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.

LONELINESS, ALIENATION and SPATIAL BEHAVIOUR

Post 591 by Gautam Shah (13 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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A space arouses many types of emotions. Some of these caused by physiological and psychological conditions, and may disappear in the next visit or through continuing encounters. Somewhere external interventions are required to reset the sensorial perceptions and associated implications of the space. The other, an internal process redefines the space for spatial accommodation.

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Living Room of a club house in Rotterdam Netherlands > Wikipedia image by Cmglee

The sensorial perceptions relate to how a space ‘feels’ in nominal and extra ordinary environments and usage. The strangeness of the experience arises from associations one establishes and expectations evoked. Both are triggered by the past, and show up as human behaviour. There are many, happy, sad, strange, familiar, predictable, abhorrent and pleasant spatial experiences. Some inspire or force to change the space but other numb you to leave it.

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The lost place > Flickr image by Groman123

Loneliness is an anxious feeling about a lack connectedness. It is experienced in absence or presence of people, and in known as well as unknown surroundings. The causes of loneliness are many such as social, mental, emotional, physiological and spiritual.

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Loneliness > Flickr image by Antoine K

Causes for Loneliness are: Loss of a relationship due to breakup, travel, death of a person, dejection or withdrawal from a social circle, enforced isolation like jail or punishment like over stay at school or workplace, unfamiliar lifestyle, food and community leading to home sickness, a dysfunction of communication channels at places with low population densities, during periods of harsh climates, and fewer people to communicate with due to language, sex, social or other barriers.

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Loneliness and keeping busy Flickr image by vishwaant avk

Loneliness can be attributed to personal need, period, place and people. A person when isolated may feel lonely, but it is not always due to isolation. Solitude could be by choice, and so loneliness is a subjective experience. People can be lonely in a crowded or public place, because a person may be desiring more intensive social interaction than what is currently available, or the surroundings are not suitable for such opportunities. A person can be in the middle of a party and feel lonely due to inability to participate in it. Contrary to this one can be alone and yet not feel lonely, if there is no need or desire for social interaction.

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One may feel lonely in a crowded space / Shibuya crossing Tokyo Japan > Wikipedia image en:user:Willswe

Loneliness tends to depress some but improves the cognition and improves capacity to concentration. Study rooms, prayer or meditation zones, contemplation areas, private consultation rooms, lovers’ corners in restaurants, back seats in assembly halls are designed to be less participatory. Such places of solitude or temporary loneliness lead to enhanced and creative expression. Solitude is also associated with spiritual and religious quests.

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Alone in rain Flickr image by Garry Knight

For solitude, other then isolation from the people, some control over cognition may be necessary. Complete absence of cognition or by totally filtering an aspect of it (such as sound, light, touch, smell, etc.) in a space may create an uncomfortable situation. In jails and study rooms some illumination, background noise, distant odours are desirable to maintain the mental health. Loneliness should be considered as an alert that it is time to seek social connections. Connections of this nature, may not occur with presence of people, but rather by necessary adaptation of the living space.

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Isolating self by cutting of perceptions > Flicker image > Oblivious to her observers > image by Andrew Stawarz

Single people keep themselves occupied through intensive work regimen, audio and video intervention, mobile or other means of communication, by seating near a street view window, keeping a pet as company, frequent relocation of amenities, irregular work cycles including physical workouts, dancing, and cooking.

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Astronauts and Cosmonauts are checked for their mutual compatibility for Long stay on International Space Station

Russian space psychologists analyze the body language and tone of voice to ensure compatibility of crew members. Members of a group must have a strategy of a good working relationship. One may not be very friendly with a companion, but a clear understanding as to how much you are ready to share and not share, creates a healthy relationship. The Shuttle-Mir missions of the 1990s Russian and American crew had problems of language and other communications, leading to isolation.

Loneliness is going to be a major issue for long duration space travel with few crew members. For some persons the problem will not be loneliness but too much of the same company. The privacy of space may not be feasible, but of few exclusive moments will be appreciated.

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Art by Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693) Wikipedia image

Loneliness is also an issue with elderly people, staying in Old-age homes, hospitals and alone. They need someone to talk and respond, visually see the company, and touch. A robot seal is designed to improve all such sensorial functions. Space travelers will perhaps have such robots..

