SPATIAL ORGANIZATION of OBJECTS and BEHAVIOUR

Post 600 by Gautam Shah (16 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Objects in space need recast from time to time. Such recast is needed for domestic, commercial and other spaces. The recast interventions by the users themselves are continuous one but in small lots. The user caused changes are experimental and casual but persist to amass as a substantial change over the years in the character or style of the built-space. There are few changes that are beyond the users’ perception, capacity or authority, and so are assigned to professionals as contractual or periodical assignments. The objects’ reorganization in a space by a user, a lay person, relate to the rearrangements or installation of demountable and movable entities. The assignments to professionals, however, are far more encompassing, and may result into re-configuration of the space shell.

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Entrance hall of National Air and Space Museum Washington DC Wikipedia image by Jawed Karim

Space planning needs a recast when changes in building shell or structure (planned or accidental) alters the spatial quality. When key elements of the building or its amenities-facilities are technologically upgraded, it triggers new space planning. Historically buildings have seen major revamps, when gas replaced coal as cooking fuel, and electricity provided the illumination. Similarly piped water supply and organized drainage systems have changed, not only location of toilets within the dwelling, but its internal arrangements. Dining once separated from ‘not so presentable kitchen space‘, however now once again merging due to the efficient and clean cooking processes, smaller families and reduced engagement periods. Offices became ‘open plan’ affair from partitioned cabins, but now internet connections let one operate from home.

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Payment of Tithes (tax) (also known as village lawyer) Art by Pieter Brueghel the Younger 1564-1638

Domestic spaces are continuously improvised by the users, and for the first decade or more, may not require any radical changes. A user -a lay person accepts a ‘reasonable design’ by a professional, and may not engage a professional for any modifications. The changed circumstances or family profile of the user, such as family profile, age, physical abilities, marital status, financial profile, professional activities, new intra-personal relationships and group dynamics, choices and social compatibility, force a redesign of space objects’ arrangements. Built spaces also see major change when ownership changes. Domestic space planning is mainly self authored, and even where a professional is involved, it is controlled. Professional help is, however, actively sought by users, who are highly motivated with income or comparable social tastes and choices.

The user’s understanding of the space is deep, simplistic, devoid of the technicalities, but a subjective one. The user, primarily, relies on spatial rearrangement and micro adjustments of the space entities. Secondly, the user buys ready-made items, gets it produced, or craft it on own. Thirdly, the user exploits the add-ons and enrichments for micro level space making, while imparting a personal flavour. The persistent engagement of the user with the space, however, alters the spatial arrangements.

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Inside of Bomber craft Wk Nr 701152 > Wikipedia image by Dapi89 @ en.wikipedia

Space organization is very encompassing and an adoptive exercise requiring technical skills. Professional designers handle it by developing a holistic strategy or an integrated approach. Designers also have a selfish professional interest of impressing the client and the society at large with an invigorating solution.

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Space with potential > Bell Labs Eero Saarinen Flickr image by soadapop

The control over a space derives from the right to perceive, execute, alter, explore and exploit the organization of objects within a space. For this one may not legally own or be a tenant of the space. A visitor to a space causes a new spatial arrangement by positioning own-self or by being part of a group, at some place. Members of a family or a group get a sense of belonging by such an access. Other way around, people feel ‘at-home’ with object organizations that offer semblances ethnic or cultural familiarity. A sense of equality and pride also occurs when the spatial arrangements are similar as in public housing schemes.

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Egyptian theme at Harrods for branding London > Wikipedia image by Targeman

Commercial spaces see more frequent changes, in terms of the tenants and business styles. Commercial spaces are rejuvenated by the professionals and the changes could be accommodative. The changes are extreme and overhauling, wherever styles or brand images are to be refashioned. Space planning is also affected due to the user related causes such as: new concepts, aspirations, realizations, technology, variations in usage intensities, repairs and maintenance, optimum standards in society. Commercial spaces see major renovations that start with new space planning. Businesses are becoming subsidiaries or franchises of larger entities, and the space planning is a matter of branding.

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GUCCI Hong Kong > Wikipedia image by Kwanyatsw

At domestic level traditions and taboos are followed for placing the objects in space. Commercial spaces and hospitality spaces reflect a mix of local mentality, good practices, and new trends elsewhere. Traditions emerge after years of usage and portray the geographical, historical, cultural, religious and technological preferences. The trends show universal preferences emerging from cross reactions of many art forms. The objects in space and their organization offer several postural and interaction possibilities, affecting the personal relationship as well as group behaviour dynamics.

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President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India follow strict protocol for seating positions

Space planning and behaviour as political etiquette is a time-tested mannerism formalized in government protocol manuals. It shows how two, equal or unequal status, heads of state or such entourages must meet. It indicates the nature of seats, intervening pieces of furniture, the backdrop for the meet, and enrichments that are appropriate, and ones that must be avoided.

The chairs for personal meeting of two important (equal status) personalities (e.g. Presidents of two nations) are upright single seat units (placed parallel but very slightly angled @140°). But we still find dignitaries taking on micro postures by moving towards or leaning on one hand-rest, sitting cross way (diagonally), leaning forward or backward. The reasons are: one is trying to enlarge or reduce the distance, take postures that imply affability, propriety, esteem, etc. However, the sitting arrangement between two unequals, like a president and a prime minister (or a prime minister and a foreign minister) have two unequal (size, form, style) types of seats. The person with higher status sits in a single seat unit, whereas the other party is made to sit at a right angle, and on a wider seat (double or triple seat sofa or even stiffer – upright seat). The furniture arrangement, the angle and the distance between them are regulated by set of rules or ‘protocol’. In spite of the strict protocols people through micro posturing do subconsciously express their real attitude. The body language is just one facet of behaviour that reveals the nature of the encounter.

