Karla Caves

25 11 2009

We had actually planned for paragliding. We left for Kamshet at 11 am and we were supposed to reach there by 12. Now that was next to impossible. I was quiet apprehensive for this trip as i had some other domestic plans ready for the day. But Hubby listens to his instinct always so we left the house. As expected we reached there by 1.30pm. The pilot was not ready to give us tandem joy ride due to bad whether. So unwillingly we left the place though it was fun watching those parachutes coming our way!

We found Karla Caves on the way back and decided to take that route. The road itself was very adventurous. We parked the car somewhere in the middle of the mountain and there onwards we were supposed to climb up. And we started hiking. We also wanted to visit the temple and were accompanied by big crowd for that. As we reached there on the top, I was initially not happy but the moment i saw the caves i loved it.The very first glance was superb.

These caves represents golden period of Buddhism in India.he major attractions of the Karla Caves consist of the Chaitya Hall, beautifully chiseled sculptures and pillars adorned with incredible architecture. The magnificent structural design of the Chaitya Hall makes it a must see. Even the rooftop, made up of teak wood, has been exquisitely carved.

One of the pillars of the Karla caves has four lions at the top. This design has been adopted as the national emblem of India. There are a number of rock-cut sculptures inside the caves, displaying animals as well as various forms of human life. There is also a stone stupa, placed under an umbrella and carved with figures of men, women and elephants. The 37 pillars chiseled with the figures of prosperous men and women on elephants, bowing before Lord Buddha, add to the attraction of Karla caves.

I just loved the play of lighting in the Chaitya hall well suited for the photography. This post is all about those clicks i tried there.

Perspective correction is required a bit as i don’t use a professional camera.

The play of shadow was worth catching.

This staircase invaded the  elegant piece of architecture. Unaware of its existence its been just standing still.

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Bookshelves

27 10 2009

All those book lovers, here is a good news for you all. You no longer have to worry about stacking your reading stuff in a typical book rack.We will see numerous examples of  elegant bookshelves. I would like to state here that this furniture item definitely makes a fashion statement. Its no more just a piece of furniture lying in the corner.

Recently i have come across a very good website talking about design ideas.I just couldn’t resist myself by mentioning few of them.

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The “Shelves with a Bench” was designed by Stanislav Katz, a designer from Latvia.

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Its an Autumn shelve. An abstract form but doesn’t seem functional. I would personally say NO to it just to avoid cleaning pain.

a385_bookchairBook chair can be a space saving design. But the chair itself is not comfortable. We can add on some cushioning to it.

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Form follows function.Flexishelve, the size of the shelf  changes as per the book size. Something unusual though.Bookcase3_10

This one is nice piece of decoration rather than a efficient book shelve.

Bookcase3_11This  is a multi-functional bookshelves.

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Lovely Rita is an unusual bookshelf. At at a first glance just arranging books on this bookshelf could be a real adventure. Lovely Rita can live as a single shelf or be repeated endlessly by combining additional units, becoming a bookcase of the desired length

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Twisted and falling shelf.these are just for aesthetic purpose not so functional.

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This one is patriotic shelf, quiet similar to Autumn shelf. Only difference is form defined here.

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Concentric and Yin-yang shelf.

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Infinity book shelf. Capacity of storage is good.Best suited for libraries.

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This one an organic design. Multifunctional,  just a piece of art as well.

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The Folding Bookshelves is something really innovative in the bookshelves business. It’s very practical because you can arrange the books in an interesting way, as you can see from these pictures.

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The Brace Case is designed by Ward Huting, and is a shelving unit that uses taut cables to house books, magazines and other flat objects at various angles. The modular system enables the owner to decide how to install the cables. This might be an interesting approach to storing stuff, but it doesn’t looks to stable. The Brace Case is fully customizable according to individual room requirement and cable length. The Case is clamped between the floor and the ceiling, and can therefore be tailor-made to any room.

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Photo frame shelf.This one can either be a niche in the wall of projecting out as a box. Gives you the impression of photo frame

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The Cave is a shelving unit with integrated nook for reading, for those who want to grab a book and start reading right away. I can say that this idea is ideal for small places, because the nook for reading can save the space used by a chair. A bookcase CAVE provides a private reading space within its form. As a seat height is just above the floor, CAVE gives a feeling of hiding from others standing around it. Books can be stored on both sides. Therefore, CAVE can also functions as a partition of a room.

