LEGENDS of OPENINGS – 4

Post 495  by Gautam Shah

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A front door is a normal entrance and opportunities arrive from it, but a back door is a nominal exit for the luck to run out. A locked front door means missing the opportunities, but an open backdoor mean someone is stealing your secrets. Front doors have protective deities (dwarpal-Hindi), so evil spirits know that this has many possibilities. Back doors do not need a door-guardian, as gossip mongers, never leave it alone, even for a while. Gods may close one door to open another. In Hindi it is said ‘Khuda chappar fadake deta hai’ meaning ‘if God is willing, gives by breaking the roof’. So God does not need an open door invitation to come to your place, but Christ expects, ‘I am the door,’ and ‘no one comes to the Father but through Me.’

Wayna Picchu viewed from Machu Picchu’s access gate > Wikipedia Author Martin St-Amant (S23678)

A door involves a change of state. It offers hope, new life or fresh beginning from the wilderness, but may take one into an unfamiliar realm. On entering a door one achieves a communion with the creator, but most spiritual leaders had to go out of it for the Nirvana. At mundane level, the door illuminates and ventilates a space. It provides visual engagement, but also causes social interference, intrusions, acoustical disturbance and penetration of pollutants.

Mahadeva Temple at Itagi (or Ittagi) in the Koppal district of Karnataka state, India from Wikipedia Author Dineshkannambadi

 A door leads from one space to another space. It should have dual expression of the interior as well as the exterior. The closed or false door of the burial chamber has a hypothetical reality of another world. The exterior or beyond the false door, life manifests as supernatural, unpredictable, full of dilemmas. And to contrast it the chamber interior is made with rich ways of life, virtues, good manners, exemplary behaviour and abundance. Temples and other religious places have elaborate door faces. The doors’ motifs, each represents a microcosm of divine life. There are doors within portals, where one can enter, but unlikely to escape.

828px-Hamilton_Hotel_-_3rd_floor_corridor_-_Portland_OregonIn real buildings a door leads you to other doors. But such halls or vestibules can have few doors leading out. Corridors offer long rows of doors. The doors in corridors, unlike their counterpart in halls, always remain closed, and are full of intrigue and enemies lurking behind. That is the reason why Romans expected every honourable citizen to keep the doors open. An open street door showed a willingness to serve the community participate fully in political and social life. A place of concealment was a place of potential revolution. To keep the doors open and still have some visual privacy the doors were buffered with depth, fauces and atrium. The family members, neighbours and other regular visitors however, used a simpler side or back door set flush with the street, but left ajar. The front entrance door was a decorative entryway flanked by half columns or pilasters to create a picture-like frame. It was without a guard, except drawn or a mosaic motif of a dog.In Roman culture, the front door was always open to a stranger and community but to understand and be treated equal to the family, one had to approach from other means’.

The exterior of the domus depicting the entrance with ostium > Wikipedia by Author Stepan Bakalovich

Early doors were pivoted, and usually without a door frame. The architectural masonry sides provided a portal like framing. This masonry framing acted as a stopper for the pivoted shutter with opening inward or outward. But a door opening outward or inward, has been judged differently. 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. Roman houses had doors that opened inward. Roman society permitted only rare individuals of high honour to have doors that opened out on to the Street. Plutarch wrote that the Romans complimented Marcus Valorous, a founder of the Roman Republic, was allowed a house with doors opening outwards as perpetual recognition of his merit.

Drawing of a typical roman atrium house. From Wikipedia by Author Tobias Langhammer

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’. Feudal schools of etiquette prescribe all kinds of norms for opening a door and coming into a room. Sukisha, well-bred people use the hand, nearest the door to open it a few inches (the length of a forefinger, to be exact) and then switch hands to slide it back the rest of the way. A man is judged by how he opens a door and a woman by how she shuts. This is so because in a room with a group of men, a woman served the food and take a leave. A woman would be observed closing the door behind her with grace. The balanced and graceful action of folding down on one’s knees on the floor, moving into a room, keeping at a level equal to others already in the room, were part of larger ceremony. The skills of opening and closing a sliding Japanese doors are part of reishiki, proper form or etiquette.

5 Uhr-Tee in Japan! In feierlicher Zeremonie wird dem Gastgeber ein Teepäckchen überreicht, welcher von dem Hausherrn äusserst geschmackvoll eigenhändig zubereitet wird.

There have been doors that have defied the explicit facility of inward-outward opening. The sliding doors did not impinge the exterior or interior space, nor did they force a person to move backward. The saloon or bar-doors were half shutters, moving both-ways. In US the revolving doors were marketed with a lot of hype, as ‘doors that always remain closed’.

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FRAMING of OPENINGS

Post 490  –by Gautam Shah

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Openings systems like gaps, doors, and windows are see-through entities. These are transit routes for many purposes. The openings are framed and masked with supplementary elements to doctor the transition taking place. The transitions to be proctored are two-way of people, other beings, goods, illumination, view, privacy, air-ventilation, moisture, rains, snow, dust, smell, noise, etc. Other purposes include, imposition of patterns, grids, proportions, contrasts, styles, make or break monotony of compositions, create or diffuse focuses.