Recognition is also important for expression and communication. The deficiencies of personality are made up by the surroundings. Some of the tricks, people consciously or otherwise use to draw recognition are: Standing against a wall but little away from it, occupying a single seat rather then share one, positioning against bland background then any clustered or busy face, sitting in a tall, upright and an uncomfortable chair opposed to an easy and low height seat. A person feels secure if protected from at least one side and can control the distance for group behaviour dynamics.

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Behaviour for respect of age > Bolivian VP with Noam Chomsky in NYC > Wikipedia image by Mathew Straubmuller from Bethesda MD USA

A person must get the benefit of natural attributes of the personality such as age, sex and social stature. One may not feel confident and so secure, if under a continuous gaze or surveillance. Feeling of security is more enhanced in known spaces or spaces with a familiar set-up. Large spaces with adequate points of anchorage or interventions make a person feel secure. People feel secure with exits points like a door, stairs, passages, aisles near them. A view of outside adds to security but the same could also be direction of an unknown threat. Presence of handling, holding or barricading devices adds to security, even if one may not have intention or need for using it.

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Spaces with Potential, Abandoned factory > Wikipedia image by Degrootelulu

Spatial organization of objects is an ever evolving process. Buildings, spaces have had use-specific purpose, with matching architectonic and functional provisions. Structures lasting several decades or centuries, see many reorganizations, but circumspect by the structural elements. Rational Gothic structures offered layouts with minimal occupation by walls and translucent latticed partitions of wood and iron offered visually connected spaces. It was realized that for space organization, functional and perceptual inter-connectivity, were more important considerations, then just the size-volume of the space. Post 20th C. other thoughts were added such as providing for future growth, access for the disabled, safety, security, etc. Corporate organizations replaced the layered system to team or department-based structures which favour classless, transparent or open layouts.

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Accounts branch of Government Printing office in Brisbane 1921 > Wikipedia image

Industrial age offered systems that were less bulky, due to use of electric as the source of energy and newer materials. The facilities and amenities that were structural bearing, now multi became independent, mobile or easily relocatable, multitasking miniatures and affordable. This freed lot of space and reduce the burden on structures. The space organization as a planning rationale for task efficiency emerged in this age. These initiated ‘systems’ for spatial organization. The gadgets were conceived as fitments into a space, with planned connectivity and inter gadget relationships. Women’s hobby magazines of the time took it further, creating ‘work efficiency layouts with behavioural considerations. For example, a window over a cooking range and sink were a result of these attitudes. At industrial level the continuous line production layouts were favoured over batch-based systems. Due to lighter steel roofs with North lights and electric illumination, it was now possible to design ‘mega foot print’ spaces for commercial and industrial purposes. Commercial spaces were redefined with electric illumination, piped heating-cooling equipments, telephony and organized document storage. Space reorganization became a frequent affair but with new departmental stores (1950s) it was even a quicker change.

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Wall dependent office layout of 1900s > Wikipedia image

Early offices had, peripheral or along the wall work tables, storage systems and cubicles or cabins. This gradually gave way to half height partitioned or ‘compartmental office spaces’. But today, according to the International Facility Management Association, 68% of North American employees work in offices with an open floor plan or open seating. Open offices are space inefficient due to the larger area per employee.

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Office with electric illumination > Wikipedia image from National Archives and Records Administration College Park,

 Offices during and immediately after world war-II period had as much 50% of the total space devoted to storage. These were separated from work areas, and manned by store keepers. The store room volume and traffic to it were reduced with several technologies such as document facsimile systems, telecommunication, automated file access including the mechanical card-index sorting machines. Digital documents with computerization solved the problems of file storage, access and transfer. Now the offices were nearly fully ‘human occupied spaces’.

Older employees and traditional businesses like, law, finance and other professionals, who have worked from cubicles, cabins and corner offices, find it difficult to adopt open offices. Open offices are blamed for affecting privacy, client relationships, employee productivity, loss of sense of belonging, and even compromising the morale.

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Personal work area > Wikipedia image by AlainV

 Open office layouts provide a visual cohesiveness and spatial continuity. It also incorporates the concept of compact personal work module, -a work station. Computers had similar work stations or dedicated utility for multi tasking. Earlier crafts’ people like a watch repairer, engravers, a gold smith had such dedicated facilities.

Wireless technology and cloud storage software make it easier for companies to embrace nomadic workstations, says Frank Rexach, a Shanghai-based vice president and general manager at Haworth. Rexach says ‘People don’t want to feel handcuffed to their desk, especially the Millennials’ (= young people who were between the ages of 10 and 20 on September 11, 2001 defined as per Newsweek magazine).

The dedicated work facilities were mainly based on using tapped or sourced connections and exclusive offerings (processing facilities Auto-Cad, audio-video editing, desk-top publishing). With technological advancement these were available on all systems. Mobile phones, Laptops, and tablets were de-linked due to chargeable batteries and wireless connections. The digital processing anywhere allowed work location and schedule of choice. The office space has now turned into a casual place for personal interaction. Of course this function too can be met by video conferencing.

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Unassigned seating in the office > Wikipedia image by Jacob Botter

The office space has become an unassigned seating place. The need to personally interact remained as acute, and perhaps emerged more stronger. The meeting rooms are common or rented facilities. Its interior space has high efficiency ambience but does not match the corporate aspirations of a ‘personal space’. In a different perspective, something similar is happening on educational campuses. The teacher-student relationship is missing on personal contacts. The lecture hall is partly replaced by seminar or workshop rooms.