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Classic Car shelves

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Designed by Doris Kisskalt the FlexiTube is mobile and can be changed into a transparent room partitioner. This fantastic tub rolls and fits into any corner and changes into a sculpture of a shelf. The various elements get support through their velvety surface. Inside each tube is a shelf for storage which serves as a visual horizontal line. FlexiTube is available in two different sizes and can be combined in any number either lying side by side or on top of each other. Chocks will support your FlexiTube sculpture in case that you want to set it up without the support of a wall.

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The Ceiling Bookshelf is a great idea to store your books if your space is limited. As you can see a place that 99,9% of people don’t use can be used in a very practical way to store your books, and save a lot of space in any room. The ceiling bookshelf is an idea that can be applied quite easy. However, in order to get a book, you have to use a chair.

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Parenthetical Shelves Multiple Configurations and Uses

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Hanging Bookself is an innovative storage design for your books from unal & boler studio.

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Magnetique Shelf is designed by Nils Holger Moormann and is a shelf consisting of sheet steel and boxes made of FU(birch plywood). The sheet steel can be mounted onto the wall in a horizontal or vertical way. The backside of the boxes consists of a special, extra strong foil magnet which sticks to the wall attachment in any way you like.Depending on number, size and arrangement of the boxes, there is a new shelf everytime you change it. Magnetique is any cupboard you want it to be.

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An old-time Pendulum Clock that can be Used for Shelving

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Prove Shelves are designed by a german company named Creosa. The prove shelves can be used to display your books, cds, etc in a really interesting way. The storing space is limited but enough to store the most important things.

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Designer Da-Eun Song had an interesting idea when he designed this shelf that spells out shelf. This shelf has an very original and modern design. Can be transformed by using different word like your own name or signature.

Courtesy for some of the bookshelves

http://freshome.com/





Transition Spaces

14 10 2009

Transition – an in between state, in Architecture defined as the connecting space between two confined spaces. Architectural spaces are incomplete without transition spaces. Transition spaces have been always an interesting topic for me. My  friend Rupali and I actually had presented a seminar on Transition Spaces in Hindu Temple Complex. We concentrated more on the psycological and physicl transition of a person

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“Architectural spaces that envelop us like a physical presence, simple and dense, defying description imitation and photography. . . . universal, yet present. The exterior is simple leading to greater levels of mystery surprise and memory, creating poetic changes of light and shade . . . guiding us through its spaces . . . .”

Alvarso Siz on Mexican Architecture

The inclusion of transitional and circulation spaces, in the form of corridors, draught lobbies, atriums and stairwells, is unavoidable in the design of most non-domestic buildings. The percentages of such areas may vary between 10 to 40 percent of the total volume in different building types.

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Transitional spaces are defined as spaces located in-between outdoor and indoor environments acting as both buffer space and physical link. Other than being functional as circulatory routes for the building, the designs of these spaces is considered very important by building designers for reasons of aesthetics, health and comfort, and as emergency exit routes in the event of fire. The importance of optimum energy consumption in transitional spaces is also important in non-domestic buildings, as these spaces do not generate income, hence any wastage associated with higher energy cost is economically difficult to justify.

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We transit so frequently that we are not even aware of the presence of that space. It is very interesting to know about it. We experience them from macro to micro levels.

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Right from the  prehistoric architecture  there was an apparent evidence of the usage of transition spaces and transition elements as well.In Neolithic period, we can see the confined spaces for transition in the adjoining excavated dwelling at Skara Brae.

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In Egyptian, Pre Columbian and Persian period these spaces were enriched due to utilitarian aspect and got  a new dimension. Their functionality had increased due to timely requirements of the respective user.

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petra-pharaohs-treasure-1Petra pharaohs, courtesy National Geographic

Greek, Roman was the period when Architecture flourished at its best. It had contributed lots of inventions in terms of construction techniques, designing details. These spaces very used so intelligently that they acquired a new position in the design elements.