Corner point view from Flatiron Building NY > Wikipedia pic by Author : nautical2k

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Framing is distinct from Masking of openings, though at some level they assimilate to serve the similar purposes. Framing is an obvious characteristic of an opening. Openings have their sides and mid members within the view cone depending on the point of observation. In high-rise buildings where an exterior surface is formed of many and extensive windows framing of openings in a coordinated grid and may follow the discipline of the structure, or ignore it, and mount a false facade.

Gate d’Amboise in the Old town of Rhodes, Greece >Pic Author : Bernard Gagnon Wikipedia

The main gate, Schloss Belvedere, Vienna

An opening or a gap, be it a natural one or formed into built-form, has an implicit frame. The frame is defined by the strong surroundings, and through the depth of the gap or passage. For framing, natural openings have only sides and no head, but in built form openings, the head and threshold, both are as essential as the sides. Framing delineates an opening. Gates have dominant bastions to frame its importance. Egyptian temple doors have abutting pylons. Gothic doors are framed with several layers of receding serrations. The frame not only delineates an opening but enhances its size manifold. Fatehpur Sikri Mosque, India, has a real entry door of human scale, but that has been framed by very large portal. Architraves, borders, trims, casings, beading and masonry elements such as pilasters are used to reinforce the framing.

Buland Darwaza gate to Jami mosque, Fatehpur Sikiri, India. Pic Author: Marcin Bialek Wikipedia

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Framing effect of opening is enhanced by highlighting the depth-sides. The sides are fluted, serrated or panelled, vaulted or chamfered to increase the surface area. The opening structures such as the frame are placed either on outside or inside the edge to increase the effect of bounding. The exterior niches get enhanced due to deeper shadows in locations where Sun is usually bright. Interior bays must be matched with interior space making elements. Strong interior bay of openings disturb the wall mural painting. Interior alcoves in clerestory openings are not preferred as these arrangement forms highly articulated an interior surface, often diffusing the importance of architectural elements like domes, vaults, etc.

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Windows of Secretariat Building Le Corbusier Chandigarh India

Openings are framed to capture, enhance or specify a view, both outside and inside. The framing here works like a mask to mould the view. Nominally a landscape has three horizontal segments, consisting of view down of terrain, straight taking in the horizon and upwards capturing the sky. These three are modelled in the opening gap by way of actual framing or metaphoric clues. View-out presents a wide spectrum, and to model it from an interior focal point is difficult for modelling or framing, however view-in a fixed and narrow scene, framing is easier, provided in-view is brighter like of Chowk or courtyard.

Inside the 360 Restaurant in the CN Tower Wikipedia

Jeronimos Monastery Lisbon Portugal

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LEGENDS of OPENINGS -3 Door and the Sun

Post 481 –by Gautam Shah

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Sun Temple

The Door and the Sun are omnipresent in this world. The Sun relates to the horizon, from where it appears. And the Door in spite of its portal of sides and threshold is held by the lintel head. The skyline is a reachable limit, but the lintel head makes a door godly or human. For Gods, the threshold is inessential but for mortals it is ubiquitous hurdle and challenge. The sun rises at the edge of the earth, at different points and time, but its reincarnation is inevitable, yet reassuring. Mystically the sun opens the door with a new day of changed fortunes.

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Helios Greek God on Chariot (Greco-Roman mythology) NW pediment of temple of Athena in Ilion (Troy)

The sun takes many forms of travel across the sky, some realistic and other symbolic. Sun flies like an eagle, swims like a crocodile, drifts like a tortoise, ride a regal chariot with seven horses, floats with a boat or glides on the light rays. The sun’s passage has also been represented through flying, moving and rotating objects such as the wheel or dharma chakra, flag, toran, festoons, light mobile objects and shiny metal spirals. The sun’s rises in distant hills, ocean or landmarks but its arrival is celebrated as a passage through some built-forms such as an opening, gate, portal, arch, door, a colonnade of pillars or obelisks.

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Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu emerging from a cave or opening bringing out sunlight back to Universe

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Pharaoh Akhenaten and family worshiping the opening, the Aten with rays emanating from the solar disk

The Chariot of Greek solar deity Helios

Helios, a Greek solar deity drove a fiery chariot through the heaven by day, but at night floated back across the ocean in a golden bowl. The Egyptian Ra. swept across the sky in the sun-boat. The Japanese Sun, the king of nature comes like a bird, and roots over the bent beams of the Tori gate.

Shimogamo Jinja no Tori

Early Egyptian places of worship were entered through a cleavage formed by parallel pylons. It had set of shuttered doors at the bottom, just of height to conceal the magical ceremony preparations. The lower shuttered portion was for the mortals, but upper section was left open for the Sun god to enter. Ordinary mortals need a threshold, a mark of opening, but an ethereal god like Sun or Ra. needs no threshold. The god Ra. enters from high up so required no lintel or door head.

Ra in his solar boat

Egyptian’s temples and tombs had two openings: the East and the West one. The East door was real, for the dead body and soul to arrive. But the West door was a false or make-believe entity, known as ‘Ka door’. It allowed the Ka (the soul) to pass through onto an eternal journey. The False door was not a replica of the real door, but a metaphoric presentation of exit or departure. It had an offering niche, for real and imitative offerings, a stela with hieroglyphic inscriptions that contained the wishes for the afterlife and prayers or entreaty. It was a threshold between the world of the living and the dead.

