This in turn forced the shape of openings to be square edged. Doors, windows and gaps, till about pre-gothic period were overawed by the powerful geometry of the squared edges. The only option was to taper the faces of sides and bottom sill. Lintel bottom remained flat, being structurally inviolable. Occasionally stepped or layered lintels were used.

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Gothic window tracery St Mary Church, Snettisham, Norfolk, England > Flickr image by Spencer Means

Square lintels or the round arch-vault, was a necessity for massive Romanesque structures. Gothic period, however, saw some degree of liberation from the square cornered rounded arched openings, mainly due to the thinner walls and use of pointed arch. But this advent was accompanied by shutter-less fixed glass openings. The shuttered opening like doors, however continued to have squared lintel heads, framing and shutters.

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Serrated door Framing Amiens Cathedral > Wikipedia image by Mattana

The square edge, for the first time was consciously and successfully dissolved during the Rococo period. The Rococo period had two important facets: Motifs over interior face of openings in the form of painted stucco work, and architectonic elements and sculptures over the exterior face of the opening. This integration of elements over the openings, however, never transgressed the square edges of the frame or shutter. It had to wait till Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods when few adventuresome breached the omnipresent straight lines of the openings.

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Masking and Framing of Door at Art Nouveau Building from architect Jules Lavirotte Paris France Sculptures by Jean Francois Larrive 1875-1928 > Wikipedia image by Pline

The framing transformations first occurred in the print media, artwork and jewellery items like photo-pendants. Photo and painting frames continued with the squared edges on the inner face. These were of Two types: Tapered inward or outward. Over the period all forms of frames drew inspiration from each other.

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Photo Frame 18 C > Wikipedia image by FA2010

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Photo Frame 18 C France Wikipedia image by FA2010

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Flickr image by Plum leaves

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Photo image Florence > Wikipedia image by FA2010

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Door Frame emulating the Photo Frame 18th C Venice > Wikipedia image by Hiart

Few Art Nouveau experiments altered the door frame and shutters with floral ingress. These experiments saw 3D modulation and integration of the architectonic elements along with masking and framing appendages. These were craft and technology based multi-material solutions devised along with the form of the building -in a way an integrated architectural resolution.

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Bloomsbury Tavern Night view of windows > Flickr image by Eric Huybrechts

Openings have a dual personality, of the inside and outside, and both have been differently treated for functional, technical and scaling reasons. The framing references are different for both. On the interior face great many masking elements including soft furnishings are available to condition the view outward. The options on outer face are fewer, but major one is the day time perception of the opening, in complete contrast to inside illumination at night time.

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New York Times Building NYC Night time > Wikipedia image by Jleon (talk)

The masking of view out or inward, is done through real or make-believe depths formed by repetition of series of identical, receding or increasing frames. Such multiple frames occur in colonnades, corridors, passages, avenues and walkways.

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Corridors of Miranda House Delhi. Repeat elements framing the view >Wikipedia image by Dell335

Framing can provide its own third dimension, or the depth aspect to the opening. The depth aspect was primarily used for inducing a perspective view. Framing took advantage of depth of the massive structure, such as in Romanesque period. The sides, top and bottom edges of the openings, on both the inside and outside faces, were chamfered or cut square. The additional surfaces of intrados and extrados were articulated to not only enhance the perceptible extent of the opening, but treated with sculptural texture for adding to the extent of a visual surface. Side surfaces of the openings created a frame within frame.

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Pediment over openings Siracusa Cathedral Sicily Italy > Wikipedia image by pjt56—

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LEGENDS of OPENINGS – 5

Post 523  by Gautam Shah

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Doors windows, and gaps are elements of human abode in physical and metaphysical sense of living. Adage, Cliche, Proverbs, Metaphors, Epigram, Epithet Idioms, and Folklore are not simply metaphoric means of communication, but dramatize our perception of both, the form and function. Just as an opening represents duality, the experiences are also juxtaposed. We live in world cultural and personal relevance of things. We comprehend the world through such translations then their direct exposure.

Interior of one of the dwellings at the w:Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, New Mexico, USA Wikipedia image

Building elements like walls, columns, roofs etc. are static, and so have some degree of certainty. But doors (and openings like gaps and windows) are points of transition, and have some degree of uncertainty. The uncertainty about the door is personal, due to the dilemma to entry or exit. Windows and doors are cut into a wall, but it is their emptiness that makes the windows and doors useful” -Lao Tzu.

Srirangam Jambukeshwara Temple India Wikipedia image by Author Hari Prasad Nadig

Windows have been used for windowing (throwing away the adversaries, so that they have no chance of returning alive), and so have certainty. Doors are just for ignoramus entry or exit, a non harming and temporary situation, but need not deter any smart aleck. A door forces one to be decisive, because one must never stay put in the door itself, trouble lurks from both directions. Seating on a door threshold is considered inauspicious. ‘The doorstep is the highest of all mountains’. The bride is carried across it, because she must not be allowed to have any second thoughts.

Entrance to Monastery 1, Ratnagiri, Jajpur, Orissa, India Author Tessarman

Doors, windows and gaps are meaningless without the walls. The irresolute exit from an opening takes one to a very wild ground, but a decisive one that offers a bridgehead of hope. Such a bridgehead leads to a narrow passage with dangers of falling off it. It rarely offers option of backtracking to the reality of home. ‘One can tell the truth by standing against the door of room’, and still escape to save own-self. The door also takes one out to exploration of an illusive opportunity or intangible entity. It is said ‘look left and right before knocking on a door’, and ‘pause for moment after entering a door’. The entry through a door can be to a world of treachery and deceit, so ‘trade the tread carefully’.