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Strange Spaces / Infinity room of House on the rock Wisconsin USA > Wikipedia image by Richie Diesterheft Chicago IL USA

Alienation reflects the quality of association, one establishes with space and its occupants. It largely manifests from the expectations what a space should be. It includes spatial quality marks such as scale, size, shape, environment and control. One transcends from the familiar capacity to alter to the realization of inability to change a space.

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Inability to change the spatial character / Wadala slums Mumbai > Wikipedia image by Swaminathan Bangalore India

The space is expected to offer segments that support the intra-personal encounters, but may fail to provide the required environment, amenities and sequential opportunities. Alienation does not set in as one frame, event or happening, but builds up pace by pace. But it may disappear very fast as soon as one establishes a link to the familiar. A light or trace of fresh air in dark space, a familiar face, or few words of known language change the space perspective.

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Alienated Housing of Fredrick Douglass Project Detroit > Wikipedia image by Albert duce

Alienation vanishes with slight change in the spatial quality marks but may be prevented by inculcating the individual capacity to alter the space. A highly defined and over detailed space configuration may retard the alterations. Buildings that have high imprint of their creators, (monumental edifices) have such issues. Alienation also arises when space scales and sequential approach system to it are not sufficiently stretched in time and space. Interim spatial occupation can go a long way in reducing the alienation.

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This post forms 13 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.

SPATIAL DISTANCING and BEHAVIOUR

Post 590 by Gautam Shah (12 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Spatial Distance means:

1 Size of intervening space, (between people-people and people-objects),

2 Perceptive extent of space

3 Reach in space.

Distance is also formatted by environmental factors, social requirements, psychological make-up, nature of communication, expression, scale and use of spatial objects, and time duration of the affectation. Spatial distance affecting the behaviour is perceived to be in touching, threatening, disturbing or overwhelming. Such interpretations vary with culture.

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Spatial Distancing > Wikipedia image by Diliff

 Four distinct zones within which interpersonal transactions normally take place:

■ Intimate distance is used in intimate relationships such as for embracing, kissing, touching or whispering, and ranges from 0 to 450mm. This is an Intimate area close to the body, within which it is possible to have physical touch, non verbal communication and emotional interactions. To gain such an intimate position one needs to be familiar with the other person or coerce. One has to ensure that by being in this zone, no harm occurs to the other person. Even in the intimate space close to the body, the nature and level of intimacy is affected by the attitudes of the persons involved. Here due to the intimate closeness one senses the texture, temperature, moisture, vibrations, energy, etc.

A handshake or hug nominally has no sexual meaning in many cultures. In some cultures privacy achieved by a veil is considered retardant of intimacy. Intimacy could be a display or an expression with physical touch but with no apparent mental feelings.

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Falling in Love by Albert Schroder (1854-1939)

■ Personal distance is useful for interactions between good friends, and family members and ranges 450mm to 1200mm. The area immediate to the body marks the Personal Area. It is a zone of regulated and selective participation. Here one can reach out through projection (expression), channels of communication, physically (through body limbs) or stretch out with gadgets (walking stick, stethoscope, etc.). The intimacy is regulated, but not a private affair. One may create screens to achieve it. One can dwell in a culture or state formed of metaphysical elements (beliefs, customs, etc.), to achieve the same.

In case of relationship with objects, declaration of ownership creates such personal space. The strong association to a person is imprinted on the object’s form or position. Chief guests chair, head chair at the end of a dining table are such personal entities.

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Flight Delays > Flickr image by TheeErin

■ Social distance is for interactions between social acquaintances, and its range is from 1200mm to 3.5mt. This defines a zone of Nearness, where position and duration of the eye contact, sound pitch and olfactory sensation become important. This can be a non-committal area where personal involvement can be avoided.

As per the protocol, leaders of the two nations never share a seat, but rather occupy separate seats distanced with a small table or flower vase. Similarly deputies accompanying their leaders, are made to sit at some distance, from where they get a sense of participation but have no chance of intervention. On public platforms one intentionally uses lower sound pitch to draw attention. On very large dining table one can effectively hold conversation with members sitting on the two sides, but not across the table. In gatherings one uses differing sound pitch to reach desired distance.