Stele_or_False_Door_to_a_Tomb_by_Boston_Public_Library

False Door

Peruvian people, believe in a prophesy that God will appear in the light ship through the portal called ‘Gate of the God. It is a gateway to the lands of the Gods. The legend tells about heroes who had gone through it for a new life of immortality, and occasionally return to check the affairs of the kingdom.

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Peru Door of the God

The idea of return fills the mortals with hopes. A door is duality of two heads of Janus (the God of doors), as that of Sun and Moon. A door is as much for departure, as for return, or as in Sanskrit for Aagaman and Nirgaman. But life after death is uncertain, so complete your home duties before you step out and accomplish your tasks before you step in the door. Christ says ’small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it’ (Matthew 7:14).

Inspiration for Mid Lands

Author J.R.R. Tolkien (of Hobbit, 37, Lord of the Rings and Silmarillion) talks of Door of Night and Door of the Day.

The Sun was to pass through the Door of Night as it travelled above Arda. When the Sun passed through the Door, night would fall upon Middle-earth. The Moon would then rise from its resting place and continue on its path over the Earth. The Sun would traverse the border of the Wall of the World, re-entering the world in the East, at the Gates of Morning. At the same time the Moon would be sinking in the West and a new day would begin’.

Gateway of the Sun from the Tiwanku civilization in Bolivia (restored version)

Rear view 1903

Sun God Image over Door Head

Dharma Chakra Sanchi India

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A high level object reveals the arrival of sun. It could be a dynamic object flying in the air and scintillating in the golden dawn, or static, gilded and decorated door head. The moving Dharma-Chakra of the Buddhist temples and stupas and over a Stambha -pillar had this purpose. Sun rays also shined the metal-clad tops of tall obelisks. It also lit up the moving flags, torans and festoons. The door heads had Sun, symbolically as eagles, rayed globe or heads. A Canton tomb door head is sculpted with the sun rising from the clouds. A falcon headed sun god Horus, after a battle with darkness took the shape of a human-headed lion, the sphinx or ‘sun on the horizon.’

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LEGENDS of OPENINGS -2 God of doors -JANUS

Post 457 –by Gautam Shah

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Janus-VaticanIn Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings. Janus symbolized change and transitions such as: the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, and of one universe to another. He represented the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood. He was worshipped at the beginnings of all events like planting and harvesting, births, marriages, etc. The cult of Janus dates back to a period even before founding of Rome. Janus has no equivalent god in Greek mythology. The oldest lists of Roman gods began with Janus. He was surnamed ‘divom deus’, an ancient Latin form meaning ‘the god’s god’. Lord Ganesh, elephant headed God of Indian mythology has many similarities with Janus. Ganesh is the presiding deity, and first to be invoked in all ceremonies. Presence of Ganesh is considered auspicious for all beginnings and is symbolically represented at the door-head. Ganesh is called Devadhi-Dev or God of the gods.janus-91

Ganesha_statue,_Asian_Civilisations_Museum_Singapore_-_20061231Rome had many freestanding ceremonial gates (‘jani’) that were marks of auspicious beginnings, departure and return from victory, as entrance and exit. One of the famous jani, Janus-Geminus was a shrine at the north side of the forum.

Temple_Janus_Autun_31640px-Autun_Temple_Janus_PA00113101_01_JPMJanus was depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. Some believe Janus represents sun and moon. ‘Janus Geminus’ -Bifrons the two-faced Janus was replaced by -Quadrifrons the four-faced Janus, by emperor Domitian. The two-sided gates began to be four faced structures. Four forums were erected such as, Forum of Peace, Forum Transitorium, Forum of Julius Caesar, and Roman Forum.

17th_Century_Statue_of_Hanuman_and_Bhairav_(Hanu-Bhairav),_two_gods_in_One

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Four sided Buddha Head

A Typical Janus temple had a square room, a dual faced Janus statue or bust in the center, and two doors, (called Gates of war or peace) on opposite sides. The main street or forum side door (some claim both the doors) was kept open during war, so that he could easily intervene. The doors and gates were closed during peace. ‘The gates were closed to keep the War in’, or as stated exactly opposite by Ovid and Horace, ‘it is Peace that is kept inside the temple of Janus’. Symbolically Janus is represented by a Key.

Temple of Janus

Janus is remembered for the month of January. The fingers of Janus’ hands were placed in strange positions, which Pliny interpreted as an indication of the number 355, a reference to the number of days of the oldest Roman calendar. It is also suggested that origin of the name of the Italian city of Genoa is a derivation of Janus.

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GateOfAugustus

Concept of Holy duality Multi plurality is common across many cultures and religions. The duality represents alter ego or two facets of beliefs. Duality occurs in physical forms with two facets like sides of the path, doors or contradicting positions like heaven-hell. Many Indian Gods have such double (Dvi-Mukha or Anga like dwarpal -the doorkeepers), triple (Tri-Mukha like Brahma and Dattatreya) or four-way forms (Chatur-Mukha).

