OPENINGS through AGES

Post 693 –by Gautam Shah

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17 Roman Market street

Openings have been expressions of whatever was happening inside, and also as exclusive exterior statements.

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ROMANESQUE windows were overshadowed by colonnades and piers, but the adjacent areas became very articulated. Here jambs or sides were formed with a series of receding moulded planes. The arch above also had the receding concentric rings, following the lines of the recesses of jambs below. The Romanesque fluted pier first replaced the Greek-Roman columns, and later the capitals and entablatures. Two or three stormed -triforium clerestories were created to lit up the interior, manage the semicircular openings. Several windows with semicircular heads were sometimes grouped together and enclosed in a larger arch. Windows often head a central support element in the form of a column or a pier. A wheel-shaped window, placed over the main West door later became the Rose-window.

3 Openings concealed in arcades Roman villa carthage

EARLY CHRISTIAN PERIOD, windows were small in proportion to the entire mass of the facade. The size was accentuated with chamferred sides and sills but the basic opening gap was functionally bare minimum. It provided adequate light, but not the heat gain that was required in North European climates. Windows gradually began to fill the Romanesque semicircular arched openings. Internally the structure was framed. Externally the walls began to carry loads at the base points of arches. Semi circular arches began to be replaced by pointed arches. These reduced the span of opening, and reduced the load on the pier. Closely spaced light piers and pointed arches created an interior space that was tall and vertical.

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1 Romanesque Openings

Roman circular arch was well a respected architectural element. Traditional Christians would not change it to anything else. But Goths came to dominate large territories across Europe. They were perceived to be marauders and lacking any thing ‘decent’. Goths never accepted Roman manners or architecture but began to adopt Moorish technology and simple cultural values and artistic customs. Most important, they adopted a simplistic form of Christianity, the Arianism, allowing birth of Gothic. Gothic was then perceived as a derisive term for the ‘uncivilized and destructive lifestyle’ of Goths.

19 A baptistry of the Arians in Ravenna

GOTHIC STRUCTURES carried thrusts to the piers through the buttresses, virtually eliminating the wall. Windows occupied all the space freed by walls. To make windows stable against wind pressure and support, the leaded glass panes of large windows had sub frames of transoms and mullions. Tracery was used to mould the rectilinear character of the sub frames. By varying the pitch of the pointed arch, unlike semicircular arched openings, it was possible to have windows of different widths for the same floor height. Window tracery, was a later invention of the Gothic period. The stained glass replaced the traditional wall treatments like mosaic or paintings in oil or stucco. Building materials like marble were exposed for their grain.

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Lantern church’ with perpendicular windows rising from floor to vault, was not a suitable style for non church buildings like palaces, colleges, etc. Windows were also not required to be as large in sunny parts of Europe like Spain and Italy.

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This led to REVIVAL OF ROMAN STYLE wall with punctured windows. Windows were once again square headed, comparatively small, multi-functional, eye levelled and easy to merge into variety of interior treatments. These windows were abutted with pilasters, half columns and also by offset arcade of full columns.

church_columnar_italy_viterbo_stone_wood_blanket_dom-489532In Spanish architecture of LATE GOTHIC ERA AND EARLY RENAISSANCE, the window and its appended decorative elements created a composite facade element. In Italian Renaissance the facade was like an interwoven fabric spread all over (Doges palace, Venice) and terminating at a very strongly articulated architectural element. In horizontal directions these elements were eaves, sills, pediments, etc. in vertical direction the pilaster, column, doorway etc. terminated the flow. Windows were adorned with balustrades, and galleries. Buildings were topped with statues, lanterns, domes, drums, accentuating the vertical lines of the window opening. The remaining surface of the wall was intensely emphasized through rusticated masonry or moulded bands. In other European locations (Germany) the window composition was repeated to create a strong linear facade. Corner window and Oriel were used.

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In ITALIAN RENAISSANCE the facade was like an interwoven fabric spread all over (Doges palace, Venice) and terminating at a very strongly articulated architectural element. In horizontal directions these elements were eaves, sills, pediments, etc. in vertical direction the pilaster, column, doorway etc. terminated the flow. Windows were adorned with balustrades, and galleries. Buildings were topped with statues, lanterns, domes, drums, accentuating the vertical lines of the window opening.