Upload Wikipedia image by Author Selena N. B. H. from Fayetteville, USA

Insiders know that misfortune only come in when the door is open. ‘Even the luck stops at the door, and inquires whether prudence is within’. ‘If fortune is due, it will not break the roof or wall to arrive’. What you can inquire at a window cannot be sought at the door. It is at the door the alienation begins to manifest. When a ‘door fails to open to your knock, consider your reputation’. The key or permission to enter a door or a domain is given to a known person. To enter a premise, one needs to be consecrated by a person of authority, which means the visitor agrees to abide by the rules that prevail within. When the door was opened from within, it had the potential to lead someplace quite different.” -Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone.

Traveler at the cottage door by Artist Isaac van Ostade (1621–1649) Wikipedia image

Gaps in a maze can lead you from one to another in perpetuity, and so must be marked on both the faces. This is also true of internal doors, one never know, whether one is entering or leaving.

southernmost door to the dining room at the Springwood estate of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Wikipedia-Flickr image by Tim Evanson

Mystically, an open door represents good fortune, a new opening in life, or a desire to open up the feelings. A revolving door means a monotonous period ahead and a trap door predicts shocking news. A door knob means unexpected good luck, and hinges bring family problems. A locked door shows missed opportunities, denial of opportunities, or can represent ‘need to close the door over the past’.

Yueh Hai Ching Temple Wikipedia image by Author Terence Ong

A door opening outward may show that one needs to be more accessible to others. However, an inward opening door may represent the desire for inner exploration and self-discovery. For the Japanese ‘the door to happiness opens outward. A door simply imposes itself upon the room when it opens inward. Having the door open inwards has the outside intruding upon the inside’. A front door is a normal entrance, and a back door a nominal one. A house with one door is a preferred abode. Evil spirits enter the house from a back door.

Naguleswaram entrance, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Wiki-Flickr image by Author Indi Samarajiva

‘He who is outside the door has already a good part of his journey behind him. A person outside the door is more courageous than the one on inside, but we trust the later, over the former’.

“The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less sure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.” Aldus Huxley, The Doors of Perception.

ShaniwarWada Hall Pune India Wikipedia image by Author Sivaraj D

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MASKING of OPENINGS Part – II

Post 520  by Gautam Shah

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Openings are masked, framed juxtaposed, positioned, arrayed, disguised and concealed to add specific functionality. At practical level a layer directly alters the quality of the opening, but at metaphoric level it changes the meaning of the opening. The abstract modifiers include the vista effects of the openings.

Lattice mask over opening >> Lavatory at Seonamsa is a Korean Seonam Buddhist temple on the eastern slope at the west end of Mount Jogye > Wikipedia image by Author Steve46814

Openings masked by Cement concrete Lattice > High Court Building Chandigadh India by Le Corbusier Wikipedia image by Author Sanyam Bahga

Openings are masked to doctor the view to the outside or inside. It could be as an overlay to change the quality of view, to shape the view to horizontal, vertical or some other emphasis, to proportion and scale the view, to divide the view into smaller sections and to occlude or filter the view. Openings are masked to regulate the transitions occurring through it of people, goods, air, moisture, illumination, noise, etc. Openings are masked to adjust their dissimilar colour, texture, etc. from surrounding elements.

Gothic window tracery, the Church of St Mary, Snettisham, Norfolk, England FLICKR image by Spencer Means

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Openings are ‘masked’ through means of disguise for altering or concealing their true form, function and location. Masking for styling with forms, patterns or motifs is common in articulated architectures. Openings are potential points of unauthorized entry-exit and so need to be masked with electronic surveillance. ‘Masking of opening’ is also done by contextual placement of architectural and other elements. These elements physically and metaphorically act as a reference to denote not only the holistic perception of the opening, but transitions through the openings.

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Openings have a dual personality of inside and outside phase, and nominal masking can also occur on one or both the phases. Masking systems, however, do take advantage of the third dimension, or the depth aspect of the openings. The depth aspect induces a perspective view, where the sides are also visible, adding to the extent of a visual surface, and creating a frame within frame view. This effect is enhanced by chamferring the sides and top-bottom. The chamferring increases the view of exterior from inside, and if on inside face it adds to perceptual illumination.

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Opening masking systems are used to frame and overlay the view. Traceries have been used in Gothic windows. Torans have been used in Indian doors. Grills are used to impose patterns on the view. Translucent curtains are used to tone the level of brightness. In future, perhaps a video screen will not only project the external view, but suitably change the hue and tone quality. Modern surveillance tools are intervening controllers, but could also be made energy adding-subtracting devices to modify the environment.

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The openings gain a tectonic meaning by their size, relative proportion to surrounding architectural features, colour, texture, shadows, contrasts, manners of arraying, repeated motifs or features, placement or siting, position (horizontal-vertical) and location. As an architectural composition the opening flourishes in consonance with the site, the environment, people and other building elements. Somewhere the differentiated meaning of outside versus inside begins to dissolve through visual and other perceptual reflections. The physical means of masking are giving way to energy induced effects.

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