ArdhNarishwer Half Shiv Half Parvati.

LEGENDS of OPENINGS -1

Post 440 – by Gautam Shah

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A gap or overlapping edges of barriers allow us to experience the other side. It is through such openings that one senses the change of state. An opening is always a smaller element than the mother barrier. In spite of its size subjugation it is far more powerful in effect. An opening presents three facets, one of this side, the other side, and the verge. This side is the familiar and protected one, and is the ’in-side’. The other side is unknown and a dangerous realm, and the ‘out-sides’. And the verge is a dilemmatic position, and it is prudent before crossing it. Verge delays the transit through the opening, as here one has to fearlessly step forward or cowardly draw backward.

A MountainPass

The opening and the barrier, exist together, and both could be real or allegorical. But openings in real barriers have also been exclusively symbolic. Openings are synonymous with many objects and expressions, such as entrance, gate, gateway, passage, portal, access, bridgehead, adit, admission, admittance, ingress and way. Openings through the allegory of inside-outside portray, respectively, a built or enclosed space, and open terrain. Openings also represent a domain for compliance or submission, for being responsible and waiting for permission or opportunity to leave or enter.

A Gap in the barrier system.JPG

Openings have been part of our folklore and legends, often with diverse meanings. Openings have been dealt in their interior as well as exterior expressions. The interior expressions of the opening relate to way of life, virtues, good manners, exemplary behaviour, restraints, and exterior manifests as supernatural, unpredictable, dilemmas. Out-sides are stepping out to freedom, or being kicked out of the safety. In-sides are invitation to warmth, or going to a confinement.

ART by Richard Burchett Sanctuary (1867) contrasts

A’raf (Arabic =The Heights) is the Muslim realm, described as a high curtain or wall with an opening, between hell and paradise. It allows simultaneous experience of terror of hell and the beauty of paradise to inhabitant, whose sins and virtues are balanced.

The Dilemma of crossing the verge

Tolkien (of Lord of the Rings) inverts the usual association of being inside’ with safety, and being outside with danger. Inside is lurking with unknown dangers, and the outside is an escape to freedom. Forests are entrance points and open lands exit points. And yet he depicts entry to a forest, water body, caves, and barrows as entering into a dark unknown place and coming out into the open light of the fields, is to have survived the dark dangers of woods, water, and earth with newly gained knowledge and confidence. Tolkien uses the openings in various physical constructs, metaphysical effects and metaphorical forms. He uses the opening (directly or indirectly to a door, window, gate, or other passageway) as lead to a change in a character’s state. The sketches of ‘before and afterwards’ of tunnels, caves, and mines, represent what was before against what new things wait on the other side. It is the realm of conflict.

Torii Gate.jpg

In literature barriers are thresholds that represent the dichotomies of safety, danger, control, chaos, inclusion and exclusion. A barrier without any opening is epitomized in the classical Indian Epic Ramayana, Sita, the wife of Lord Rama, is barred by a drawn line (by her brother-in-law) a Laxman-Rekha, restricting her movement beyond it. A territorial mark on the ground that defines whether one is included or excluded from the macrocosm. Here the threshold exists in spite there being no physical barrier. In other words, we must cross the thresholds that paradoxically lead us both, outward and inward, and to a deeper understanding of our strengths, weaknesses and recognition of our relationships with the cosmos.

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In movies a passage or opening is a portent of change, new happening or a move forward. An opening framed as the backdrop of a character translates as the impediment, but the same in-front of the character shows a victory at hand.

Balinese split gate

City Gate Towers Romania

An opening in a barrier is a facility to transit. Where the transit takes time, it becomes a passage. The passage as a stretched verge (threshold) affects the transition taking place. Openings are marked by their sides or the frame. The floor (plain, ramped, stepped or a mountable hindrance) is a primary transit facility. The possibility of exchange is reinforced by the sides of the barrier. The framing with the floor and sides causes a recognizable opening such as a valley, cliff, gorge, or walkway. The opening is caused primarily by the formatted sides and then by the transit-able floor. The Egyptian temple entrances consist of tall sides formed by a pair of columns, pylons or obelisks. The lintel or head is architecturally less significant, just incidental.

Luxor Temple Pylons and obelisk

Henrik B. Lindskoug while studying the prehistoric site Pichao, NW Argentina, raises questions like: Where do entrances lead? Where are they located? What do they connect? Are paths leading between different entrances? Is there some way of controlling the paths? Who had access to the entrances and the paths? Where are they placed? What is the size of the entrances? Is there a reason behind the size of the entrances? How were they used?

King's Cross Fiction mixing into Reality panoramio

At mundane level, an opening is entry-exit of a built-form. It serves many functions such as control over illumination, intrusion, acoustical disturbance, visual engagement, social interference and movement of air and pollution and thermal emission. At symbolic level it offers hope, new life or fresh beginning, isolation from the familiar, ventures into unknown, initiation into mysteries, fear and expanded communications. At spiritual level it provides an encounter with the supernatural, a communion and unification with the creator (Christ -I am the door).