Just like open office plans, many entities such as the partition less residences, self access retail outlets, libraries and kindergarten rooms have transient furniture elements. Glass curtains walled commercial buildings, etc. are also conceived to be boundless spaces. The boundless spaces are assumed to enhance the intra-personal interactions.

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This post forms 16 th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/BoudinRedRoom.jpg >> The Red Room as designed by Stéphane Boudin during the administration of John F. Kennedy

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SPATIAL BEHAVIOUR with AMENITIES, FACILITIES, UTILITIES and ENRICHMENTS

Post 597 by Gautam Shah (15 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Human behaviour, at realistic level is governed by how a habitable space allows various tasks. For conducting work-tasks and other tasks such as social interactions, expression and communication a space needs many provisions. Amenities, Facilities and Utilities endow a sense of belonging while achieving functionality, but Enrichments invest the space with personalization.

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Service station at a Chevron gas station San Francisco CA USA > Wikipedia image by  @ BrokenSphere / Wikipedia Commons

AMENITIES

Behaviour in habitable space often revolves around the amenities. Areas near the attached amenities attract all the activities. Due to this, users seem to move from one amenity to another. All the intermediate space patches and time interludes between the amenities become sections for secondary behaviour.

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Work environment for Stone masons Agra India > Flickr image by Chris Shervey

Amenities are attached to a building shell. The linkage is for structural support through a wall, floor or roof, or for functional support for sourcing a ‘supply or disposal utility’. One of the largest sections of amenities, are for environmental control, such as projections, wind towers, air ducts, sun shades, pergolas, grills, etc. Some of the amenities are conceived to be architectonic elements for enhancing the architectural language.

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Architectural amenities – Hearth in traditional Japanese house > Wikipedia image by Fg2

Amenities could be both, structurally integrated solutions which are difficult to remove without damage to the building shell; and mounted entities that may perhaps be replaced but require an identical or matching solution for the sake of design integrity. Relocatable amenities are sometimes considered as facilities. Amenities are also subsystems, part of a larger system -the building. Such subsystem amenities have well-defined relationships or connectivity.

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Kitchen services sourced from the wall > Wikipedia image by Flickr user rick

The structural elements of a building also serve the function of an amenity. An amenity nominally is static, but could also be a mobile, which then is called a utility. A static amenity can have some degree of internal variability like a louvre in a window or an elevator in building. The static amenities are designed to take advantage of the location, orientation, connections, etc. Static amenities use their mass for their relevance and so are heavy. Static amenities consume little operative power, and in most cases have no outputs except for disposal or extinction. Non static, dynamic or mobile amenities are difficult in terms of managing the inputs (power, etc.) and outputs (residues, effluents and disposal or extinction).

Environmental amenities relating to the climate (Sun, Wind) operate only for a part of the season, day or hour. Such amenities are also designed to be architectonic elements. Fixed amenities are difficult to reestablish elsewhere or everywhere due to their dependency on connections (power, water supply, entry), forcing one to customize the living around the amenities or accept the inherent deficiencies.

In buildings such attached amenities are platforms for cooking, fireplaces, window ledges, door thresholds, otalas, steps, open to sky Chowks, cutouts, seats along the walls, etc. These are areas with very focussed behaviour, surrounded by a loosely defined zone but worthy of many ‘free’ activities. Amenities are dependent on strong structural elements of the building, often touching the exterior, this creates planning where amenities and related activities to the peripheral areas of the space.

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Clothes store Jodhpur Rajasthan India > Wikipedia image by Matthew Laird Acred

FACILITIES

Facilities are unattached entities and so demountable and relocatable. The word facility is often used synonymously with an amenity. A space occupier makes some rearrangements to all the facilities designed and sited by an expert. Such personal manipulations are intentional or experimental, either of temporary or permanent nature. Change in form and location of various amenities is also occasional and seasonal. A space grows with age and reflects not only the taste but turmoils and compulsions of the user. The size, shape, location of different facilities is as important as their interrelationships. The siting of a facility in reference to the spatial quality and architectural ambience reflect the concerns for environmental conditions.

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Gym Facilities > Wikipedia image by LocalFitness.com.au

Facilities have ergonomic characteristics to enhance the human capabilities. A facility is conceived to satisfy the largest section of users via the ‘percentile method’, though leaving the users at the top and bottom highly dissatisfied. This causes behavioural problems that are very acutely displayed in public expressions.

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Attic bedroom Skoga Iceland > Wikipedia image by Ben Husmann from Chicago USA

Largest section of facilities consists of various devices for carrying out tasks. These task devices support the body or its parts, facilitate and extend the reach and aid the body movements and motions. Support devices provide a base for utilities like chopping and ironing boards. Posture taking devices like for seating and resting, are created with anthropometrics, but their styling affects the human behaviour. Storage systems are work-organizers and do not affect the human behaviour.

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Post Master’s Desk > Wikipedia image by weisserstier from Wien Australia

UTILITIES

Utilities different from amenities and facilities. The utilities include tools and equipments that are handy, though some require a base support for efficient working. Support dependent utilities are often nearly fixed devices. Sourced utilities are tied, requiring linkages for input-output like power or effluents. These are relocatable within a range. Hand-free utilities require very little manual manipulation for operations. Utilities become multipurpose because every variation in its support system gives it a new purpose. So it is, said creativity comes through the craftsperson or technician, and not from the utilities. Majority of the utilities and facilities are preferential to right-handed people in terms controls and operations.

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Work-Lab utilities > Wikipedia image by Rory Hyde from Amsterdam Netherlands

ENRICHMENTS

Enrichments are means of personalization of a space. Installation or removal of the enrichments does not affect the utilitarian value of a space. Enrichments serve a decorative and metaphoric purpose. Enrichments are extremely personal and frequently replaceable, so are transient entities. Some functional entities like bolsters, cushions, dusters, etc. are accepted to be items for comfort but are accepted as enrichments. Enrichments are items of expression through their shape, form, scale, colour, texture, patterns, composition, symbolism, position or location, relationship with other objects.

