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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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

Gramunt, Urgell, Catalonia. Parish Church of St. Mary 12 C. Wikipedia Author Fotoarxiu.sarratetorres

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

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

Begumpur Mosque Delhi

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.

Windows Caracas Building

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

Elgin Cathedral, Elgin, Moray, NE Scotland Wikipedia Author : Billreid

Elgin Cathedral, Elgin, Moray, NE Scotland Wikipedia Author : Billreid

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CLASSES of OPENINGS

Post 157   by Gautam Shah ➔

There are basic TWO classes of openings. Openings that touch the floor on one or both sides to facilitate floor level movement goods, people and animals. Openings placed at higher sill level -away from the nominal floor level, and chiefly used for seeking illumination, view and ventilation.

Revolving doors for humans and side doors for carrying luggage

At other level gates and gateways besides serving the basic functions of door are used for grandiose. Micro size openings such as cracks or crevices of joints are casual openings that serve need for minor ventilation. Openings are nominally designed as multi function systems, but some openings are exclusive systems serving one or few purposes, such as terrace level wind catchers, pip holes, delivery slots or hoppers, etc.

Door Gap Inca Machu Picchu Peru

Door gaps Machu Picchu Peru

Openings are gaps and shuttered. For gap-openings the view across is very important aspect. Gap-openings are designed as well as casual entities. Nominally an opening entity has four sides, of these the sides and top are omni present. The fourth one the bottom is however, is often completely floored and its identity is missed. Gap openings with deeper setting frame a view at the silhouette or the ‘other edge’. Shuttered openings have visible leaves, closed or open, have a stand-alone presence. The stand-alone presence is result of differentiated colour, texture, singular pattern, and in many instances repeated geometric divisions. Shuttered openings scale the architecture.

Gorge -Narrow gap Samaria, Crete, Greece

Narrow Gap Alley Washington DC

Openings with fixed glazing serve the function of a picture window, framing a scenery or like a shop front window to display items. Fixed openings also become space dividers as partitions or are cover element like a curtain wall.

Narrow gap -Brasilia National Congress Oscar Niyemeyer

Computer gateways and ports (air, sea, land) are like opening systems that serve as a hub for transit, termination and re-connection. At this point one can have choice how, where, when a connection could be made. To provide such choices, the hubs are endowed with protocols, converters or translators.

Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe Lake Shore drive Apartments -Standardized window architecture

As opening is a very universal architectural system. Openings are often mass produced with standard range of options. The openings follow a very strict exterior architectural regimen without consideration of the interior use related specific needs. For the above two reasons openings of same size, shape and design are used on all orientations, floor levels, neighbourhood conditions and geographic locations. Users however strive to mark the openings’ system with individual personality, cultural ethos, beliefs, affinities etc. These occur as appendages, add-ons or treatments.

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