■ Public distance is mainly for public spaces or non-personal interactions, and is above 3.5mt. These are Reach Zones beyond the anthropometric ambit. One may reach-out with additional reach tools, such as PA system, projection TV, surveillance camera, high pitch sound, extra ordinary (attention catching) movement, gaudy or unusual gesture, posture or dressing. Such zones constitute very specific spaces.

Temples have marked sanctimonious areas. Performance stages have podiums. In such zones intimacy or privacy of personal nature, are not available, yet one can announce it through metaphoric presentations.

Two persons or members of a group can talk in whispers and give out an impression of intimacy in spite of the apparent distance between them. Conversely talk-discussions in high pitch could be used to present bonhomie and thereby a close-knit entity. Politicians and celebrities talk in whispers to state things that need to be made public and talk loudly things that need not be public, both ways they draw the attention. A public orator changes the pitch from normal to very low or high to draw the attention of the audience and thereby register a point.

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A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884 by Georges Seurat

SPATIAL SEPARATION AND RELATIONS

Hall (1959) has stipulated that spatial separation also serves expansive function. He made a study of the spatial relations that seem appropriate to various kinds of interactions. They vary with intimacy, culture, and depend on the possibility of eye contact.

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Picnic Kaivopuisto Helsinki > Wikipedia image by JIP at en Wikipedia

‘One can easily distinguish strangers from friends in an airport lounge. Strangers will keep a distance, taking alternate seats wherever possible. Friends tend to form clots, and families even pile one on the top of another. Total strangers will comfortably seat themselves only inches apart if the seats are back to back, but friends and the members of the family never arrange themselves in this way. Eye contact invites interaction and so is sought to the degree that intimacy already exists.’ (Hall E. T. 1959 The silent language).

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Revelry at an Inn by Havicksz Steen 1674

There are spatial zones appropriate to various types of interactions. Distances in virtual communication technology mediated interactions are likely to be different. Hall has also shown the cultural variations that South American needs much closer distance for impersonal information than a North American desire or is accustomed to.

Very close (75 to 150mm) Soft whisper, top secret sharing (lovers, mother and infant).

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Very close – love – Pixabay image by Adina Voicu

● Close (200 to 300mm) Audible whispers, very confidential talk (related persons).

● Near (300 to 500mm) Soft voice, confidential interaction (public spaces like elevators, coffeehouse, confession).

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Sharing personal details with a Doctor > Wikipedia image by Rhoda Baer

● Neutral (500 to 900mm) Soft voice, low volume, personal subject matter (bars, small restaurants, home dining, breakfast table, fast food counters, consulting rooms, reception table).

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Luncheon of the Boating party Pierre by Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) Wikipedia image

● Normal (1300 to 1500mm) Full voice, impersonal information, interaction with known persons (Home drawing rooms, public dining table, Government officials, meetings of heads of states).

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Holyrood Palace Scotland Dining table with non-committal distance (Attr: W. Lloyd MacKenzie via Flickr @http://www.flickr.com/photos/saffron_blaze)

 ● Public (1700 to 2500mm) Slightly over-loud, information for others to hear, public address, seminars, teaching.

● Across room (2500 to 6000mm) Loud voice, talking to a group (Boisterous gatherings, public lounges).

● Hailing privately (6000 to 7500 mm) Indoors, Loud voice departures (neighbourhoods, across the road, noisy workplaces).

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Waving off > Wikipedia image

● Hailing public (30.00 mts) Outdoors, Declaratory, Loud voice shouting, departures and calls (Airports, Railway stations).

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The receding edge of the table allows Larry King – in Live show to adjust the distance > Wikipedia image by Billyshearso

Impersonal discussion, takes place at 1200 to 1500 mm, encroach the inner distance of this zone, and you or interlocutor will retreat. Move back from the outer distance and you can state what you wish to say by reducing the power of the interlocutor. One can move from impersonal discussion to a focussed or personal matter by reducing the distance. Alternatively change to a non committal mode by increasing the distance. TV anchors do these distance tricks on their show. For an intimate question the anchor pushes forward own body (Larry King of CNN ), but as soon as the question sinks in with the guest, the anchor withdraws not just to the nominal position, but little further backward. These distancing movements allow the guest to deliver the answer more objectively and the camera frames the guest alone for such a ‘heroic effort’. A host may intimidate the guest by doing exactly opposite of this. Smart elders and senior executives are (subconsciously) adapt to this.