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Personal space Sherlock Holmes Museum London, > Wikipedia image by user:FA2010

The schema for enrichments originates through several sources like media, inter-personal interactions, print media, TV, cultural heritage, caste, religion, locale, region, pride, leisure time, motivation and competition. It is also supported by desire to add-on the convenience offered over industrially produced standard goods, love for artistic intervention or crafty manipulation, experimentation, innovation, improvisation, upgrade, repair etc.

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Choir stalls Trinity Church in Cracow Poland > Wikipedia image by Pudelek

Enrichments are brought in by a person, members of the family or leaders of a group. The theme, as a result inevitably has one or singular ’authorship’ and consistency of concept. This reflects in the unified effort. There is a continuous thread of concept, form, colour pallet, patterns, placement, symbolism, etc. Occasionally radically different types of enrichments also manifest in such spaces, but over a period of time things gets acceptance. Where a next generation inherits the space entity, their responses are nearly confirmative, and something of the past survives or is consciously continued. When a person or family migrate to new environments, the new place carries the imprints of the old, in many instances more intensely. Where space designing is outsourced to professionals a new vocabulary of enrichment arrives, but these too get domesticated or personalized. Such personalization occurs through re-siting, re-orientation, and new contextual composition. In few instances it may awaken new lifestyles, but something of the past always reappears.

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Desk of Anthony Chekhov > Wikipedia image by SiefkinDR

 Enrichments affect the behaviour very mildly but persistently. The cumulative change over a period of time is far greater in content and extent. The enrichments reflect the personalization, so are very comforting and assuring. It represents the author and an age, and reminds the contribution of the author or the era. Enrichments take away the loneliness and boredom. Enrichments add to the micro levels of comfort without destroying the standard scheme of the space. Enrichments customize a space circumstantially, according to local environmental needs, personal choices and tasks. Enrichments are self-created and self-installed so their repair, alterations and replacement are within the personal ambit of skills and time management. Enrichments are demountable and transferable, so remain personal assets.

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Mall space Kolkota India > Wikipedia Biswarup Ganguly

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This post forms 15 th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.

TASK SPECIFIC SPACES

Post 594 by Gautam Shah (14 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Spaces are multitasking facilities. Spaces have varied segments and environmentally transient locations to allow different activities to converge and separate in time and locations. A task is an identifiable work-lot for productive effort, relaxation or passing engagement. It is a work module that requires an area, specific environmental conditions, certain physiological capacities, few postural variations, set of tools and amenities, intra-personal facilitation, psychological makeup, intent and motivation. Other concerns for conducting tasks are safety, health, comfort, stability, mobility, consistency, variety, physical reach, cognition, sense of productivity, energy-conservation, ecological engagements, learning and cultural inhibitions.

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Shoe maker Karachi Pakistan > Wikipedia image

Task Recognition makes way for efficiency and productivity. Tasks need to be recognized in terms of the location, schedule and environmental conditions. Tasks are better managed, if perceived as a part of routine and sequence. The routine recognizes common factors between tasks, casual tasks are once in a while endeavour, whereas sequential tasks optimize the postural change, site shifting, usage of amenities and facilities by participating members, and adjust intense work and rest periods.

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Removal of wool from skins and combing Art by Issac Claesz van Swanenburg (1537-1614)

Routine tasks are associated with the same location, time schedule, fixed structures, amenities, facilities and environmental conditions. Routine tasks are also very dependent on group behaviour dynamics. Routine tasks require very little shifting or rescheduling and so are very productive. The location is maintained because the space segment, with some consistent qualities can expand and contract to meet the occasional needs of the individual or group. Locations for routine tasks being consistent evolve with a lot of personalization such as enrichments. Such locations, because of their consistency and permanency, become the marked spaces or architectural units (bathing area, hay chopping area, etc.). Routine tasks with acute time domination cannot generally afford the luxury of space shifting, because identical environmental conditions are difficult to set elsewhere.

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Casual tasks are tactical solutions rather results of any strategic planning. Casual tasks are ‘once in a while process’. The exigency is to accomplish the task in with whatever locational conditions, and as quickly as possible. Casual tasks overcome the shortcomings of the space size, form, environmental conditions, and problems with group behaviour dynamics. Casual tasks are ‘exciting’ as these open-up new possibilities of space and time management. Casual tasks also generate new group behaviour dynamics and intra-personal relationships.

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Peasants harvesting crops Art by Pieter Brueghel 17 C Wikipedia image

Sequential tasks result from continuous work processes between equipments or participants, or both. Sequencing is required where the work steps are preceding-anteceding or back-feed or forward-feed are required. These can happen with batch or stream-line production processes. For example for cooking an efficient work triangulation is proposed, the nodes consist of basic amenities like cooking, sink and refrigerator (could change with culture and technology) and the connections denote the preparation, defrosting and storing, respectively. Similar task management techniques with robots are used for automobile assembly lines. Streamlined production plants like garments, electronics, consumer white goods recognize working of each task and the interim carryover periods and spaces.

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Fixed facility / Machine shop workstation > Wikipedia image by Rob NREC

Consistency and Variety are required in task handling. It can be achieved by doing a different task, or the same task differently. For these tasks are set in different spatial and environmental conditions and often with new intra-personal setting.

