VALIDITY of BUILDINGS

Post 399 –  by Gautam Shah

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Frankfurt Skyscraper Old Town Ffm Historic Old Town

Buildings are like the proverbial cat with nine lives. Buildings persist for a very long and indeterminable period. Buildings remain relevant till the structure or parts of it can provide shelter. And, even after loss of its integrity as a shell for shelter, its parts and components are scavenged for reuse. Buildings are precious assets for the society, acquired at a great expense of resources and effort. No society wants them to go waste so buildings get reborn, put to different use, or its parts recycled.

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Life of a building is evaluated on basic two counts: Stability and Relevance.

Stability of a building is checked in terms of Structural Integrity, Physical Condition, and the Stack-Holders’ Perceptions. The structural integrity ensures its capacity to stand-up in equilibrium, by defying or overcoming the gravity, stability and consistency against many forces, and safety and security as a place of habitation. The physical conditions are reflected in weathering processes of nature, and the user-related wear-tear.

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Stake holders’ perceptions reflect the prestige and acceptability of the building in the society for its aesthetic, and functional considerations. It is the cumulative thinking of the society and often alogical.

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Stake-holders’ perceptions: Buildings are perceived to be stable when these are of balanced shapes (regular geometrical shapes), straight (upright and not inclined or crooked) form, broader at base, balanced composition (axially symmetrical), and of lower height. Similarly buildings made of materials that are opaque, high density, non deformable, stiff, good in compression, rough or robust finish, are considered longer lasting or reliable. Buildings composed of elements, fewer in numbers, larger in scale, and simpler in details also denote reliable performance.

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Relevance of a Building is considered on many counts. At macro level, a neighbourhood may not effectively support a building’s existence or use. It may turn embarrassing, in the context of its changed surroundings. At contextual level, the building may be considered irrelevant, when the purpose for which it was conceived is no longer valid. It may become nonessential, when other exotic or superior forms are available. At micro level, a building may become ineffective, if it cannot accept new technologies for service systems, parts or components. It may be considered to have ended, when its important constituents disintegrate or get separated.

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A building is neglected when it affects our sensuality, pride, prestige, values, etc. A building may be judged redundant, when in spite of all remedial actions it cannot fulfill its functions. It is abandoned when it cannot stay in equilibrium or in a state that is right for a normal human occupation.

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THE REALM OF BUILDINGS

Post -by Gautam Shah

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A building exists and flourishes in the circumstantial surroundings and with environmental factors. These bear upon the building. A building exists in the social, political and an economics profile of the locality. The environmental factors are absolute and are fairly consistent, but at micro level these effects are conditioned by the happenings in the immediate vicinity. A building has a relevance for its form, functionality and technological grade.

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Station Building 3, Blackburn Road, Low Wincoban > becoming an irrelevant location

Contextual setting of a building is considered mainly in terms of its Location and Age, and both change concurrently. A good building is integral to its space and time. Changes in the contextual settings affect some buildings more, if these are: acutely located that is subsisting on the site related advantages, stylized, highly dependent on the technology, and endowed with high degree of functionality.

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Old Buildings Camp area Pune, Reuse reconstruction – possible but Plot Footprint too small > Wikipedia Image by Yogesa

Location is the external realm of the building. It has two facets: the distance or the extent and the stack holders of the building. A building serves certain terrain or physical distance. When these get enlarged due to efficient transport services the usage is increased, but conversely barriers like railway tracks, canals, closure of roads, or loss of visual identity affects the raison d’être (reason for existence) of the building. Stack holders become insincere for maintenance when the location begins to deteriorate due to economic, social or political problems, and affects the pride or faith in the building.

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Wikipedia image by Drhtgoon

Life of building is governed by its surroundings. Environmental pollution over a location strains the parts and components, hastening their failure. Old buildings in good localities are more likely to be well looked after than in deteriorating locations.

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Age dilutes the connections a building has with the site and the circumstances. A building on ageing becomes irrelevant for the original functions and current day technologies. However, it can still continue to survive, if its structure is safe and habitation worthy.

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Abandoned > Craco village in Basilicata in Italy > Wikipedia image by Wallora at Italian Wikipedia