SPATIAL BEHAVIOUR with AMENITIES, FACILITIES, UTILITIES and ENRICHMENTS

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

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

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

AMENITIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FACILITIES

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

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Gym Facilities > Wikipedia image by LocalFitness.com.au

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

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

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

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

UTILITIES

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

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

ENRICHMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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Desk of Anthony Chekhov > Wikipedia image by SiefkinDR

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

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Mall space Kolkota India > Wikipedia Biswarup Ganguly

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This post forms 15 th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.

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ENRICHMENTS in INTERIOR SPACE

Post 354 – by Gautam Shah

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Enrichments are personal interventions in an interior space. These are extras over the nominal functional provisions of space planning. Enrichments are used by professional designers as well as lay occupiers of the space. Professionals use it to enhance the thematic concept. These efforts, however, often lack the conviction for the actual occupier of the space. For lay persons enrichments evolve with the familiarity of space and mature over a long period. Enrichments are a subjective involvement of the user, reflected in the selection and placement of the enrichment. The selection follows traditions, taboos, customs, instincts, experience, perceptions, daring, suggestions and compulsions. The enrichments become a matured style of the locality or a group, an ethnicity of an era or a geographical identity.

Empire State Plaza concourse NY USA

Enrichments are selected for their own quality or appeal, and also as fitment to a given situation. By placing an element that is personal and familiar, there is an attempt to alter the scale, complexity and alienation of the space.

Enrichments are expressions that reduce the alienation, loneliness, and the incidence undesirable or severity of abnormal behaviours.

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Personalization through enrichments occurs by many routes. Enrichments may not have a precise definition or explanation, but over a period gain an identity. The identification is achieved by confirmation to an ideology, expression of abstracted messages, display of authority, and being part of hierarchal structure. Enrichments represent cultural affinity, affirmation to a social cause (e.g. green spaces), a diffusion or concentration of an ideology, spiritual experience, history, continuity, or desire for contrast or diversity. Presence of some enrichments encourages the group dynamics with a sense of belonging. Enriched spaces have safety, security and assurance of performance.

White House Dining room

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

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Enrichments are:

  • Objects that can be savoured from many sides and contexts, such as vessels, utensils, statues.
  • Surfaces like paintings, murals, wall pieces, posters, mirrors, glass, patterns, that enhance the floors, walls or ceilings or become partitions.
  • Furniture to aid postures, task supports, storage entities, space intervening objects, furnishings like carpets, bolsters and curtains.
  • Hangings to fill up a space, mark a location, add dynamism, movement or change the static, reflects the ethereal or nonphysical.
  • Fittings and Fixtures that add to functionality of architectonic elements.
  • Signage and Graphics to convey messages, indicate layout, symbols.
  • Sensorial effects such as Illumination, odours, deodorants, textures, climatic effects (heating, cooling, moisturizing), colours.

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

Château de Malmaison, 1800, room for the Empress Joséphine, on the cusp between Directoire style and Empire style

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

Farnsworth_House_by_Mies_Van_Der_Rohe_-_interior

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

WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015.

Enrichments are extensively used by retail outlets that rely on brand selling, and corporates who thrive on image making. Automobile showrooms flourish with superfluous space enrichments, because by the time some mature integration occurs, a new set of entities arrive. Compared to this corporate offices and hospitality spaces have well-integrated schemes. Other public spaces like museums, law courts, halls, etc. use enrichments very judiciously disguising as graphics or signage. Religious and political functions and processions use enrichments pretentiously to show their large following.