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In Indian architecture, the very ancient civilizations like Mohanjo daro and Harappa were expertly constructed as an advanced civilization comparable to ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. If we study the city planning here, you will find a well thought planned city with the interplay of transition spaces.

mohenjo-daro-5Courtesy photograph: National Geographic photograph

Indian temples are one of the best places to study transition spaces. If we read the temple plan we will arrive at the hierarchy of transition spaces. The very first transition happens when we enter in the temple through giant Gopuram. Then we come to Sabhamandapa that is connected to Mandapa through a colonnade acting as a transition space. Then the Antaralaya between the Mandapa and Garbhgriha stands as another transition space. Garbhgriha is again protected by Pradakshina path one more form of transition space. There is hierarchy of transition spaces here. This transition is not only a physical transition but also a psychological transition required to enter in a god’s abode. A person entering into a temple mentally gets prepared for his actual confrontation to almighty. He can’t directly enter to Garbhagriha as he cannot achieve that level of devotion required to enter in a shrine. He develops it slowly through transcendental travelleling of his own self.

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There is hierarchy of transition spaces in any urban planning like City level, Town level, District level, Local level. The entire road network is a transition mode. Then interaction spaces, gathering spaces, urban corridors, plazas standstill again as  transition spaces in their own way. Urban nodes can also be referred as transition space at macro level.

Transition spaces play a vital role in Environmental Behavior. It is the study that covers relationship between human behavior and properties of urban places, the study of the mutual interactions among people, social groups, culture and the physical environment at all scales from interior architecture to regional planning, with applications to improve the quality of life through improved environmental policy, planning and design.

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The one of the most important functions of transition spaces is sustainability in building design. The accurate use of these spaces in a builtform may increase its energy efficiency up to great extent. The design considerations should include this space as a constraint. When architects talk about orientation of the building, built form, site organization, topography, landscape then they should consider Transition Spaces as one of the aspects in building design.

Lets discuss few of them.

The peripheral corridors reduce the glare and solar radiation, resulting in cooling in the interior spaces.

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The connecting passage between two dwelling units creates a comfort level for the inhabitants. See the image below, it acts a pleasant sit out as well.

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The provision of water bodies in a transition space invokes cool breezes giving out the cooling effect to the interiors.

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Courtyards have been a hot favorite for vernacular style. Even today courtyard planning is used in India. Being a transition space courtyards also act as a very functional interaction space.

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If we compare building designs with wrapped around circulation space, with internal corridor, with courtyard, with wrapped around circulation space with courtyard, we would find that the last design with external circulation space and courtyard is the most efficient design in terms of energy saving and benefits the most from the change in temperature.Design guidelines for all types of climate suggest the importance of transition spaces. For example, in warm and humid climate the building spacing should be such that the air flow is promoted

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Design elements contribute a lot to transition spaces. There are colonnades, aisles, courtyards, water bodies, openings like doorways , pathways, grounds, patios, gardens, trellis, pergolas, foyers, lobbies etc. If there is no defined space then confinement by some of the above elements itself make the space functional and sensible.

Transition spaces in Indian context

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Sabhamandapa in an Indian Temple

arya_phalodi-courtyardArya Phalodi Courtyard

CY5Entrance, Rajasthani Architecture

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Anup Talao: A tank with a central platform and four bridges leading up to it.

This is the most elegant tranition space i have come across. It was built by Mughal King Akbar. Fatehpur Sikri is regarded as Emperor Akbar’s crowning architectural legacy. Indeed, its numerous palaces, halls, and masjids satisfy his creative and aesthetic impulses, typical of Mughals.

We will certainly talk about Fatehpur Sikri in detail in near future.Watch out….





Staircase

20 08 2009

Staircase is one of the strongest transition elements in architecture. It establishes the connection between two spaces, interior and exterior, two different levels. The position of this element in a building has  been always  irreplaceable.

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The stairs are one of the oldest buildings in architectural history, they have always played a central role in the history of humanity, although it is difficult to tell exactly in which year they were born, it is believed its appearance was by the year 6000 before Christ. The stairs seems to change shape with the change of architectural eras, reflecting the trends used in different ages and revealing the talent of those who designed them.

alternate stairsAn alternating tread stair climbing the steep slope of a pinnacle in Pinnacles National Monument, California, United States

The simplest form of staircase, down to Man o'War Cove, Dorset, EnglandThe simplest form of staircase, down to Man o’War Cove, Dorset, England

The first stairs in the history were wood trunks fitter together, these kind of stairs were used to acquire strategic positions for survival. In a basic sense, the first use which was given to the stairs was to overcome the difficulties presented by the terrain, such as valleys or mountains, the goal was to be able to pass these difficulties as soon as possible, move up often meant moving to a place of greater security, then this could have meant at that time the difference between life and death, it was very important to move quickly, hence the importance of the stairs.