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Task Productivity is greatly affected by the work setting formed by the space and environment. Wherever and whenever there is realization that task productivity is not of the comparative societal standards, the space is reformatted to realign the amenities, facilities and architectonic elements. Here at one end the functional efficiencies are re-validated, and at the other end environmental controls are reset. New group dynamics of intra-personal relationships also upgrade the productivity.

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Learning and improvising > Wikipedia image by Artaxerxes

Learning and Improvisations are inevitable part of task handling. Tasks’ spread, effort and time of accomplishment are continuously appraised requiring minor changes in the processes. By rationalizing task spreads one reduces the physical energy of reach. Re-planning of efforts cut the number of processes. Time management achieves faster delivery. Oft repeated tasks is always the most improvised one.

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Physical Reach and Physical Capacities define the number of sub-tasks or processes that can be handled without requiring shifting or rescheduling. These two, in a way also determine the dependence on tools, equipments, structures, amenities, facilities for carrying out tasks. Physical reach and capacities are governed by the posture taken for the task.

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Housewives have accepted platform type of kitchen over floor level cooking in a crouching position because the later was restrictive. A corner study table allows greater reach then a straight table. An aged person prefers a straight seat with handles as it allows an easy rise up off the chair.

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Walled Kitchen

Social Factors operate at two levels: Group behaviour dynamics and the traditions, taboos, etc. Intra-personal interactions, even if nonverbal, act as a relief in task handling. Socially siting and scheduling of tasks affects the group behaviour dynamics. The tasks and group behaviour are inseparable. Customs and taboos result from the local perceptions and experiences, and so same tasks could have different time and space setting (ethnic variations) across societies. These are more apparent in craft related tasks.

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Stability and Mobility related to transient positions and postures. Architectural features, facilities, tools and equipment and other participants are used for these purposes. Mobility is required to change the orientation, position and work-ability, which in interim processes in oft-repeated tasks.

Task attachment or anchorage results from need for personal support and stability and dependence on entities like: space forms, environmental conditions, structures, amenities, facilities and enrichments.

Bhunga houses have door thresholds as the commandeering location. Huts and one room house use inside front-corner for cooking because from the door an outsider would not see what is being cooked. Kitchens have platforms (or centralized work stations) attached to the wall for accessing services. Some tasks have sanctimonious associations and so are oriented to specific directions (like Mecca, East-Sun). One of the most preferred of orientations, are the openings’ systems like door, window, or a gap, because it extends the vision and allows to command further. Orientation is a biological preference as well as cultural conditioning and accordingly people prefer left or right turning.

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Multi tasking Fixed Control panel image by (http://simplevisions.org/index.php?showingimage=48 by Yovko Lambrev)

Tasks extremely dependent on fixed amenities cannot be shifted, however, sub-tasks dependent on multiple processes needs to shift around wherever these are available. Tasks that require different space spreads for various processes and may need re-siting. Task handling efficiency derives when wait for the right occasion or search for the right location is minimal. Tasks are nominally positioned (and shifted around) within the same space segment and scheduled (and switched around) in the same time section. But some tasks are ‘shifted to other space segments or deferred in time’. Such shifts in space and switches in time occur primarily for functional needs, but often to relieve the tedium and for experimentation. Tasks are also switched to different schedules and locations to develop new intra-personal equations or group behaviour mechanisms. Tasks, which flourish within groups, may ignore time and space convenience.

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 This post forms 14 th of the Sixteen part of Lecture series on Behaviour in Space that I will be offering for the spring semester starting Jan 2016 (to mid April2016) at School of Interior Design, Faculty of Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India.

BLOG LINKS on FURNITURE DESIGN

Post 584 by Gautam Shah

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These are few BLOG LINKS on FURNITURE DESIGN

● Measures and Modulation

● Postures

● Space Planning

● Designing Furniture Elements

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MEASURES and MODULATION

UNDERSTANDING the ISO MODULAR MEASURES for DESIGN Blog Post 519 Dt 21Sept 2015

MODULAR MEASURES Blog Post 427 Dt 19 May 2015

MODULATED MEASURE SYSTEM Blog Post 219 Dt 20 Oct 2014

IMPLICATIONS OF DIMENSIONAL COORDINATION # 1 Blog Post 421 Dt 12 May 2015

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A reading of Moliere in a Salon by Jean Francois de Troy 1728 Wikipedia image

POSTURES and DESIGN

POSTURES and MEANINGS for design Blog Post 526 Dt 3 Oct 2015

POSTURES and BEHAVIOUR Blog Post 347 Dt 25 Feb 2015

POSTURES for Furniture Design -1 Blog Post 250 Dt 20 Nov 2014

POSTURES for Furniture Design – 2 Blog Post 259 Dt 29 Nov 2014

POSTURES for Furniture Design – 3 Blog Post 537 Dt 28 Oct 2015

BODY POSTURES Blog Post 193 Dt 23 Sept 2014

BODY POSTURE SYSTEMS Dt 26 June 2014

BODY POSTURING and DESIGNING for it Blog Post 510 Dt

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Judo formalism > Wikipedia image by http://www.usmc.mil + Cpl.Jeff Sisto

SPACE PLANNING for INTERIOR DESIGN

SPACE PLANNING for TASKS Blog Post 212 Dt 13 Oct 2014

SPACE PLANNING Blog Post 269 Dt 9 Dec 2014

SPACE PLANNING by Visual and Non-visual means Dt 23 March2014

SPACE PLANNING -Developments Dt 18 March 2014

COMFORT CONDITIONS in INTERIOR SPACES Blog Post 443 Dt 8 June 2015

SEATING ARRANGEMENTS and INTERACTIONS Dt 24 April 2014

SOUND and SMALL SPACES Post 128 Dt 27 Aug 2015

640px-robert_irwin_scrim_veil_black_rectangle_natural_light_whitney_2013

Robert Irwin: Scrim Veil -Black rectangle – natural light Whitney museum of American art New York 1977 > Wikipedia image by Mduvekot