The Mensa (Cafeteria) BAUHAUS

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CORRIDORS AND PASSAGES (Part – II)

Post 230 – by Gautam Shah 

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CORRIDORS AND PASSAGES DESIGN PARAMETERS  as Transfer Systems in Buildings

WIDTH REQUIREMENTS

Corridors or Passages, for one person passage, in one direction, require a discipline enforcing width of 630mm (such as queue space at a bus stop), for less acute needs (such as at Airport check-in 800mm. Enclosed corridors as suggested in most residential building bye-laws, should be minimum 900mm wide, for short length runs of 5mts. For greater lengths a width 1200mm is advisable. For wheelchair traffic minimum 1000mm width in straight sections, and more in angles or curvatures, is required. Where movement is likely to be intense, bidirectional and with hand carried luggage, a width of 1500mm should be provided. Where corridors are likely to be 1500mm or less in width the doors should be placed in a recess, and must open away from the corridor space. Preferably doors should not open out into the corridors, unless a recess equal to the full swing of a door shutter is provided. On a corridor opposite doors should be staggered. In hospitals facing doors, however, are of help in turning in stretchers and Fowler beds. At the end, start or junctions, corridors should be plain, there should be no opening for a length equal to the width of the corridor. Cross corridor junctions, if any must happen in a wider lobby or foyer. Corridors should have a secondary escape point for every length section beyond 15mts. Longer corridors tend to be boring so should intermittently terminate into a hall or foyer, before being continued.

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streets-2480304_640There should not be any projections, or fixed or loose furniture in the functional width of the corridor. Where visually impaired people are going to transit, the projection off the wall must not be more than 100mm, and furniture including the space for knee or leg of the user must be accommodated in alcove or niche.

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ILLUMINATION IN CORRIDOR

Illumination in corridors requires careful planning. Windows at the end of a corridor, or doors on corridors opening out to an exterior, create a glare. Artificial compensative illumination is very necessary to counter the glare. Side openings in a corridor provide a visual distraction, but unless fairly intermittent or properly designed, create very patchy lighting. Illumination fixtures on wall and ceiling fail to provide the desired effect when corridor height is low and traffics density high. Illuminated ceilings provide very poor modelling and social recognition. In such situations a lighter colour scheme and indirect glow not only on the ceiling but upper section of the side walls helps. Illuminated steps and side hand rails provide a functional definition. Illumination level in corridors should never be consistent as it creates boredom, It should be high enough near openings to counter the glare and in some situations (drama auditoriums) even feeble in contrast to the interior. Illumination fixtures that are visible like shaded lamps, diffusers, chandeliers etc. create a visible physical dimension.

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ENRICHMENTS in CORRIDORS

Paintings on corridor side walls must be smaller and with details that can be enjoyed at a closer distance (often less then 450mm) such as miniature paintings or photographs. Large paintings with very extensive colour or form patches are hardly visible in a corridor like narrow space. Artefacts in corridors must not encroach upon the functional passage width, so have to be in niches. Such niches have to be arc form to increase visibility from sides. Artefacts at the end of corridors are perceptible, if the traffic in the corridor is thin or intermittent. Cut out or double height section in the roof or ceiling section, are great relievers in straight jacketed spaces.

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FINISHES in CORRIDORS

Corridor floors are visible in low traffic corridors such as hotel lobbies. These can be treated with long direction patterns. Corridors often have floor-finishes with running stripes on both the edges. The method extends the length aspect while reducing visual width. Stripes or flow of motifs in the shorter direction is unnerving, due to repetition and visual compression in perspective.

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SERVICES in CORRIDORS

Passage and corridors cut across spaces in a very logical manner and often as the most economic route. Compared to room spaces corridors require lesser height provision, so carry services such as ducts, wires, etc. in the ceiling plenum. The ceiling space of the corridor is easily accessible for servicing the utilities. The ceiling surface is designed to absorb the locally generated sounds, and also mask the sounds that leak out from the rooms, through the joints and crevices along the installed services.

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DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS for PASSAGES

Passages, (as unbounded corridors) require side edge definitions. Such definitions could be in terms change in flooring colour, texture or pattern. Alternatively definitions could be through change in the floor level, or side barricading of 600mm to 1200mm height level. The barricades could be ceremonial or representative only. The barricade may not be continuous but could be intermittent like planters, boxes, ash-posts, poles etc. Passages need floor and other definitions to indicate the direction of the flow or movement, destination, and nearness to a point of change. These are formed by flooring colour, pattern, gradient, illumination, lamp posts, and visual axises or connections.

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