history of stairsIn the history of the stairs they first emerged as a solution to a problem, although, years later it was found in China the first granite staircase leading to the sacred mountain in Tai Shan, this indicates that one of the utilities that was given to the stairs in his story was for religious purposes. Confucius in one of his stories said to have gone up this ladder to the top in the year 55 BC. The ladder was used in a metaphoric way reach the divine height and establish a connection between earth and sky. Other examples of stairs built for religious purposes are: the biblical Jacob’s ladder, the tower of Babel, which was a helical tower, the pyramids of Egypt that had stairs, the celestial ladder of Shantung in China, the stairs in India, a peculiarity of the stairs in India is that they had also scientific utility. All these stairs have something in common, they symbolize the rise of the light, the sun, and a way in to the gods path.

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Ergonomically and for safety reasons, stairs have to have certain measurements in order for people to comfortably use them. Building codes will typically specify certain measurements so that the stairs are not too steep or narrow.

There are different types of  staircases

  • Straight
  • Alternating tread
  • Spiral/ Helical/Elliptical
  • Freestanding

Straight staircases usually required more length of space to fit the flight. Also we need to break it in two flights as per the bylaws, if vertical distance to be traveled is more.So nowadays this staircase is extensively used as a decorative feature.There are lots of modifications done to accommodate more height with less flight length. Also flexible ladders is the one to mention in the same category.

Angkor Wat in CambodiaAngkor Wat in Cambodia

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Alternate tread staircase may be used where there is insufficient space for the full run length of normal stairs. Alternating tread stairs allow for safe forward-facing descent of very steep stairs. The treads are designed such that they alternate between treads for each foot: one step is wide on the left side; the next step is wide on the right side.This staircase is called as Samba staircase as well.

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Although these samba staircases are not comfortable to use and dangerous as they rules out all ergonomic standards.But still  its minimal space requirement has carved out niche for itself.

Spiral or Helical staircases are considered to be the most elegant among all. A spiral staircase by the mathematical definition therefore would be of little use as it would afford no change in elevation. The correct mathematical term for motion where the locus remains at a fixed distance from a fixed line whilst moving in a circular motion about it is “helix”.

You can rad more about history of spiral staircases here,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stairway#Spiral_and_helical_stairs

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Classic spiral design

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External spiral in the Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo in Venice, Italy.External-spiral-in-the-palazzo-contarini-del-bovolo-in-venice-italy

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metal-castle-spiral-staircaseMetal Castle Spiral Staricase

spiral-postmodern-staircase-designPostmodern Spiral Staircase

ellipticalElliptical Staircase

Freestanding staircases are not confined by walls or any other building part alike. It leads to the next level without any support.All types of spiral staircases can be freestanding as it can be erected on a single column as a support.

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spiral-staircaseThere are still more to talk about guys….people are inventing innovative designs of staircases and you might have come across it already under “Amazing Staircases Section” on web. Few of them are really very functional whereas few are just for the sake of creating something unusual loosing the functionality.Still they get their positions 🙂

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This modern staircase with combination of glass and steel is eye catching though its not safe for kids

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The railing of staircase can be used as an extension for furniture piece.

Clipboard07The whole staircase can be a furniture…

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This is an awful staircase, yeah its some porn staircase i guess correct me if i am wrong.Its a lello bookshop staircase in Portugal

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Have you heard about Infinity Staircase.Hey that sounds so touchy as its my blog’s name. Jokes apart nice concept to think about as a monument or piece of art.

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I would rather say this staircase below would be a appropriate example of Infinity Staircase as it actually endless.Its looks like mobius strip

infinity staircaseby Michel de Broin, Montréal, 2003

What about the amalgamation of above all types of staircases? Sounds freaky yeah?..i know..but it does exits trust me…yes its a combination of spiral, helical and straight.

Clipboard16Few more to mention,

glass staircaseApple Store at San Fransisco

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Not sure about its existence

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Hotel Stairway

Serpentine stair

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The “Survival Staircase” is the last remaining above ground remnant of the World Trade centre. The Vesey Street starway was used by hundreds of people to evacuate the towers on September 11th, 2001. For many, it was the only route of escape and is thus now termed the “Survivor’s stiarway”

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survival stariwaySurvival Staircase at WTC





Abstract & Emperical Thinking

12 08 2009

There have been always two main school of thoughts for architects. Abstract and Empirical.