 DESIGNING FURNITURE ELEMENTS

WAINSCOTING -wood panelling Blog Post 461 Dt 1 July 2015

ALMIRAH – 1 Blog Post 514 Dt 11 Sept 2015

PANELLING SYSTEMS Dt 15 May 2014

DESIGN of STORAGE SYSTEMS Blog Post 466 Dt 6 July 2015

DESIGNING STORAGE SYSTEMS Blog Post 419 Dt 10 May 2015

STORAGE SYSTEMS Dt 2 Dec 2009

STORING Blog Post 207 Dt 7 Oct 2014

STORING – II Blog Post 209 Dt 10 Oct 2014

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Greek Furniture > Wikipedia image by Giovanni Dall’Orto

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SPACE PLANNING and NON VISUAL CUES

Post 397 – by Gautam Shah

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Space planning achieved through visual means is obvious, as much as it is effective. Non visual sensorial effects are however, difficult to perceive, and so difficult to express, communicate or record. These are though equally effective, but very subtle. At specific positions and in certain circumstances, many of the visual means also provide, non visual sensorial effects. Professional designers, in their conventional space planning, give consideration to parameters like auditory, olfactory, tactile and atmospheric factors such as the temperature and moisture, etc. A lay person finds it very difficult to replicate these in a personal space. The judgements on these counts are speculative, because effective results derive from accumulation of many factors.

Southampton Medieval Merchants House Hall

A lay person considers non visual sensorial effects, at best as the reinforcing elements to visual means. Other parameters such as the privacy, intimacy, well being, safety, security, seclusion and participation, are achieved through sensible space planning, but need space and time reinforcement through indicative means.

nature-black-and-white-plant-wood-white-photography-617728-pxhere.com

TASKS AND SENSORIAL PERCEPTION

Space planning, relates to managing the tasks. The ability to see is one of the most important requirements of task handling. The critical factors are visibility, legibility and recognition. It also includes differentiation of spectrum variations or in other words the colour perception. Vision also helps to mark a scale for objects (perspective + distance). Persons with deficient or no vision, find it difficult to comprehend the environment. Hearing is critical as it affects our ability to communicate. The important factors in human hearing, are the sound levels (db) related audibility, intelligibility, signal-to-noise ratio, and the capacity to attune the preferred frequencies, selectively (back ground noise and noise annoyance). Perception through touch is locational and varied, which gives a choice as to what should be done and with which part of the limbs (fingers’ tips are more sensitive then any other part) and how close one should be with objects and other people. Perception of taste and smell seem to go together, but smell has a directionality. Taste activates metabolism and other systems. Task handling makes use of perception faculties to be productive, creative and without boredom.

Dingy space and The Potato Eaters, 1885. Van Gogh

SPACE PLANNING and USE OF NON VISUAL SENSORIAL EFFECTS

Non visual sensorial effects are: mainly Auditory, Olfactory, Tactile and Gustatory.

Auditory sense (relating to sound) provides the scale of distance, direction, and time. It indirectly reveals the quality of absorption and reflection.

Visual and Auditory senses work in consonance, because both have a sense of scale and direction. In space planning one provides the clue about the other. The selection and placement of furniture, furnishings and enrichments can change the visual space perception, as much as the surface treatments of the same elements can change the audio quality of a space. The purposes of space elements, their placement, composition, shape or size, are not very apparent to a lay person or a casual visitor. However, such effects become apparent as the satisfaction or comfort.

Tactile sense (relating to touch such as texture, temperature, moisture, electrical charge). It is a pervasive faculty, though some parts of the body are more sensitive. It is locative and part of the defensive mechanism. Tactile sense requires one to be in proximity of the surface, yet the textures, nature of construction (hollow, foamed, micro undulations), etc. prompt an auditory response from a distance, and so preempts the perception.

Seated Iron Vairocana Buddha of Borimsa Temple

Olfactory sense relates to smell or the odours. It is closely related to quality of air and so instinct of survival is intimately linked. It is highly frontal and directional. It also gives the idea of distance. Odours are perceived with air and its movements. Enclosed rooms filter the noise but reduce the chances of fresh air. This creates a ‘smelly’ or stagnant space. A designer has to perceive a space planning layouts with all these overlapping sensorial effects, and also notions people have. Odours are considered as issue space personalization.

 

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Odour control: Odours occur and persist in commercial spaces. Odours are generated by materials, processes and human occupation. Confined spaces such as underground car parks or basements, garbage areas, passages, etc. have poor air-change. Offices where coffee, snack and meals are allowed in work zones have greater degree of air fouling. The odour can be controlled through basic three methods: Greater dilution with fresh air, Finer scrubbing of odours, and Larger exposure to natural sunlight UV rays. Odours from surface finishes, cleaning compounds, treatments applied on furnishings and degeneration of plastics, etc. are controlled best by proper selection rather then any processes. Human skin scales, biologically degenerate very fast, and it is a major problem for spaces with large human traffic. Here again regular vacuum cleaning is the best method, but for this smooth and hard floors, in place of fiber or synthetic carpets are required. Odours of slightest measure are detested by first time visitors. However, masking an odour with deodorant is only delaying the effects of odours.

Gustatory sense (relating to taste buds) It is closely related to olfactory sense. It provides no sense of scale, distance or time unless with the Olfactory sense.