Machu Picchu door.jpg

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AWNINGS or SHADING DEVICES

Post 398 – by Gautam Shah 

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Yonge_Street_crowd_celebrating_the_end_of_the_Boer_War

Awnings are sun and snow shading devices of flexible fabric or sheet material that can be rolled or folded back when not required. Awnings are as old as human civilization. First awnings were of hides or woven mats to provide shade at select locations against solar and rain exposure. In ancient Egyptian, Syrian and many other ancient civilizations, awnings were used for shading market stalls.

outside an Indian dyer’s house

One of the earliest awnings like shading device was the Roman Velarium over the Colosseum. It provided both shade and slight protection from rain, although the main use of the Velarium was to create ventilation updraft, creating circulation and a cool breeze. Velarium effectively shaded one-third of the arena and seating and another third was shaded by the high surrounding walls. It could be extended or retracted with ropes and pulleys according to the position of the sun. To hold the Velarium 250 sockets were provided on the outer structure of Colosseum. The fabric panels were of triangular shape, wider at the top and narrower at the bottom, for easy retraction. Awnings were also a common feature of all Roman theatres and amphitheatres.

Concept model of Colosseum Velarium

From the word Velarium (from velare to cover) it is believed that sailors, with their background in sail-making and rigging were employed to build, maintain and operate the structure. Roman poet Lucretius (50BC) describes ‘Linen-awning, stretched, over mighty theatres, gives forth at times, a cracking roar, when much ’tis beaten about, betwixt the poles and crossbeams.

Marriage Mandap or Shamiyana

Ancient Indian texts describe a form of Mandapa (or Mantapa)of temporary nature with four corner supports of wood or bamboo. Chandani (literally moon-shade, or chandarava) is an Indian shading structure, tied by four stretched strings, has been described in ancient Jain literature.

Indian Miniature painting

Mughal miniature paintings show Shamiana or Pandal is a tent shelter for daytime and evening entertainment. Shamiana was used as temporary resting place by royals when on the move. The external fabrics of velvet were multicoloured with exquisite designs. Shamiana are supported with four wooden poles, and often an extra central one like a tent.

visit of Viceroy to Maharaja of Kashmir under a shamiana

Awnings are shading devices placed over openings like doors, windows and shop fronts. Awnings are also used for forming the entrance spaces like porch, verandah or porticoes. Awnings permit shop keepers and restaurant owners to stretch their premises. It shades the glass fronts, keeps away the glare and allows greater visibility to goods displayed in deep interiors. Awnings allow personalization of the shop or restaurant by its form and colour. In Asia awnings or shades create a place of merchandising on any open grounds, and so fairs, festivals and holiday markets are entirely formed of such temporary structures.

Ritz Hotel Paris

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Awnings, have been consistently used in various climates of the world. In Asian bazars awnings have been in use for many centuries, for summer sun shading and rain shading during monsoons, but became very popular during the early 1900’s when shop windows or shop fronts became possible with the economic availability of clear large sized glass.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth Inaugural Address, shows the White House’s south face before the Truman Balcony was built

Awnings are used to extend the buildings. Early awnings had hard wood or bamboo as front cross bar, whereas the support edge was secured by grommets (eyelets) and hooks, or tied by laces to the head rod or support bar. The front end was supported either by inclined spears or metal posts.

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Awnings as Hard awnings are made from stiffer sheet materials and have rigid and permanent support system. Awnings with column or bracket supports are canopies. In India hard awnings are also called Chhajjas.

Awning Shangrila hotel in Paris

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A canopy is a fixed awning like structure, supported on all sides. Canopies are used to extend the shaded space near an opening system. Canopies are used to cover the passageways or car drive bays. Canopies are demountable and foldable but not necessarily retractable or collapsible like an awning. Dutch type or canopy awnings are similar to a perambulator hood, with an umbrella like folding frames.

Structure of an awning is very light. It has a flexible cover and a very light weight support frame that can be retracted or folded. The cover is made with a canvas or similar heavy duty fabric of cotton, polyester or polypropylene fibres. Layered composites of fabrics and polymer sheets, and coated fabrics are also used. Modern awnings are of single colour or with stripes of two or more colours. Awnings often have a festoon, valance or Toran like borders at its front edge. Awnings on shops, restaurants and hotels have their name and logo on the roof face and on the front edge.

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BEVELLED GLASS in DOORS and WINDOWS

Post 393 – by Gautam Shah 

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A bevelled glass is made by dressing or grinding the edge or sections of a design with a slope, chamfering or an angled edge to create special effects. The edge dressing creates a prism like effect and alters the way light refracts while passes through the glass or reflect of the surface. Bevelling splits the light into unusual patterns including a rainbow of colours. Bevelled glass is installed in doors and windows to add dynamism to daylight illumination of a room. There were few other techniques of treating the glass, like fire finish, etc. for special lighting effects. These were devised as soon as glass for windows matured in quality.