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Kennel Old Town Dresden Baroque

BAROQUE ARCHITECTURE which emerged in the later part of Renaissance, many conventions were removed. Wall surfaces instead of being linear now began to be curved and undulating. Window openings were often oval, circular but deeply recessed. Vertically sliding windows or sash windows were favoured for its ease of opening, controlled ventilation. Sash windows had rectilinear subdivisions, filled with better quality see through clear water-white glass. Sash windows were painted white, and placed in brick masonry work (English later Renaissance).

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In early part of RENAISSANCE the exteriors truthfully reflected the interior space modules, but very rarely the function. The facade was a mask. The make-believe continued till it was despised as vulgar by the POST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION PERIOD.Tadao Ando - Water Temple 水御堂 40

 

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MASKING of OPENING PART – III – FRAMING

Post 575by Gautam Shah

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Masking is an overlay on an opening such as a window, door or gap. The overlay could be an additional system, opportunistic exploitation of the surroundings, or an arrangement for doctoring the perception. There is an attempt to change the quality of view, such as increasing or decreasing the clarity of view; add directional emphasis, such as horizontal, vertical or some other direction and alter the proportion and scale of the view; to divide the view into smaller geometric or floral sections and to camouflage or conceal the opening itself, the shape, location or purpose.

Framed View

Framed View through Opening > Pixabay image

Masking of openings happens over the gap portion, but Framing of openings occurs on surrounding portions of the gap. Masking and framing often serve similar purposes, which are of camouflaging the shape of the opening. Shape modulation also affects the size perception. Openings gain a tectonic meaning in consonance with the site, the environment, people and other building elements. Primary framing takes place, on how an opening is composed within a barrier system.

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Door Framing II nd Floor Balcony at Palace of Raio > Baroque era Residence at Braga, Portugal > Wikipedia image by Sara silva

Technologically shutters of doors and windows, pivoted or hinged, have been square edged. This in turn forced the shape of openings to be square edged. Doors, windows and gaps, till about pre-gothic period were overawed by the powerful geometry of the squared edges. The only option was to taper the faces of sides and bottom sill. Lintel bottom remained flat, being structurally inviolable. Occasionally stepped or layered lintels were used.

Gothic Tracery

Gothic window tracery St Mary Church, Snettisham, Norfolk, England > Flickr image by Spencer Means

Square lintels or the round arch-vault, was a necessity for massive Romanesque structures. Gothic period, however, saw some degree of liberation from the square cornered rounded arched openings, mainly due to the thinner walls and use of pointed arch. But this advent was accompanied by shutter-less fixed glass openings. The shuttered opening like doors, however continued to have squared lintel heads, framing and shutters.

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Serrated door Framing Amiens Cathedral > Wikipedia image by Mattana

The square edge, for the first time was consciously and successfully dissolved during the Rococo period. The Rococo period had two important facets: Motifs over interior face of openings in the form of painted stucco work, and architectonic elements and sculptures over the exterior face of the opening. This integration of elements over the openings, however, never transgressed the square edges of the frame or shutter. It had to wait till Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods when few adventuresome breached the omnipresent straight lines of the openings.

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Masking and Framing of Door at Art Nouveau Building from architect Jules Lavirotte Paris France Sculptures by Jean Francois Larrive 1875-1928 > Wikipedia image by Pline

The framing transformations first occurred in the print media, artwork and jewellery items like photo-pendants. Photo and painting frames continued with the squared edges on the inner face. These were of Two types: Tapered inward or outward. Over the period all forms of frames drew inspiration from each other.

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Photo Frame 18 C > Wikipedia image by FA2010

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Photo Frame 18 C France Wikipedia image by FA2010

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Flickr image by Plum leaves

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Photo image Florence > Wikipedia image by FA2010

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Door Frame emulating the Photo Frame 18th C Venice > Wikipedia image by Hiart

Few Art Nouveau experiments altered the door frame and shutters with floral ingress. These experiments saw 3D modulation and integration of the architectonic elements along with masking and framing appendages. These were craft and technology based multi-material solutions devised along with the form of the building -in a way an integrated architectural resolution.

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Bloomsbury Tavern Night view of windows > Flickr image by Eric Huybrechts

Openings have a dual personality, of the inside and outside, and both have been differently treated for functional, technical and scaling reasons. The framing references are different for both. On the interior face great many masking elements including soft furnishings are available to condition the view outward. The options on outer face are fewer, but major one is the day time perception of the opening, in complete contrast to inside illumination at night time.

