Post 679 –by Gautam Shah
Openings often transgress the nominal edge of the architectural entity. Such outward, and occasionally the inward push occurs on the wall faces, roofs, corners and floors. Outward pushes mainly add to the floor spread. But it also facilitates the side view and breeze from the street. It also offers greater opening size. Outward push of a building element is used to architecturally undulate the surface by projection and its deep shadows. Outward push from the roof has formed interesting silhouettes by varying the skyline. Outward transgressions have occurred in occupy-able buildings like homes, palaces and also in other structures such as fort-walls, gates, estate walls, barricades etc. Inward pushes like chowks or cutouts are basically climatic relievers. But these also serve as space dividers, isolators and privacy-security elements.
OUTWARD TRANSGRESSIONS: Examples of wall face transgressions are: Oriel, Bay-window, Bow-window, Zarokha and Mashrabiya.
ORIEL WINDOWS are polygonal bay windows, but with a larger perimeter and so allow wider view of the outside. Oriel windows are usually placed on the upper floors of the building, but siting on ground floors is common. The windows as a projected bay is supported off the base-wall by column, piers, corbels or brackets.
The word oriel is derived from Anglo-Norman oriell and post-classical Latin oriolum, both meaning gallery or porch, perhaps from classical Latin aulaeum =curtain. Oriels developed in the 15th C, when under the Tudor kings. Merchants and artisans, generally living over the shop in a narrow and tightly-packed town houses, added space by building oriel encroachments. This often resulted in extremely dark streets. Oriel windows were also placed over gateways or entrances to manor houses and public buildings. Oriel windows once again became popular during the revival of Tudor style in the 19th and early 20th C.
BAY WINDOW forms a projected bay or bow like polygonal shape. Bay windows became popular with Victorian architecture (1870’s). A typical bay window consists of three windows, the middle unit is parallel to the house, and adjoining two units are set at 30 to 45 degree angles. There are three basic types of bay windows. In full bay windows the opening stretches from floor to ceiling level to create a nook in a room. In half or part bay window, the window starts at seat or nominal sill level and reaches head height level or full ceiling level. In the third version the bay is more of a flower box projecting out.
BOW WINDOWS are curved or polygonal bay windows. Unlike the bay windows, there is no middle window unit, parallel to the room. Instead several small width window units (fixed and shuttered) are joined to form a bow shape. Bow windows first appeared in the 18th C in England, and in the Federal period in the USA. Bow windows are also called compass window and radial bay windows.
ZAROKHA originated from the Gokh or Gavaksh (Sanskrit), a form of articulated wall niche for storage. It became more of a projection with a seat or a window form. A Zarokha or Baithak (seat) is a raised platform from the room floor. Zarokha is often partly ow wholly latticed. The Zarokha as an ornamental element was part of the architectural composition. In tropical architecture Zarokha compensated the need for an intermediate element like a verandah. The Zarokha and the derivative window forms, as Chhatri (belfry or umbrella), were further refined as pavilions and other roof level facilities.
MASHRABIYA is a projected window on upper floors, in buildings mainly in the urban setting. Mashrabiya is used in houses and palaces although sometimes in public buildings such as hospitals, inns, schools and government buildings. It is commonly placed on the street side, but occasionally on the internal courtyard ‘sahn’ side. Mashrabiya windows are presumed to have evolved during 12th C in Baghdad. Iraq and Egypt are two countries where many examples survive. Mashrabiyas are enclosed with carved wood latticework. Mashrabiya has been used for correcting the shape of upper floor front rooms. The word Mashrabiya has varied origins. It denotes drinking or absorbing. The name perhaps has derived from a wood lattice enclosed shelf located near a window to cool the pots of drinking water. Mashrabiya also has originated from verb Ashrafa =to overlook, ignore or to observe.
Projecting an opening has taken many different forms where glass is used as a supporting or structural entity. It counters the perception that structural entities are nominally opaque. Projected openings have had opaque floors and now replaced with glass. Original intention of projected openings system for stretched or unlimited view is now being re-purposed.