Green Roman glass cup unearthed at Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD) tomb, Guangxi, China

Early glass, such as of Romans was mainly in the form of fuzzy disks that were inserted in terraces, arched barrels and domed roofs for illumination of interiors. These were very fuzzy or low intensity illuminating devices. Glass disks were polished to reduce the fuzziness due to the surface or casting related impurities. Irregularities related to manufacturing were of several types, such as the colourant contamination, bubbles or casting -moulding methods. In spite of grinding, all of these could not be eliminated so easily. Clear glass panes of some translucency were first made by blowing it to thin walled cylinders or bulbs, then cut and flattened. These, 3rd C, methods gave clearer glass, because it was of a thinner body and larger in size than the cast disks. These panes were placed in structured punctures as a fixed panels. The glass was more translucent but visually very hazy.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The hazy glasses, however, provided wonderful glow to interiors. The costs were prohibitive due to the rarity, high cast of installation and need for frequent replacement. The ‘daytime glowing glass’ had inconsistent levels of impurities. An opening with several such panes would look fairly patchy, but this was camouflaged with glass colourants. The colourants or staining compounds offered a palette of colours.

The stained glass provided a daytime glow to the interiors, but it was not a working level of illumination. The increased openings’ size and larger glazed extent provided sufficient interior illumination on clear day and for few hours of daytime exposure. This problem was solved by using lighter tones of colours than the ‘pot’ glass, and by leaving substantial sections of image backgrounds (other than the holy images) of colourless glass.

Typical fuzzy glass in the 14th century Lyme Regis watermill, UK.

The Church interiors began to use glasses of lighter colours and plain glasses. These reduced the overpowering effect of colour in the interior space, allowing gilding and other ornamental details to be seen and also permitting the building to glow on outside, at night with interior lighting. It also allowed the reappearance of wall paintings, and colouring of architectonic interior elements.

Elegant figures in subdued colours. 1890

The glass as produced by cylinder or crown method was hazy, with marks of flutes but fairly colourless. It was of small sized panes. The panes were joined together with lead cames. The lead cames which earlier, marked the free flowing strong defining lines of the image, were now grid forms. American colonial sash windows represent the classic grid. The glass, of the industrial revolution period had manufacturing defects such as lines, flutes and rings. It was not possible to view the exterior as one large picture across the leads. The leads’ grid however imposed a visual discipline, rest of the disguising was achieved by thin see-through curtains and by painting the windows white.

Stenciled quarries of cathedral glass, c. 1900

During the industrial revolution period clear quality glasses of very large sizes began to be available. Very large and absolutely flawless, water white clear glass had its own problems of acceptance. It was too clear for the interior privacy, and provided no framing or visual masking over the view to outside. The problem was partly solved by installing curtains with both sides having visual appeal. Its appearance was rather too consistent.

Bluecoat Chambers in Liverpool, 1717

Some longed for the dynamism of variegated glass and visual masking. These two elements were provided by engraving and etching the glass surface with textures and patterns. To this was added the technique of glass bevelling. Glass bevelling is done in THREE basic manners. Edges of the glass panes are bevelled, very much like the wood panels in a door. Glasses are bevelled grooved by engraving. And the glasses are overlayed by smaller pieces of bevelled edged shapes.

St Nicholas Church Moreton Dorset

Bevelled glasses are used for doors, windows and partition panels. The bevelled glass is often additionally treated with grinding, etching, engraving, and painted staining work. Bevelled glass was favoured as it provided occlusion for privacy and isolation, but nowadays window glasses with various levels of tinting, metallic sprays, polyester films, etc. provide the same facility. Bevelled glass is still unrivalled in terms refracting the light in a spectrum of colours and dynamism.

Engraving on Glass

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NATURE OF OPENINGS

NATURE OF OPENINGS

Post 392 ⇒   by Gautam Shah 

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An opening is any space or gap within a barrier. An opening is meaningful so far it is in a barrier. The opening could be a ‘puncture’, surrounded by the barrier on all its sides, or a cleavage between two barriers. Openings are also called ports, as across the opening one can ‘board’ a new system. An opening is called a passageway, as this is the only way, one can, transit a territory.

Chaco Canyon Pueblo Bonito doorways

An opening can never be larger or equal to a barrier within which it resides. All physical openings have a finite size. A smaller opening makes a barrier system very evident, whereas a large opening or multiple openings make barriers less effective. Opening systems are also ineffective in transparent, translucent or frequently interrupted (broken or discontinuous) barriers. A room with a lattice wall all around has no need for a window, or a glass cabin has no need for an opaque (solid) door.

Manhattan Bridge Arch and Colonnade

Openings are defined by superlative structures to denote the presence and control the activities occurring through it. The superlative structures over passageways such as Gates, Gateways or Doorways are large in size and very distinctively formed. Formal structures have shutter devices whereas symbolic structures are simple openings. Nominally a passage is a linear entity, and so do the gates have singular passage. Cross junctions of passages require four or more sided gates.

Multiple Openings

The superlative structures function as control Gateways over openings. Such openings’ control the transactions, by way of the size, volume, temporal rate of passage and the qualitative nature of things. The transactions across the openings are of two ways, exit and entry types, and so the controls are also dualistic.

Gates with sensors

Gates with minimal structure

All communication channels have Gateways, from where the traffic gets diverted to appropriate channels and portals where divergent traffic gets ‘routed. These gateways register size of individual transactions, time of arrival-departure and source-destination of traffic. But most importantly there are ‘protocols’ that check whether the destined item has reached or not.

