ARCHITECTURAL vs COMPUTER WINDOWS

Post 668 by Gautam Shah

.

The first independent version of Microsoft Windows, version 1.0, was released on 20 November 1985. It was originally going to be called Interface Manager, but Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the company that the name, Windows was more appropriate.

C

3452566586_095a6dac6c_z.jpg

And this was the beginning of unlimited harassment to all architects (and even lay persons), first from the Encyclopaedias and later by search engines. This happened when a nominal word of day to day use, became almost an exclusive intellectual property. Many of the Microsoft ‘windows’ features were already tried out by Apple computers.

d192364604fe1f915f30f46ec9ae2d77

The ‘Windows’ was (or ‘were’, no grammar Nazis have raised the issue) was an opening to look into data. There was earlier a nearly invisible dot as the command ‘prompt’ to interact in dBase and other programme, and it never prompted anything except that the entered command is not right.

Microsoft_Windows_1.0

Windows_2.0

Windows31-56aa11d33df78cf772ac3ef1

Windows 3

But here the ‘computer industry’ (Microsoft, Macintosh or some less known entity) was offering an Icon like a door within a door. The icons or windows were displayed as tiled on the screen, that is, they could not overlap or overlie another, but icons interacted with others in time and space. There were active and latent icons in terms of time reference. ‘Spatially the icons on a screen were more relevant then others that were not seen’. The icons were perceived to be windows or peep holes that allowed one to see through it.

BackSlash-Linux-Anna

For many, the icons are still like the 36th Chamber of Shaolin. One is aware that there is something of higher order inside, but too scared to cross over. The unceasing efforts are to form 36th chamber where ordinary people can enter and learn the “art of self-defense.

160514-F-UT482-083C

In the movie 36th Chamber of Shaolin, “San Te wants to create a new chamber where he can train ordinary people in the basics of Kung fu so they can defend themselves against their oppressors, the temple officially banishes him in a surreptitious way to allow him to carry out his mission. He returns to the outside world, namely to his hometown, and assists the people.”

640px-HK_TST_K11_mall_112_shop_Barbara_Milano_clothing

This was a view in a window (like a shop front display), but, it was destined to become (with internet) an architectural entity for viewing out, whatever is happening in the world. The earlier version of Windows was little better than dBase like programmes where the software creator and user both were instilled with unspecified fear ‘do not push a wrong key’. The user was perceived to be an alien, and better remain outside.

geograph-5382763-by-Stephen-Craven

The computers gradually became Janus’s gateway (Janus -a dual headed God of antiquity) with an interior world and an exterior cosmos. This was a virtual window or rather an entire building of its own, which could be shifted around, pushed away to obscurity, shrunk or enlarged.

Statue_of_Janus_傑纳士像_-_panoramio

Some of the basic functions of a computer system have been storage, processing power and programmes. Now one more is added, the communication or linkage. With live linkage one can source storage (cloud), computing power (parallel server processing) and dynamic programmes (in place of static loads). These make for a ‘home’ out of an architectural ‘house’, where the opening systems (‘windows’ or any other) make connections. So Microsoft windows may need to be renamed “Doors”, as doors are more functional (for passage, delivery and dispatch) than any other openings’ systems.

19808541258_afc42e6100_z

The smart ‘Home’ (computer or such devices) will need lot more individualization not through configuration efforts but through commonly shared (floating around) intelligence. These include the languages, intonation, choices, history of preferences, behavioural characteristics, biological patterns and capacities.

Multi-level ghorfas, as seen at Ksar Ouled Soltane in southern Tunisia..

Advertisements

ARCHITECTURAL WINDOWS and VISION IN – OUT

 

Post 247 – by Gautam Shah

.

For ages, seeing is implied in the word window,  such as in auga = eye ( ‘vindauga’ mean a ‘wind eye’). It was replaced in old English eagþyrl, (eye-hole), and eagduru (eye-door).

7895484754_ed6d9096a2_h

Walls of a building demarcate two distinctive worlds of inside and outside, but walls being opaque only, one is experienced at a time, and the other is unseen, so ignored. Openings like doors and windows allow the connection between the two realms to be simultaneously live. The see-through unglazed or glazed opening allows a chance for deliberation, which in case of a window is less causative then a door. The door threshold, real or imaginary can be transgressed either way at will, but a window sill is not always trespass-able from outside. Few windows have known or hospitable terrain outside. Only thing that could come through a middle age backyard window was the stench of the garbage or the night-soil thrown out every day. The backyard window, facing mass of buildings had little to offer as a view, but replacing the louvres with a pane of glass did stop the stench.

stewart-air-national-guard-base-81170_640

The gaze in or out of a window, for many years, was not considered a great problem, as the casting-forming defects in the glass (and earlier mica or alabaster), made it fuzzy. The glass panes for the windows, even though muddled, were rare, costly and fragile. The cost and bother of their replacement was a major matter. The glass size was small, so needed framing by several muntins and mullions, making the entire glazed opening prone to sagging. Glazed openings were mainly used in public buildings or for rich mansions. These were the people who could afford frequent glass replacement, and when technology offered, replace it with clearer quality of glass.

 

cambodia-1786043_640

15th C architect, sculptor, painter, and theorist Leon Battista Alberti, considered a painting to resemble a view out of a window. ‘First of all, on the surface on which I am going to paint, I draw a rectangle of whatever size I want, which I regard as an open window through which the subject to be painted is seen;…’ . Alberti formulated the method of one-point linear perspective for scene painting. The window frame defined the canvas to scale, form the depth as a meta screen.

Dürer’s woodcut shows metaphoric use of window as a glass screen for forming one point perspective.

This intimate connection of seeing, outside, airiness, of windows transforms into metaphoric perception, realization and ultimately to the soul. The tunnel end is an opening of relief, so is a window that manifests where none was expected. It is like a dream that is remembered on sudden opening of the eye. An opaque window is called a blind opening, and set of louvered slats are window blinds. All early versions of the Televisions and Computers had a very strong window frame and were called windows to the world. Radio remained without a frame, just a listening device. These similes somehow show a window to be switch-able, open and shut case (a simple and straightforward situation without complications). The curtain masking, film layering and metallizing of the glass are concealing what is on the inside.

Framed TV screen like window

Frame-less Screen

In early Gothic buildings the day and night visions of the buildings were completely different. During daytime the interiors were brilliantly filled with colour, but the exterior face presented dull, almost flat, grey face of the glass, with very little perception of the colours of the stained glass. During night time, in the beginning phase, the building was even duller. But soon it began to be lit on inside by oil lamps and candles. Now the building on the outside had a colourful glow against the dark -street-lights less city scape. The glass became lighter coloured (Grisaille) and staining only selective, The oil lamps and candles, in large numbers, a created maintenance problem of soot removal. Private mansions began to have towers topped with a glass cage lit at night.

geograph-2629111-by-hayley-green(1)

Stained Glass during daytime from outside

In the post Industrial revolution period the window became free of the wall as curtain wall, providing uninterrupted view in commercial buildings. Mies van der Rohe did the same thing for a dwelling in Farnsworth House. Le Corbusier in earlier phase used the glass as a grey surface, but in a later phase the glass becomes an unimportant feature, on the outside masked by architectonic elements like brise de soleil.

eating_alone

Fransworth House

Windows for transactions in Banks, Post offices and Government departments were once pigeon holes in opaque walls, not allowing much visual exchange. This became glass fronts with pigeons’ holes, encouraging a visual exchange, later became across the table relationship, and now remote and internet connection. The window form has also turned from a little hole to a large glass pane wall, and behind a screen or communication window.

Fixing Metallic Transparency Glass Front Metal

.