Ney York Times Night View

New York Times Building NYC Night time > Wikipedia image by Jleon (talk)

The masking of view out or inward, is done through real or make-believe depths formed by repetition of series of identical, receding or increasing frames. Such multiple frames occur in colonnades, corridors, passages, avenues and walkways.

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Corridors of Miranda House Delhi. Repeat elements framing the view >Wikipedia image by Dell335

Framing can provide its own third dimension, or the depth aspect to the opening. The depth aspect was primarily used for inducing a perspective view. Framing took advantage of depth of the massive structure, such as in Romanesque period. The sides, top and bottom edges of the openings, on both the inside and outside faces, were chamfered or cut square. The additional surfaces of intrados and extrados were articulated to not only enhance the perceptible extent of the opening, but treated with sculptural texture for adding to the extent of a visual surface. Side surfaces of the openings created a frame within frame.

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Pediment over openings Siracusa Cathedral Sicily Italy > Wikipedia image by pjt56—

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ARCHITECTONIC ELEMENTS over OPENINGS

ARCHITECTONIC ELEMENTS over OPENINGS

Post 271 ⇒   by Gautam Shah  →

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Architectonic elements over openings are mainly of carved, sculpted or formed nature, and occasionally drawn objects. The first set of elements exploit the sunlight and natural colour-texture of the materials. The drawn objects like paintings, mosaics and other surface renderings use colour to convey the depth by contrast and delineation of outlines. Patterns and subject themes are also used for reinforcing the architectonic nature of the elements. Architectonic nature of the elements is also emphasized through the structural forms, construction details and joints.

Doorway at place Etienne Pernet, 24 (Paris 15e), 1905 Alfred Wagon, architect

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CARVED, SCULPTED OR FORMED ARCHITECTONIC ELEMENTS

The support base of lintel and springing points of the arch are made of different and harder bearing material. These are shaped like capital of a column, made wider, projected or recessed, and have a distinctive finish. Similarly the centre points, of the lintel and keystones of the arch, are made more noticeable by creating focus through grooves, medallions, radiating lines, or by forming like a superimposed element. The treatments are also in the forms of niches and projections that pretentiously repeat the form of opening.

Door of the Art Nouveau Building from the architect Jules Lavirotte, 29 avenue Rapp, Paris

Sides of the openings made in crude or rubble masonry walls are contrasted by articulated masonry edge blocks, like the quoins, additional surrounds and pilasters or full columns.

Quoins are the corner or edge blocks of better dressed stones or bricks, with structural or a decorative role. Quoins give the impression of strength and firmness to a building. The arch joints are continued in the quoins as a pattern. Quoins are also created as rusticated plaster pattern.

Pilaster and capital, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

Jambs are the stones in the sides of a door or window opening. Stone jambs have a structural role of supporting the lintel, or a functional role of holding the wrought iron lattice.

Puerta de la colegiata, Lerma, Spain

A pilaster is a slightly-projecting or half column built into or attached on the sides of an opening on the face of a wall, or used to divide the wall in bays matching to structural columns. Pilasters often serve a structural role but are mostly decorative elements. The pilasters supporting the ledge, entablature, pediment, balcony or Chhajja projection above are often replaced by ornamental brackets. Pilasters decoratively support a recessed archivolt around a doorway. Pilasters take the form of a column that is part circle, half octagonal or half or partial square. Pilasters have a bottom rest and a crown or capital as the heading element. Classical pilasters follow the column orders such as Doric, Ionic or Corinthian columns. Pilasters rise from the floor, over a ledge or from a platform protruding at sill level, to the opening head level, however, double or triple storey pilasters covering a stack of several openings are also used. Indian temple doors have side columns with niches for minor deities like Gandharva.

Corinthian pilasters. 1st and 2nd floors of a 19th building, 8 avenue de l’Opéra, Paris

Mouldings and Friezes are attached to frames of the openings or occur as a running band surrounding the edge of a masonry gap. The mouldings or friezes are created as a very distinctive border to highlight the opening gap and enlarge its visual scale. These are sculpted, painted, inlayed or decorated with mosaic work, ‘such as the soft blue-gray stone (piètra serena) was contrasted against a light stucco wall’. The ornamental features are usually a surface treatment and have very little depth or projection. Byzantine architecture used colour stone bands to visually interlink all openings. ‘Colour was used in Florentine architecture to stress the linear relationship rather than for overall pattern forming purposes’. Interior faces of jambs in Gothic architecture were fluted to increase the perpendicularity.