Surveillance gates or ports

In buildings openings like Gates, Doors, Windows, Ventilators, Gaps, Cracks, Crevices and Punctures all denote physical entities, but there are innumerable imperceptible points where observance and control occur. The sensors, cameras, readers, etc., are concealed, made minute in size and programmed so that ‘Gates’ structures are not imminent.

Openings in buildings have facilities for allowing sunlight, air, sounds and for framing view of the outside. The openings also create architectural patterns, compositions through scaling and proportioning, endow specific style character, affinities and identities. The openings occur in a barrier system as a connecting threshold or edge between two distinct worlds, but their own presence assumes many different guises. An opening is designed to be a distinct medium investing a nature of relationship between spatial domains.

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WINDOWS and VENTILATION

Post 280 – by Gautam Shah

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Windows served two main functions for interior spaces: Ventilation and Illumination. To this was added the view out with the advent of glass. The window became part of shop front and it served the purpose of view in.

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For several centuries a window was a minor entity for Illumination of domestic interiors. The door provided enough day time illumination. Domestic finer activities, such as the needle craft were conducted just inside or outside the threshold of the door. In deeper spaces, such as inner rooms, roof holes provided basic illuminance. In early public buildings, illumination was provided through smaller openings covered with parchment or alabaster. The areas of window opening though small, was distributed over a larger surface made available through increased interior heights.

Door as the only opening in the dwelling

In a tropical house admission of light is usually accompanied by heat gain, but the breeze coming through a door balances the interior environment. In tropical climates interiors tend to be darker to reduce the heat gain compared to colder climates where greater illumination is perceived as warmth. Naturally illuminated lit spaces are perceived to be healthier.

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Ventilation in extreme climates such as very warm and cold, occurs through the temperature gradient between outside and inside. In hot and humid climates, the temperature gradient is not acute enough to cause natural air movement of a sufficient quantum. The need for large volume air movement is significant for moisture control in hot humid areas.

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Ventilation requirements of an interior space vary depending on the number of occupants, nature of indoor cooking activities, fuels used for indoor heating and cooking, duality of distinct entry and exit points, the structure of the dwelling and scope for micro passive ventilation. To a smaller extent the ventilation needs are governed by the siting of the dwelling, such as the densely populated urban colony. Ventilation also depends on the nature of opening (cracks, crevices, holes), size of opening, number, distribution, location, orientation, and external climatic conditions (snow, rain, windy).

Micro ventilation

Cracks and gaps being unintentional are usually insufficient for heavier needs of ventilation and cooling or heating of spaces such as for toilets, kitchens, production areas and public spaces. Planned openings like windows on external face provide for such needs at the location, elevation, depth and in required quantity (such as a rate of air change -dilution, and the rate of air flow). The effectiveness of windows in achieving desired ventilation depends also on which windows are opened, how far they open, and the nature of shutter fixing.

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Ventilation requirements for a dwelling are regulated by the cooking activity. In hot arid climates cooking is done outside the house, in an attached facility or semi open lean-to shades. Kitchen areas are sited in isolated spaces or corners. Cooking with a centric hearth occurred where it also contributed heat for warming. Moisture dilution is an important factor of ventilation requirements. In hot humid climates water utilities like storage and usage (bathing and washing) are placed in the Chowk like interior courtyards, outside or away from the dwelling. According to cannons of Building design, the Vastu Shastra, place of water is in the North-East side. This orientation provides for exposure to south-west face, the warmest or Sun side in the Northern hemisphere.

Punjab India -Open air – outdoor cooking minimises internal ventilation needs

Ventilation is required to dilute the odours, moisture, carbon dioxide, airborne pollutants such as dust, smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), latent heat from air, objects, etc. and encourage evaporation of body moisture and thereby cause cooling.

Windows provide ventilation, more effectively in rooms with internal doors (that is a door not opening to an exterior face), and especially when the exterior face door is closed for security reasons, such as at night. Movement of air between indoor spaces, and not the outside, is called transfer-air. Transfer-air has very little role in diluting the polluted air.

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Windows placed on opposite sides and on same axis are better ventilating devices. The position of window vis a vis the work plane or task is determined whether one wants a draught-breeze over the body and the task, or avoid it. The nature of shutter opening also determines the direction of the internal air movement.

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Windows with shutters opening outward often obstruct the wind path, but double hung sash windows and sliding shutters which open within the frame are better as receptors. Casement window shutters with offset hinges or friction stay which create a small gap on the jamb side help in catching the breeze. Hoppers, awning and jalousie windows direct the breeze due to the angle of opening. The depth of a window and its surround also affects the nature of ventilation. Splayed sides create funnel effect to catch the breeze.

Mumbai Houses -One face for ventilation

Most building codes suggest minimum opening area (including doors, windows, etc.) @4 to 5% of the floor area. But actual ventilation requirements are higher such as during rainy days, moisture content is very high, or when during celebrations and social events lot of people gather in a room. Nominally openings (including doors) @20% of the floor area, are sufficient for the purpose of ventilation, provided some sections of the openings are located within the human height (1.75 mts). Even in unoccupied rooms some ventilation is required to remove fumes and moisture generated by materials, plants and condensation. Minimum volumetric requirements for ventilation are 23 to 25 CMt per person per hour, and 12 to 16 CMt per Kg of fuel burnt. Large sized openings create turbulent air movements, whereas cracks and crevices create a viscous or laminar flow.

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Commonly ventilation is measured in terms of entire interior volume of air gets replaced per hour, it is called air changes per hour, ACH, but requirements for air for well being per person are also specified. Minimum 0.35 ACH, but the supplied air must be no less than 15 cfm/person or 7.5 l/s/person. Since 2003, the standards for ventilation have been changed on floor area basis which is from 3 CFM/100 sq. ft. or 15 l/s/100 sq. m. to the 7.5 CFM/person or 3.5 L/s/person. To find the total amount of outside air required, one needs to add 3 cfm/100 sq. ft. or 15 l/s/100 sq. m. to the 7.5 cfm/person or 3.5 l/s/person. Thus, the air change rate requirement will vary by the size of the house and the occupancy.

Ventilation is required for a fire emergency from areas like corridors, stairs, etc. Openings for ventilation are necessary for all climate conditions, but control requirements are very acute in warm and extremely cold climates, due to outward leakage of internal air.

1965_AMC_Ambassador_detail_of_vent_window

For adequate ventilation the building must take full advantage of prevailing breezes on the site. This includes consideration of: seasonal and diurnal wind patterns, land contours and other topographical features, shape and form of the building, height of the openings, axial position of the openings, work or task plane, physical state and age of the occupants, etc. Other important conditions are position of the window, the form of the surrounds and projections and design of the window shutter.

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DOORS – INTERIOR and EXTERIOR EXPRESSIONS

Post 199 —by Gautam Shah

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Doors have dual expressions, the interior and the exterior one. The interior expression relates to the enclosure, restraint, control, predictable behaviour, family, a way of life, virtues, etc. The exterior expression is associated with unpredictable conditions, unrestrained behaviour, memories, connection to other elements of building, the relationship and comparison with other openings. The interior and exterior expressions interpolate to form the street or neighbourhood. The neighbourhood manifests at the threshold. It is the most dilemmatic element of the building. And it is this behavioural indecisiveness that causes very strongly differentiated architectural representation. The interior and exterior differences are perceived through the resultant architectonic vocabulary. The Door itself may be physically identical on both the faces, but its adjacent elements endow a different image.

Cathedral de Cuzco_

Cathedral de Cuzco_

Exterior doors are synonymous with many objects and expressions, such as, the entrance, gate, gateway, passage, portal, access, admission, admittance, ingress and way-in. Interior doors represent relief, escape, exit, safety, security, privacy, assurance, and control.

httpswwwflickr comphotosbrighton4866414978In various cultures, doors opening outward and inward, imply peculiar meaning. A door opening outward shows that one needs to be more accessible to others. Roman society permitted individuals of high honour to have external door opening outward. An inward opening door, however, indicates a desire for inner exploration and self-discovery. Common citizens of Roman society had doors opening inward. The door was always open to a stranger and community, secured by a dog or its image. Roman Goddess Cardea had powers obtained the Door god Janus ‘to open what is shut and to shut what is open’.

Inward opening door

Inward opening door

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Sliding door

Outward door

Outward door

For the Japanesethe 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’.

Feudal schools of etiquette prescribe all kinds of norms for opening a door and coming into a room. Sukisha, well-bred people use the hand, nearest the door to open it a few inches (the length of a forefinger, to be exact) and then switch hands to slide it back the rest of the way. A man is judged by how he opens a door and a woman by how she shuts. This is so because in a room with a group of men, a woman served the food and take a leave. She would be observed closing the door behind her with grace. The balanced and graceful action of folding down one’s knees on the floor, moving into a room, keeping at a level equal to others already in the room, were part of larger ceremony. The skills of opening and closing a sliding Japanese doors are part of reishiki, proper form or etiquette.

The exterior door is pronounced due to elements and functions that forms the entrance. In modern cities, the exterior door, as the entrance, is omni present at street level. The same door begins to diminish when the buildings are fed by underground parking, subterranean metro trains. In media, the window and the wall structure now carry the image of the city and the building, which was once sensed by the entrance. High level access from elevated track roads and trains, air and helicopter travel, is reinforcing the image of architecture that has no setting for the door. The door technology instead of being dependent on the physical form for the shutter, is moving to invisible surveillance and control.

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An exterior door is the major or more used opening system and it controls the illumination, intrusion, acoustical disturbance, visual engagement, social interference, movement of air and pollution and thermal emissions. Throughout history and across cultures, doors, doorways, portals, gates and thresholds have been potent objects and symbols of superstition, rites and rituals, psychological change, transcendental and religious experience.

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The interior doors are now less frequent in spaces. Single space residences, single or two person occupancy homes, open-office layouts, multi-shop malls, all have fewer inner doors. Interior spaces are more recognized by the amenities and facilities, rather then the architectural barriers including doors. An interior door is a facility, and a demountable and relocatable one. An interior door leads one out of a space, to another space, but that can also occur with a plain gap. Interior doors in a passage are bridgeheads.

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