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Tonight show with Jay Leno -varies the eye level contact  > Wikipedia image by Tina Hager (PD-LAYOUT; PD-USGOV-POTUS; PD-USGOV-WH.)

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This post forms 12 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.

PERSONAL SPACE for BEHAVIOUR

Post 589 by Gautam Shah (11 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Behaviour in space is conditioned by two personal notions: Privacy and Intimacy. Privacy is personal as well as group-based requirement, whereas Intimacy is mostly an intra-personal or object affair. Behaviour first develops from the primary concern for survival, a defensive action where one tries to create a personal protective layer. It is also an offensive activity where people form groups to create a common protective mechanism, and thereby be more accessible to others. Here the privacy and intimacy become expressions of intra-personal relationships.

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Crowded elevator Flickr image by BurnAway

In a space, primarily, one tries to acquire a spot where privacy and intimacy are controllable. People discern their relationship with others in terms of distances or spaces between them. A personal space allows privacy and intimacy by controlling the distance from objects and people. Distance in space is simply a notion, a negotiable reach, one creates and perceives from other beings and objects. A personal space is an assurance for conducting certain tasks and expositions. The reach in space is negotiated by suitable space planning, physical and metaphorical declarations of the territorial ownership, style of space occupation and managing the extent and duration of exposure.

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Perceived privacy in a public space > Wikipedia image

Privacy is a personal belief and is achieved by obscuring own self, or by isolating from people. One can obscure own self by merging with background or by becoming less perceptible. Isolation is achieved by barricading and distancing. A person or group achieves insulation through body posturing and adjust the exposure, control the communication, command the expression and re-calibrate the reach of the body and the sensorial perception. Privacy can help overcome many inhibitions through mental isolation. Psychological motivation helps one to ignore some of the side effects of lack of privacy.

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Spatial seclusion for privacy > Wikipedia image by Sulasulasula

Privacy provides the isolation whereas degree of interference by others determines the nature of intimacy. Both are important means for individualization or branding of unique personality. And whenever these are compromised one may try to adjust the posture, reorient the self and distance from others. In appropriate conditions it is easy to control ingress, distraction and unwanted participation by others.

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Flickr image by Paul Townsend

One requires many different types of privacy:

● Physical and Social privacy: Ii is a function of distance and shielding. It is required against someone making a close approach (touch or near approximations). Social privacy is often equated to physical ‘crowding’ in a space. It is reflected in degrees of accessibility a person or group offers to others. The perceived territorial space gets crowded due to excessive or undesired social contact. Crowding means heightened accessibility or reduced interaction depending on the need for expression, communication, physiological requirements. Crowding affects the sense of belonging for group behaviour mechanisms (common purposes, beliefs). In ‘neighbourhood spaces’ one wants to be away from the closed interior space and so here crowding of any type takes away the social privacy.

Crowding may be tolerated if it is temporary (elevators, stairs, public transport) and for a definite purpose like for fun. The scale of a room it’s size relative to the occupants also influences conversational distance. As room scale reduces, people tend to sit closer together. Likewise, increased noise levels and distractions drive people to sit closer together.

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Titian, Actaeon surprises Diana in her bath 1559 Wikipedia image

 ● Visual privacy: Inherent in human behaviour is a tendency to avoid situations in which one can be watched without being aware of who is watching. Visual privacy addresses the ability to limit view of oneself by others. It can be achieved through the use of furnishings, furniture, amenities, partitions or walls.

In a private space or an office, people will often orient their desk in order to visually control the doorway and achieve a visually private space on one side of the desk. Similarly, people prefer to sit with a protected back, controlling the area they cannot see directly. In restaurants, the first seats to be filled are usually those along the walls. In outdoor spaces, people tend to sit against or beside objects such as trees and bushes rather than in the open. In open office plans’ a person is made to sit facing a wall or partition for lesser distraction from the back side passage, however, it is the unseen and unpredictable traffic on the backside that challenges the privacy. Contrary to this in garment stitching room workers are one behind the others and passage is on the side.

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Mobile phones diversion from visual and social privacy issues > Flickr image by Marc Smith

● Audio privacy: It is an insulation against being overheard, interference from background noise, and lack audio of clarity of listened sounds. A high quality of audio privacy significantly defines the level of communication, social interaction, and productivity. An appropriate relationship between the background noise and one that is produced within the activity space is conducive to speech privacy.

Complete insulation of a space, such as a study room, cuts-off the background noise, leading to loneliness or alienation. Hospital wards are hard finished due to issues of bacterial infections. The wards during daytime have high presence background noise that subdues or balances the noise from within the space. However, past midnight, in absence of background noise, the noise from inside the room becomes unbearable.

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Barriers for Noise privacy Melbourne > Wikipedia image en wiki by Atlantica

● Olfactory privacy This limits to reveal own physiological state or experiencing someone else such a state through hormones-odours. Other privacy parameters include the body temperature, breathing rate, heart beats, pulse rate, vibrations of the body, sweating and perspiration.

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INTIMACY

Intimacy is a feeling of closeness or affinity between a person and another, or an object. Intimacy is also a biological need. Intimacy is considered a product of distance, and it relies on compatibility, sexual needs, glandular secretions, social acceptability, etc. It is an attitude, mental conditioning or mental posture. A person or group seeks privacy for security, to flourish in an environment. Intimacy could be one-way feeling that is without reciprocal feeling. One can be intimate with another person or group of persons without the apparent need for privacy. One can feel close to a person who is long dead –an illusory presence or through notional links (clothes, odours, recorded sounds, etc.). Distancing is also a matter of time, like remembrances. An intimate relationship is with a person, but an intimate space is one where an occupant and objects have intense relevance to each other.

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A date with view Flickr image by TheeErin

Intimacy can have two main forms: emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. There could be other forms of empathy like cultural, intellectual, spiritual, social that are akin to intimacy in some conditions. Strategic relationship developed to take advantage of anyone could be very close but it is a make-believe intimacy.

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Intimacy by known People and Space Pixabay image by Akshaypatra

A private abode is an own world. An intimate situation is safe, predictable and reassuring. Intimacy is like a domain where everything is under an exclusive command.

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This post forms 11 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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EXPRESSION and COMMUNICATION -as behaviour in space

Post 587 by Gautam Shah (10 of 16 Behaviour in Spaces)

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Behaviour is reflected through intentional and involuntary expressions. Intentional expressions are for informing, recording, recollecting, inciting, convincing, putting forth an argument, generating feedback, showing feelings, ideas, thoughts, opinions, re-experiencing, recollecting, abridgement, elaboration or re-enactment of a happening. Involuntary expressions reflect biological working of the body, deep-rooted prejudices, and learned behaviour. These reflections are often so subtle that neither the person expressing nor the party perceiving it are aware of it.

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Gestures and Postures for expression > Wikipedia image by Sumita Roy Dutta

Expressions occurring through the body’s gestures and postures, are perceived by others, however, one may conceal or suppress such a display. For expression through gestures and postures, main contextual conditions are spatial characteristics (form, shape, size, scale) and environmental effects (illumination, acoustics, climatic comfort and well-being). Other aids include referencing through position, orientation, background vs foreground, angle and nature of perceptibility, degree of sufficiency for various body functions (reach capacity, comfort, metabolisms, etc.). These are used to simplify, amplify, de-intensify, amalgamate, compact, quicken, retard, diffuse, or reschedule, the rate and contents of expression.

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Spatial expression Wikipedia image

One may make an intentional expression by using body gestures and postures but additionally support it by other sensorial means like vocal and touch. Non-personal or absentia expressions through remote means like telephone, broadcasting or publications use various means of emphasis (or even diffusion) (repeat, highlight, placement, emphasis) to support the expressions. Like for example, speaking face to face or frontal-way is a very direct but can be diffused by slightly off-centric or angular dealing. Similarly a superior delivery position, a static and clear background, appropriate lighting, clothes, etc. reinforce it.