Detail of the University of Catania, aside the San Nicolò Church, Catania

Intrados and Extrados, are the underside or interior curves of an arch that is sometimes used to describe a curved vault or soffit.

Entrance gate of the Great Mosque of Mahdiya.

Archivolt is ornamental mouldings or band on the inner curvature or underside of an arch. The bands are often receding from the largest arch in a front edge to the smaller arches over the smaller door or window opening. In Gothic architecture instead of the mouldings or bands, flutes or sculpted pieces were used. The word is sometimes used to refer to the under side or inner curve of the arch itself -the intrados.

Archivolts at Speyer Cathedral

Atlantes, Caryatids (male and female figures), and Herms (human busts) are used as columns, pilasters or inclined brackets near openings in European and Indian architecture.

Rue des Petites-Écuries (Paris) > Atlantes, Caryatids (male and female figures)

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OPENINGS’ TREATMENT SYSTEMS -Design Parameters

 Post -by Gautam Shah

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Openings are specifically intention-ed and architecturally well detailed systems. Yet such architectural entities need to be customized and personalized according to the location, orientation, interior use and the user. Openings also need to be multi purpose systems with various mechanisms and appendages. The mechanisms endow wide range of functionality, whereas the appendages as applique treatments make an opening a personal entity.

401px-Patwon_ki_haveli_18Openings are masked, framed, sized, scaled, camouflaged, concealed, sequenced and unitized.These treatments are mainly architectural conditioning systems, to integrate the openings as subset of larger composition -the building. The nature of individual details, relate to the larger entity, confirm to local traditions or impose some perceived style. Openings’ treatments occur with the conception of the main entity, but more often than not these are brought in later in time. The later period initiator has often greater budget, sharper conceptual definitions, finer comprehension of compositional values, better assessment of shortcomings, access to new technologies, and greater sincerity to interior related needs of the occupants.

Cathédrale_de_Cusco

Openings have several categories like: for physical access such as doors, gates,  for view out or in such as windows and shop-fronts, for environmental exchange such as vents, holes, chimneys, and for emergency egress. Openings occur as contrasting elements against the wall, highlighted by the  varied textures, colours, shadows or light seeping in-out from the gaps.

Door Sequencing

Location: Openings’ treatments are dependent on the location of the opening. The factors are: ground floor, upper floor levels, attic, cellar, etc., road touch faces, side and back side faces, public or private spaces, open vista or cut-out spaces.

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Orientation:    Openings’ treatments are orientation specific.   The variables : directions like North, South, East, West, sun’s angel of incidence, breeze direction, degree of privacy, orientation value in terms of landmarks, natural features, etc.

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Environmental conditions: Environmental effects are very directional, diurnal and seasonal. The environmental constituents are: time of the day or night, seasons, solar incidences, and breeze directions.

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Functional units: Openings’ treatments serve a space units’ interior functions: such as bedroom, drawing room, kitchen, toilets, offices, store rooms, etc.

Utilitarian purposes:   Openings serve utilitarian purposes  such as: ventilation, illumination, breeze catching, vision or vista, security, identification, emergency egress delivery of goods, communication, restricted animal or bird access.

Tappered sill flickr 1397903264

Height situations: Openings are placed at various height positions such as ground floors, upper floors, cellars, roofs and in terms of height positions such as low, middle, high, etc. For each such reference, the opening’s treatments vary.

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Profile positions: Openings are profiled as  horizontal, vertical, inclined,  skyward, downward, etc. The nature of exposure to various elements determines the type of treatment that are required.

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User abilities: Some openings are designed to serve specific physiological needs of the users such as: young, adults, infirm, aged, senile, prisoners, mentally retarded etc. Openings’ treatments are designed to suit their abilities, ergonomic and anthropometric requirements.

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Cultural and Social relevance: Openings’ treatments at exterior as well as interior level reflect the beliefs of the user, which emerges from the religion, customs and nature of privacy or social interaction desired.

House Facade Architecture Art Nouveau Facade

Users’ personality: It is a cumulative effect showing interests and involvement of many people. Individually a user continuously evolves and varies the choices, and one of the crucial aspect of it is subjective need for change with reference to past colonnades.

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Choices and Variations: Need for a change is one of the key determinants for openings’ treatments. A user wants something different from the current state, which may not necessarily be a new theme or entity. Historical styling is one such mode for a change. The change is also caused by alteration of key elements forming the openings’ treatment, such as colour, texture, size, form, illumination, etc.