Abstract is the form of thinking that is based on the cognitive process of abstraction, which is defined as:

Process by which allegedly we form concepts on the basis of experience or of other concepts. On being confronted with red things, each of which has many other properties, we abstract the redness and so form a concept of red. Empiricists like Lock use abstraction to help specify how we build up our concepts on the basis of experience.
(A.R. Lacey: A Dictionary of Philosophy, Routledge, 1986)

abstract buildingThe concert hall of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava

In archietcture, we can always refer to Frank Gehery as a abstract thinker. His buldings are in actual abstraction.

Whereas Emperical thinking is the thinking based on experience and empiric data acquired through our bodily senses. As contrasted to Absolute or Apriori Thinking, empirical thought draws heavily on the material provided by the body and therefore is liable to errors, illusions, prejudice, misconceptions, etc. More generally, it is the thinking implicit in the philosophy of empiricism, positivism, scientificism, physicalism or other similar views that emphasize the primacy of matter over mind.

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This violin piano house was built recently in An Hui Province, China

When students step into architecture they tend to design what they actually see in life.For example if they have to design a musician’s house they would make it in guitar. Whereas the musical building perceived in abstraction would come up like Frank Gehry’s Experince Music Project building, Seattle Center, WA.

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Expereince Music

I would like to refer to a letter written to architecture students by Harley Hahn about abstraction and architecture:

“Your teacher asked me if I had a few words relating to abstraction and architecture, and why it is so difficult for students to bridge the apparent gap between the two.

I do have some words for you, and here they are—

Young architecture students struggle to deal with the inherent contradictions between what they do and how they think. On the one hand, it is easy to see that thoughts about ideas are abstract; they exist only in the mind of the thinker. Architecture, however, is firmly grounded in three-dimensional reality. How then, can abstract thinking be so important to someone who works in the physical reality of three dimensions?

To answer this, let me start with a basic question: What is architecture? The short answer is that architecture is the art of designing structures. But let’s take a moment to dig a bit deeper.

An architect designs the visual appearance of structures: how they are arranged in space. He selects building materials, for both external and internal needs. He designs lighting systems, mechanical systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, furnishings, and decorations.

What do all these things have in common? They involve concrete objects: things you can touch — materials that have mass, take up space, have specific physical characteristics, and (not least) cost money.

The mere act of even thinking about these things requires what is called structural visualization: the ability to “see” ideas and patterns in three-dimensions.

To be an architect, you need the have this trait in abundance. We can assume that, simply because you are sitting here in a classroom in an architecture school, you have all been blessed with a higher than average amount of structural visualization.

You should know that structural visualization is an in-born aptitude. In fact, it is the very same aptitude that is necessary to be an engineer (except, of course, that engineers aren’t as smart or as good-looking as architects).

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The Groninger Museum designed by Italain architect Alessandro Mendini

Studies show that, if you have this aptitude, you were born with it and, in most cases, you inherited it from your mother (which explains why so many men who like to fix and build things, don’t understand when their sons don’t like to fix and build things).

However, thinking about ideas and patterns in a spatial manner is only one way to see the world. The best architects are also able to see the world in a totally different way: as a collection of abstractions that fit together in non-physical patterns. In other words, the best architects are able to think both structurally and abstractly, often at the same time.

At first glance, abstract visualization does not seem to be the province of architects. It is used more by philosophers, creative writers, historians, lawyers, actors, and so on. Such people earn their keep by seeing the world in terms of intangible ideas.

However, let me explain why it is useful for an architect — who naturally sees the world in structural terms — to also be able to think about things that cannot be visualized (which is the definition of abstraction).

To be sure, your end product — the structures you design and build — must be visualized. You can’t live or work in a building that doesn’t exist in physical space. However, just think for a moment about the process of getting ideas; the act of thinking about them; and the judgment it takes to decide which ideas you want to use as the basis for a particular piece of work.

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libraryAgain examples of an Empirical thought

There are many ways to get from here to there, but the architect who can think only in three-dimensions has limited choices. This is far more important than you might think. If you neglect to think abstractly at the beginning of a project, you will limit yourself enormously.

For example, suppose you want to design a building to be used as a music museum. Which will work better: a design based on the idea of music (an abstraction), or a design based on the physical image of a guitar?

You might think the answer is obvious, and that I am exaggerating to make my point. After all, no one would actually design a structure based on “guitar-ness”. