Post 292 – by Gautam Shah



Spatial distancing is an important design consideration for individual and groups. Spatial distancing is formed by the sensorial perceptivity, recognition and reaction. All these factors are conditioned by space size, form, physical distancing and environmental conditions. The spatial distancing is sensed by the perceptibility of an object or a person through its virtual proximity, the possibility of physical touch, eye contact, and audio privacy. Visual recognition occurs from familiarity, distance and illumination over the object or person, angle or level difference and the context. Reaction is reflected in distanced or non participating behaviour.

Eye Contact – spatial distancing


Spatial distancing governs both, the individualization and participation. The need to be alone, be with someone, or part of a group arises from several factors like Personal (psychological and physiological), Intra-personal (communication, expression and exchanges), and Group behaviour mechanisms (sense of belonging, sharing, participation, confirmation).

Group Behaviour Distancing

For an individual, a space that permits one to format a ‘distance’ from others is a private space. For a group, however, a space that allows easy communication and recognition (without any aids or extra strain), is an intimate space.



A person or group carve their own space by different territorial markings. It involves creating and maintaining an exclusive control over a space. The control implies privileges, and may involve actions in its defense. For the individual, territorial control provides security and identity, and is communicated through personalization and definition of the space. For the group, territorial control, is the cause of their being together, and it is expressed through the common behaviour. The territorial markings are of physical, metaphysical, and metaphorical nature, presenting spaces of many different characteristics. Territoriality is a means of distinguishing a space.

Social distancing at a Bus stop

A person through behaviour projects the privacy and intimacy in various forms and proportions, whereas the space facilitates various levels of physical closeness, isolation and insulation. The mental needs ultimately define the degree of involvement. The culture defines the acceptable or inappropriate types of social distancing. The meanings of spatial distancing, in private space like a drawing room and a public space like an elevator, are different in different cultures. Crowded spaces force intimacy of coexistence, which may force an individual to mentally barricade own-self or open-up for interaction.

Intimate spaces and Spatial distancing

Enclosing space forms (corners, cones, concave, narrow lanes) force individuals to be closely spaced, and be intimate enough to form a group. Some environmental and other effects are highly focussed and superior (illuminated spots, under the fan area, a sunny patch, a breezy path), so force many to share the same zone, and so breed intimacy.

Illustration_of_'A_State_Party'_Wellcome_L0073717A Primary territory refers to a realm associated with an individual who has an exclusive use of it. Secondary territory is like ‘social’ sharing territory, without any personal marking or right to occupancy. These markings are, however, recognizable by others and rarely breached. Public territories are available to all, but with conditions. Interaction territory is a space created and facilitated by others, when people are interacting.

Spatial Distancing -keeping away

Hall argues that there are spatial zones appropriate to various types of interactions that manifest spatial distancing. At very close distance of 75 to 150 mm one can whisper into ears or proceed with touch. At 300 to 500 mm distance one can have extended touch by body limb and talk in soft voice. At 500-900 mm distance one is on the verge of being committal. At a distance range of 1300 to 1500 mm one has a chance of avoiding others and, yet be impersonal, if body posture can be changed. Spatial distancing 1700 to 2500 mm allows choice of changes in body posture and voice levels.

Spatial Distancing -Intimate Care

One can move from impersonal discussion to personal matter by reducing the distance, or to a non personal information exchange by increasing the distance. Impersonal discussion, takes place at 1200 to 1500 mm; cross the inner boundary of this zone and one’s interlocutor will retreat; cross the outer boundary and will advance or subtly change the manner in which to behave adopting the pattern appropriate to the new distance. Spatial distancing functions for same space interactions but not for virtual communication technology mediated encounters.

Gandhi -Virtual distancing but gestures are real



Post 185 – by Gautam Shah


DCF 1.0

Interpersonal relationships signify the social interactions between two or more people. Interpersonal relationship at one extreme could be very intimate, or physical, and at the other extreme very casual and detached with no apparent contact except recognition of others’ presence.


The interpersonal relationships flourish in space that facilitate such interactions. It needs space for recognition, perception, expression and communication. One of the prime characteristic of such a space is its size or depth. ‘Adequate depth of space’ allows control over how much one want to distance own-self from others. For some personal encounters depth of a space determines the privacy, intimacy and security. The depth aspect of a space can also be debilitative factor negating the seclusion, familiarity and protectiveness.




Interpersonal relationships have less relevance in acutely sized and defined spaces (ergonomically sized, shaped and provisioned with very specific facilities), such as: toilets, kitchens, storerooms, study nooks, booths, etc. Spaces with a greater dimensional adequacy permit better recognition and perception. Security is also operative in a crowded space or participatory public space, as such places do not permit privacy or intimacy. Spaces with satisfactory depths allow time for decision making whether one wants to allow a relationship to flourish or not. It also allows sufficient time and space to improvise the body’s gesture, posture and orientation and thereby ‘correct the impression’.


Body posture, gesture and orientation vis a vis other person, are very important factors. All three begin to switch, the moment one realizes of being perceived. And, one needs time and space for the required improvisation. Often one needs momentary seclusion to effect the transition. The seclusion could be through furniture and other architectural elements or occlusion from perception range of the other person. It could also be achieved by intentional diversion.


Groups, to an extent subsists on spatial characteristics for expression and its perception and so the interpersonal relationships. Group level interpersonal relationships could be centric (one leader-many followers) or participatory (everyone involved in the process). The perception of a group leader and others may be partial or occluded (such as the audience in darkness) or fully perceptible (such as a round table conference, press interactions, discussion-workshops). In virtual communication modes the ‘depth of space’ required is irrelevant for domains like telephony or video conferencing, chat rooms, hangouts, etc.


Waiting Architecture Tate Building Shadows People



Postby Gautam Shah



Virtual world

Domains like telephony, video conferencing, Radio and TV, Internet, Chat rooms, Hangouts, etc. provide us with a Virtual Space. The interpersonal relationships fostered here are selective, often one-way, without instant feedback and with little chance of improvisation. The background space and time references are manipulated. The sounds and images are doctored, often emulating machine-like effects. Other sensorial effects, such touch (or proximity), odours and taste are absent. What one perceives, in a virtual space is an articulated experience. The intimacy and detachment are projected through image and sound quality and in few instances through concurrent enactments of background sounds and visuals. The personality projection through visuals and sounds are craftily matched with tools like morphing, dubbing or voice-over.

Radio Performance


The participants in virtual environment have a sense of belonging, an unhindered opportunity for expression, and controlled means of communication. The sharing is with limited faculties of perception, mostly audio and optionally visual. Both of these can be muzzled and morphed.



The reason for condensing and rationalizing the information exchange in virtual space is twofold. It reduces the bandwidth required for conveyance and also depersonalizes the emotions. The obscured image in its content also fudges the scale of the space and the range of its affectations.

Background projection for creating simultaneous multi-reality

Putin Recording

In a real space, the interpersonal relationships cannot be governed by Real Space means like physical distancing and by limiting the exposure of body postures through selective orientation. In real space response to any expression come as improvisation.


Virtual space is very public space, but formatted by few organizations, who record and read the exchanges, if not for espionage at least to rationalize their system. A visit here, whether casual or intentional, is never secret. It is always noted by someone, somewhere and so the ramifications of it are long lasting and rarely efface-able. Though the individuality is diffused due to the vastness of its scale it provides a sense of privacy.