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Expressions reflect behaviour. ‘Classical expressions’ occur within geographical, social, political or ethnic groups, due to the very intense, frequent and consistent usage (non varying). These expressions are brief, abstract or metaphoric. Behaviours of communicators are made up of factors like: media used, transactions to be one way or two-way, communication to be ‘one to one’ or ‘one to many’, use of feed-forward and feedback mechanisms, etc. Expression allows a person to organize and rationalize the thoughts. It allows one to emphasize and de-emphasize whole or parts of the content.

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Aesthetic satiation > Wikipedia image by Ducttapeavenger at En wikipedia

Behaviour reflected through intentional expressions becomes means of communication, meant for an audience or personal satisfaction. Expressions for aesthetic satiation are always intentional and occur through representative forms like singing, writing, art, craft, etc.

Expressions for communication must be efficiently conveyed and adequately registered. Intentional expressions get improvised the moment a perceiver shows reactions. The expression, communication and its perception may not happen in same time or space. Expressions for posterity are recorded as writing or image creation, broadcast through a device or recording on a media.

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Expression and communication both must occur under certain protocol and situational conditions. A space is confirmed (accepted) or designed for such purposes. One intuitively exploits the existing spatial assets and environmental provisions, and continuous to modify it. Both need Functional elements, such as: tools, amenities, facilities and structures. The style of architecture and interior configurations inspire many to express and communicate. The Environmental conditions like illumination, acoustics and comfort affect the nature of expression and thereby the communication.

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Christ and the adulteress (by Lucas Cranach the younger 1532) –Expression and communication – Wikipedia image

Expression and communication are personal processes, but occur in consideration of the physical characteristics of participants, such as age, sex, experience, body posture, mental adequacy and maturity, time and distance, nature of need, compulsions, disposition, etc. Process of expression is conditioned by the system of cognition. Visual perception is a key element of expression. The originator and the perceiver both remain open (public) or concealed (private), by exploiting means of visual perception such as illumination, brightness, contrast, clarity of colour (hue, tone, texture, etc.), the distance and position (angle) of the expression.

At night clubs and other social gathering places, personal privacy is provided by darkness and preference for black dress. It encourages free expression. Whereas ball room dances and parties are brightly illuminated, so that everyone is able to see others’ expressions. Indian classical music artists prefer audiences to be visible.

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Night Club > Wikipedia image by Dossier

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COMMUNICATION

One of the important purpose expression (intentional or involuntary) serve is of communication. Communication is conveyance -a two-way process between the sender and receiver. Both sides share a modality, and are interdependent. Communication occurs when both, the sender and the receiver are in the same or different time and space. Intra-personal communication, occurs in the same time and space, and allows both the parties to ‘read’ each other. Indirect or remote communication is where the time and location of the sender and receiver are different. The perceiver has no means to know how the expression was created, though the receiver is sometimes able to judge the state of the creator.

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Communication > Wikipedia image by David Shankbone

Communication occurs through direct and indirect channels. Direct channels use verbal, as well as non verbal means, but are under control of the sender and receiver. Indirect channels are not under the direct control of the sender, but are recognized subliminally or subconsciously by the receiver. This includes kinesics or body language that reflects inner emotions and feelings rather than the actual delivered message. The receiver may call it a gut feeling, hunch, intuition, or premonition.

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Non verbal communication include postural, gestural and other (endocrines) features: facial expressions, eye contact, controllable body movements, metaphoric associations, sounds, odours etc. Non verbal communication also occurs through objects and metaphors, like: clothes, hairdo, architecture, interior, furniture, furnishings, arts, crafts, colour combinations, lighting ambience, signs, symbols, graphics, typography, etc.

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Non verbal communication > Wikipedia image by S. Krupp, Germany

Non verbal communication during the interaction operates in the context of: 1- Environment includes elements like furniture, architectural styling, interior decoration, amenities, illumination, acoustics, and temperature; 2- Media and tools available consist of enlarging, focussing, recording, recapitulation manipulation tools. 3- Behaviour expressions of communicators due to their age and sex differences, experiences, physiological facilities, mental adequacy and maturity, time and distance, nature of need, inclinations, etc.

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Dance is a metaphoric form of nonverbal communication. It can be abstract form of self-expression, or a very formal vocabulary of movements, steps, postures, mudras, gestures additionally supported by musical rhythm or Tal-beats. Though, all these can become very abstract as there is lot ambiguity about personal meaning.

