Post -by Gautam Shah



An Interior space is bounded and a well-defined envelope. Yet with the environmental variations outside, it is an ever-changing enigma. The inhabitants have to develop a dynamic approach to sustain their occupation of the space and continue the inhabitation. The approach to accommodate can be categorized in Four layers.


1 Very minor changes are accommodated at personal and passive level, i.e. recasting of the lifestyle, body posturing, metabolic activity, rescheduling, etc.

2 At micro level the changes are absorbed by activities like repositioning of the furniture and facilities, establishing improved amenities, etc.

3 At macro level the changes are assimilated in terms of additions, alterations, renovations, etc. in the built form.

4 At a radical level the changes may force recasting of the group-dynamics (treaties, friendship, divorce, etc.), or migration to new locations.



The accommodation of environmental changes delays and disturbs the inhabitation but always equips one with better skills and greater efficiencies. Communities that follow self-help building practices follow an inherited regimen that is well set and fail-safe in the community. The community here ensures the consistency of the locality and social behaviour. This contrasts with inhabitation attempts by migrants who at one end have no vernacular heritage to rely on, and at the other extreme are trying to establish their ‘footprint’ into a new setting.


A professional interior designer forms an interior space, incorporating all the conceivable variables, so as to make it as widely relevant (and also static) as possible. Designers also endeavour to instill certain ‘life style’ into the inhabitants -often called a design statement. Such professionally designed interiors, however do not escape the effects of changing environment. In spite of the best of intentions and efforts very often the user fails to behave as perceived, or responds ambiguously to the interior space. Interior space behaviour remains incredulous.


In public housing a standard design is exploited differently by various families. The same modular offices, cabins or hotel rooms arouse different feelings. Personalization of interior space is a continuing activity of the user. Long used or familiar spaces, seem very secure and comfortable with personalization. Whereas in new spaces, a user seeks familiarity of form, utilities, equipment, furniture, furnishings, environment, and presence of known participants or co-habitant.



An Interior space is designed by professional designer for a certain life style (behaviour standards). The primary intention is to create a setting that inculcates a specific response. The user may or need not be aware of such intentions. Interior spaces are also devised to alienate users from the expected set of things. Such diversions are designed to excite, to register the change (end of old and arrival of new), and also to destabilize the users.




 Post –by Gautam Shah



Peripheral zones of an interior space are aligned to the edge of the space, and therefore away from the core zone. It is this distance, between the core and peripheral sections that qualifies their meaning. Another qualifying mark is their surroundings. Peripheral zones draw a lot of energy from across the edge or defining barriers whereas the core zone is affected only slightly by the enveloping periphery.


Peripheral zones are vulnerable to outside influences due to their closeness with the edge and also their distance from the core section. A core zone is dominated by the domain’s main and common activity, whereas the peripheral zones are distinctive escape areas and so have diverse utility. Peripheral zones derive their functionality from nature of barriers. Peripheral zones emerge as an antithesis or concurrent space segment of the core zone. The peripheral zones are affected differently by the directional and temporal aspects of the environment. A peripheral zone is often relevant only for a while, to an individual, or for an activity.



Once the extent of the peripheral zone was determined by the concern for safety, warmth from the fire, the need for privacy, scale of the task-activity and distancing from elements (to reduce their intensity and reach). The barriers, wherever available, formed the edge sections of the peripheral zone. These were also used for reclining, resting, hanging personal items and for expression (artwork).




Peripheral zones are primarily shaped by the core zone, but are more often affected by the nature of the periphery of neighbouring domains and happenings beyond. The edge areas allow a person to selectively taste the happenings of outside-world even while remaining inside. Peripheral zones are flexible, i.e. can be stretched or contracted from their nominal spread. Domain transgression occurs through the periphery. Peripheral zones are dual faced, so one can orient an activity towards or away from the core area. For any other positioning one may require strong metaphysical reason.


Peripheral zones often develop as an acutely specific zone. Study nooks in bedrooms, coffee rooms with the dining area, hobby zones in kitchens, home offices with vestibules, retiring rooms in private offices, vaults in banks, store rooms with homes and offices, wardrobes, shower stalls, change rooms in boutiques, cashiers’ cabins, pilot or driver’s cabins, reception counter, janitor area, services ducts, podiums in lecture halls, green rooms with a performance stage, ticket booths, telephone kiosks, are all examples of peripheral zones separated from the core zones.


Peripheral areas mark the end of one space entity and beginning of another one. Peripheral zones are thresholds to other space entities, and occur or are perceived to be an intermediate or buffer state. Thresholds are interactive areas, and alter (qualitatively) the elements transiting through it. Their activeness arises from their level of transparency and thickness (mass of the barrier) both of which control (rate, direction) the exchange. Thresholds also occur as an interstice on the overlapping barriers. Here two effects are simultaneously operative.

headquarters-library-building-725x483The space barriers, such as walls, roofs, awnings, curtains, partitions, ceilings, etc. form a focussed space. Yet these barriers also create segments that are more strongly attached to the periphery. The barriers, however, are always prone to change from outside effects. There are two distinct places for group mechanisms -the focal and the peripheral sections.


Lecture halls, bed rooms, modern kitchens are single activity areas, and so focussed units, but road side cafes are peripheral. An older style kitchen sourcing its services off a wall was more peripheral, whereas modern kitchens have island workstations, is more of the core centric arrangement. A drawing room like the dining area is focussed for an activity, but a family room is multi functional and so less focal. Fire was the focus of the primitive home, and TV has become the current focus of home gathering. A physical feed-based work station is peripheral, but a wireless notepad computer offers flexibility of being anywhere.