Interior_of_Balay_Negrense,_Silay_City,_Negros_Occidental,_Philippines

Atmospheric parameters: For good ventilation and dilution, adding fresh air, is the best technology. Next method is to use various types of non-chemical techniques of scrubbing the air (ion charging, micro filtering, etc.). Ventilation system adjusts the temperature, replenishes proportion of oxygen, removal or addition of moisture, diluting or scrubbing the air to remove odours, smoke, dust and airborne bacteria.

HVAC and other experts take care of these aspects of atmospheric comforts in space planning. The air movement in large spaces have few problems, for example, in humid climates. Very high air movements ruffle the papers, hair and hangings like curtains. These are both visual and noise distractions. There always are few pockets with poor air circulation. Such pockets are more prominent in open office plans which are partly compartmentalized. Open office-plan can be well sustained with a distributed machine aided cooling or heating systems. The floor touching partitions of open office cubicles and comparatively low ceilings hinder air circulation. It creates areas with poor air change, uneven cooling-heating, poor moisture control, inadequate dilution of air borne pollutants and odours. Presence of mosquitoes in the lower sections of cubicles due to stagnancy of air is a great health hazard.

wieliczka-mine-1182298_640(1)

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ENRICHMENTS in INTERIOR SPACE

Post 354 – by Gautam Shah

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Carlo_scarpa,_palazzo_steri_entrance,_palermo_1973-1978_(3574400033)

Enrichments are personal interventions in an interior space. These are extras over the nominal functional provisions of space planning. Enrichments are used by professional designers as well as lay occupiers of the space. Professionals use it to enhance the thematic concept. These efforts, however, often lack the conviction for the actual occupier of the space. For lay persons enrichments evolve with the familiarity of space and mature over a long period. Enrichments are a subjective involvement of the user, reflected in the selection and placement of the enrichment. The selection follows traditions, taboos, customs, instincts, experience, perceptions, daring, suggestions and compulsions. The enrichments become a matured style of the locality or a group, an ethnicity of an era or a geographical identity.

Empire State Plaza concourse NY USA

Enrichments are selected for their own quality or appeal, and also as fitment to a given situation. By placing an element that is personal and familiar, there is an attempt to alter the scale, complexity and alienation of the space.

Enrichments are expressions that reduce the alienation, loneliness, and the incidence undesirable or severity of abnormal behaviours.

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Personalization through enrichments occurs by many routes. Enrichments may not have a precise definition or explanation, but over a period gain an identity. The identification is achieved by confirmation to an ideology, expression of abstracted messages, display of authority, and being part of hierarchal structure. Enrichments represent cultural affinity, affirmation to a social cause (e.g. green spaces), a diffusion or concentration of an ideology, spiritual experience, history, continuity, or desire for contrast or diversity. Presence of some enrichments encourages the group dynamics with a sense of belonging. Enriched spaces have safety, security and assurance of performance.

White House Dining room

Enrichments are means of personalization of a space. Installation or removal of the enrichments does not affect the utilitarian value of a space. Enrichments do serve a decorative and metaphoric purpose. Enrichments are extremely personal and frequently replaceable, so are transient entities. Some functional entities like bolsters, cushions, dusters, etc. are items of comfort but are accepted as enrichments. Enrichments are items of expression through their shape, form, scale, colour, texture, patterns, composition, symbolism, position or location, relationship with other objects.

Maison_Cauchie_Gevel_Gelijkvloers

Enrichments are:

  • Objects that can be savoured from many sides and contexts, such as vessels, utensils, statues.
  • Surfaces like paintings, murals, wall pieces, posters, mirrors, glass, patterns, that enhance the floors, walls or ceilings or become partitions.
  • Furniture to aid postures, task supports, storage entities, space intervening objects, furnishings like carpets, bolsters and curtains.
  • Hangings to fill up a space, mark a location, add dynamism, movement or change the static, reflects the ethereal or nonphysical.
  • Fittings and Fixtures that add to functionality of architectonic elements.
  • Signage and Graphics to convey messages, indicate layout, symbols.
  • Sensorial effects such as Illumination, odours, deodorants, textures, climatic effects (heating, cooling, moisturizing), colours.

Paolo_Monti_-_Servizio_fotografico_(Venezia,_1963)_-_BEIC_6328671

The schema for enrichments originates through several sources like media, inter-personal interactions, print media, TV, cultural heritage, caste, religion, locale, region, pride, leisure time, motivation and competition. It is also supported by desire to add on the convenience offered over industrially produced standard goods, love for artistic intervention or crafty manipulation, experimentation, innovation, improvisation, upgrade, repairs, etc.

Château de Malmaison, 1800, room for the Empress Joséphine, on the cusp between Directoire style and Empire style

Enrichments are added by a person, members of the family or leaders and members of a group. The theme, as a result inevitably has one or singular ’authorship’ and consistency of concept. This reflects in the unified effort. There is a continuous thread of concept, form, colour pallets, patterns, placement, symbolism, etc. Occasionally enrichments that are radically different also occur in such spaces, but over a period of time, odd things get accommodated. Even where a next generation inherits the space entity, their responses are nearly consistent, and something of the past survives or is consciously continued. When a person or family migrate to new environments, the new place carries the imprints of the old. In many instances (for example Asian-Indian homes in USA) transmit it more intensely. Where space designing is outsourced to professionals a new vocabulary of enrichment arrives, but these too get domesticated or personalized. Such personalization occurs through re-siting, re-orientation, and new contextual composition. In few instances it may awaken new lifestyles, but something of the past always reappears.

Farnsworth_House_by_Mies_Van_Der_Rohe_-_interior

Enrichments affect the behaviour very mildly but persistently. The cumulative change over a period of time is far greater in content and extent. The enrichments reflect the personalization, so are very comforting and assuring. It represents the author and an age, and reminds the contribution of the author or the era. Enrichments add to the micro levels of comfort without destroying the standard scheme of the space. Enrichments customize a space circumstantially, according to local environmental needs, personal choices and tasks. Enrichments are self created and installed so their repair, alterations and replacement are within the personal ambit of skills and time management. Enrichments are demountable and transferable, so remain personal assets.

WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015.

Enrichments are extensively used by retail outlets that rely on brand selling, and corporates who thrive on image making. Automobile showrooms flourish with superfluous space enrichments, because by the time some mature integration occurs, a new set of entities arrive. Compared to this corporate offices and hospitality spaces have well-integrated schemes. Other public spaces like museums, law courts, halls, etc. use enrichments very judiciously disguising as graphics or signage. Religious and political functions and processions use enrichments pretentiously to show their large following.

The Mensa (Cafeteria) BAUHAUS

Kyoto_Station_interior_roof_architecture

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ZONING of SPACES

Post 348 – by Gautam Shah 

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Spaces are characterized by the activities occurring in it. The activities take the domineering position for the time slot, and so has a natural tendency to be singular and focal. Multiple activities in the same time slot do not have specific spatial character, unless the space is well segmented.

Laos evening_prayer_at_Wat_Xieng_Thong

To remain relevant and focused the main activity of the space, must remain at the core zone of the space. In other words the main activity must stay away from the peripheral zones. The peripheral areas of the space are vibrant due to strong external effects. The strong external bearing can be curtailed by opaque edges. The core area, to retain its consistency begins to shift towards the protected edge. The shift to the edge may also occur due the architectural form of the space, local environmental conditions, overpowering functional needs, available facilities, amenities and enrichments. A dominant enclosure on one or few sides of a domain creates an inviolable shield, an identity of belonging, or a sense of orientation.

ISKCON_Chennai_PrayerHall

Core zones gain strength by the architectural form. Spaces forms like concentric, conical, angular, circular, pyramidal, etc., are focused and so enhance the focus of the core zone. Very extensive domains lack an effective focus.

640px-Stadtfest_Wien_20090426_-_Temporary_picnic_zone_'Burggarten'_b

A core zone can be formed by the dimensional and cognition reach extent of the occupants. Such core zones are very personal, affirmed by the user rather than the architectural form. The reach extent scales the domain space.

Off centric core zone Interior of the palace of Shauh Shujah Ool Moolk, Late King of Kabul The British Library James Rattray (1818-1854)

Core zone of a space is a work setting, and so it is maintained free of permanent facilities. Amenities are also pushed to the opaque edge to source, the services like power, supplies, disposals, etc. The amenities in core zones need to be demountable, relocatable, handy-mobile, multipurpose equipments, plug in tools, wireless gadgets, miniaturized appliances and modular in design. Compared to these, the amenities in the peripheral zones are strongly dependent on the architectural and structural systems, and so are static.

Historically a core zone of the ‘Home’ was the ‘hearth’ (literally meaning a focus). It was considered safe, intimate and interactive for the family. The hearth was created often without any abutting elements like the cave wall or a rock face. The ambit of the core zone was determined by the climate, the scale of the space, number of participants and level of interaction, and the degree of personalization required. There was only one such zone in the dwelling. The home in charge -the mother was master of the core zone. Her role and presence had become so obvious that ‘the hearth, the mother and home’ were synonymous. In tribal and aboriginal homes the core area is a female domain. The core zone was the natural center of metaphysical spread, ‘the home’, as much as the mother was de-facto guardian of culture. Today, however the hearth is not an inevitable element for safety, security or comfort. It is the quality of barriers and other gadgets that provide this. Dwellings now have many sub domains each belonging to an individual, smaller group, or configured for a set of tasks. Very few activities of the family occur at the one place and are scheduled in the same time slot. But the family members do share a lifestyle developed through metaphysical markings like beliefs (customs, taboos, etc.) and the metaphoric means.

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MULTIPLE CORE ZONES

Multiple core zones occur in very extensive domains. Such domains have weak central command and so allow formation of groups. The groups separate out primarily due to needs like physical accommodation, need for social intimacy and reach of communication. The groups may not seek a distinct territory or qualitative space segment. However, frequent such occurrences, show the existence of multiple qualitative space segments.

picnic medium

Multiple core zones also emerge where several overlapping or closely spaced domains operate within a larger built space entity. Such core zones share the same spatial segment simultaneously or are programmed in same time schedules. Here the consistent elements are: spatial characteristics, environmental features, participants, amenities, facilities, tasks and activities. Multiple core zones tend to remain together, but often get separated by strong peripheral areas.

Algerian_nomads

Arab tents had dual core areas within the basic form of the tent, one occupied by the women and used for main cooking, and the other half is used by men and for preparing coffee, etc. These two sections are divided by a mass of stored elements, such as mattresses, floor spreads, etc. The side flaps of the tent are stretched out to create peripheral zones of various sizes. The stretched width and the angle of the flap are conditioned by the sun’s position, wind direction, nature of tasks to be conducted and the need for privacy.

Cooking and dining once (and still do in many societies) belonged to a single core zone, but were separated as two concurrent core areas. These two core areas were further separated by a pantry area that was a peripheral zone to both. Entrance is buffered by a lobby, foyer, entrance hall, or vestibule from other sections of the house. Yards, verandahs, porches are used to separate out the building from the street.

Single room dwelling units

Small or one room, houses have multiple core zones. These zones exist in terms of activity space spreads, which often overlap in time. The multiple core zones match the space layout characteristics, such as four corners, the area near the door or window, the area abutting the wall, the axis formed between two opposite side opening. Traditional Sarai rooms are two and half man width = 5 Mts or 16.5 Ft. This allows two families or their men or women to occupy a side. The depth of the room is of less important.

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