Verbal communications use the spoken words or language, and written and other textual forms of expressions. Verbal expression is substantially coloured by para-language and prosodic features, like the voice quality, rhythm, meter, intonation, stress, pause, emotion and speaking style. Textual expressions have elements such as presentation style of handwriting, graphics, typography or calligraphy.

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Talk Show Verbal and non-verbal communication > Wikipedia image

Use of expressions in one-way systems of communication is by the originator alone, whereas in two-way systems, both the originator and receiver are involved. In one-way system with a direct channel a lecturer improvises on perceiving the behaviour by the audience. In one-way system with an indirect channel like radio and TV talk shows, such feedback is generated by having a small set of audiences within recording or broadcasting area.

A person looking through a small opening can see the expression of the others but others cannot read the expression of the viewer. Opposite to this stage performers often use larger lip, eye and other facial gestures so that furthest members of the audience recognize the expression. Such expression may look ‘loud’ or abnormal at close distances.

For communication, two way systems with direct channels succeed when expressions of both parties are mutually recognized. But, for this, the communication should occur under certain protocol and situational conditions.

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Lecture Hall > Wikipedia image by Schtone

A lecturer or a performer, is perceived, when on a podium (well positioned), with frontal illumination (well lit), clean and contrasting backdrop (sharp silhouette form), availability amplification devices (sound enhancement by architecture design or electronics), good acoustics (reduction of background noises and reverberation reinforcements), use of gesture enhancing enrichments (robes, sticks, batons, cap, etc.). But for the reverse feedback from the audience following parameters need to be fulfilled. The audience should be at the same level, well lit but slightly from sides (rather then top down), complete absence of background noises on performing stage, minimized movement within the audience (seated rather then standing), non distracting colour of seats (for unoccupied ones).

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Putin and Rauhani > Wikipedia image by Attrb. > Kremlin.ru

In offices and conference rooms bosses want their assistants, secretaries and juniors to seat or stand on the right-side for a right-handed side, but never on front or back sides. For a one to one meeting between two equals separate seats placed an angle of 145º to 160º is considered correct protocol then seating on side by side and on the same seat. A physician wants the patient to sit on the side rather then front. Entry to an office cabin must be from the front corner. Similarly distance is important determinant for communication. In one to one meeting too close a distance leads to intimacy but loss of privacy and objectivity. Too much distance increases dilution of communication and also alienation. This happens over very large dining tables, where to avoid an unwanted neighbour one must talk to the person on the opposite side, but never with due intimacy and privacy.

A flat edge meeting table or dining table does not breed homogeneity as much as a slightly curved table can do it. A square table conference room divides the audience into artificial classes, a round or oblong but a closed-ended table creates an artificial classless unity. UN uses horse shoe (open ended) table for a security council. US president uses an oval shaped office occupying one centre of the eclipse leaving the other free (and so often challenged by the person who can dare to stand there and communicate from that much distance). Moreover the US president has an advantage of a secure back drop compared to the possible challenger, whose back is open and vulnerable.

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Wikipedia image Oval office

Two way systems with indirect channels are like telephones, where one may not be able to judge the behaviour of a person at the other end. Chat rooms of social media sites also function similarly. Interactive TV and radio programmes like breakfast shows have partial two way systems. Here the programme conductor controls the participants’ feed-in.

Behaviour is intentionally reinforced by using personal means like postures, gestures, voice modulation, dressing, make-up, and also by using architecture and spatial elements. During interactions when one may not immediately recollect or be aware of the correct words, one uses gestural and postural behaviour to reinforce the vocal message. Similar reinforcement is required for expression in a foreign language, or audiences of different localities. Such accented use of gestures and postures can be ‘loud or gaudy’ for certain social events, but can be subdued by extending the period of expression enactment. Architectural elements like a flat wall, a strong column, convergent space form or pattern help focus the expression, but articulated elements like stair, ramp, exterior view, or a complex pattern, as backdrop diffuse the impact.

A mobile in pocket is a great assurance. A TV or radio creating some background noise serves warmth of a family. A picture of a loved one or family portrait in a hotel room or space module replaces the loneliness. People keep memorabilia for a very long time. Life-place memorial evoke the same sentiments.

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This post forms 10 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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