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TREATMENTS OVER OPENINGS

 

Several types of treatments are applied over openings. These are carved, sculpted or formed nature, and occasionally drawn objects.

One such method of Architectonic Expression is through Enhancement of Structural forms, Construction details and Joint configurations.

The intention is to highlight the structural nature of the openings’ elements. The treatments also emphasize the bearing elements of openings such as the side walls, lintels, arch like, against other parts of a building. Egyptian, Greek and early Roman openings were tapered headwords which made the opening seem more imposing and stable. Egyptians added tapering pylons with narrowing sculpted figures, and Greeks used tapering half columns for the same effect. Assyrians have used bands of polychrome bricks not just around openings but continuing in the lower section of the wall along the floor. Indian temples have various layers, such as of humans, elephants, etc. along the wall, but highly articulated around the openings. Gothic builders have used perpendicular elements like mullions, flutes in windows and terminated these into entwined floral traceried patterns at the head level. Palladio’s Window has the arch, side columns and side lights, all integrated into well-proportioned composition. Gaudi recast the window with a curvilinear surface to match the contour of the building. In modern detailing of the curtain wall, the surface is one continuous plane with all support elements skilfully concealed. Exposed stone and brick masonry and other material surfaces have openings high lighted through quoins, rustication, grooves, frieze bands, textural differentiation. Cams were devised to hold small pieces of glass together but soon became a tool for composition and became part of contour lines of the storyboard.

‘The Greeks, consciously or unconsciously, practised extreme simplicity in art, and the fine-grained marble that they worked also encouraged the tendency to leave purity of an outline to speak for itself. Thus, whether on the grand scale of a temple building like the Parthenon or in the single human figure as the Hermes of Olympia, they were content with beauty unadorned by distracting ornament’.

‘The Romans never seem to have been satisfied till they had loaded their monumental buildings with every possible ornamental addition. Here too again the influence of material is apparent; for concrete demanded a disguise, and coarse limestone did not permit of delicate purity of line and thus called for extraneous ornament, so the Romans completed the magnificence of their monuments by a wealth of decoration’. From: History of Architecture by Sir Banister Fletcher.

OPENINGS’ TREATMENT SYSTEMS : Design Considerations

● Location: Openings’ treatments are dependent on the location of the opening. These factors are: ground floor, upper floor levels, attic, cellar, etc., road touch faces, side and back side faces, public or private spaces, open vista or cut out spaces.

● Orientation: Openings’ treatments are orientation specific. The variables are: directions like North, South, East, West, sun’s angel of incidence, breeze direction, degree of privacy, orientation value in terms of landmarks, natural features, etc.

● Environmental conditions: Environmental effects are very directional, diurnal and seasonal. The environmental constituents are: time of the day or night, seasons, solar incidences, and breeze directions.

● Functional units: Openings’ treatments serve the interior functions of the space units such as the bedroom, drawing room, kitchen, toilets, offices, store rooms, etc.

● Utilitarian purposes: Openings serve utilitarian purposes such as: ventilation, illumination, breeze catching, vision or vista, security, identification, emergency egress delivery of goods, communication, restricted animal or bird access.

● Height situations: Openings are placed at various height positions such as ground floors, upper floors, cellars, roofs and in terms of height positions such as low, middle, high, etc. For each such reference, the opening’s treatments vary.

● Profile positions: Openings are profiled as horizontal, vertical, inclined, skyward, downward, etc. The nature of exposure to various elements determines the type of treatment that are required.

● User abilities: Some openings are designed to serve specific physiological needs of the users such as: young, adults, infirm, aged, senile, prisoners, mentally retarded etc. Openings’ treatments are designed to suit their abilities, ergonomic and anthropometric requirements.

● Cultural and Social relevance: Openings’ treatments at exterior as well as interior level reflect the personality of the user, which emerges from the religion, customs and nature of privacy or social interaction desired.

● Users’ personality: It is a cumulative effect showing interests and involvement of many people. Individually a user continuously evolves and varies the choices, and one of the crucial aspect of it is subjective need for change with reference to past colonnades.

● Choices and Variations: Need for a change is one of the key determinant for openings’ treatments. A user wants something different from the current state, which may not necessarily be a new theme or entity. Historical styling is one such mode for a change. The change is also caused by alteration of key elements forming the openings’ treatment, such as colour, texture, size, form, illumination, etc.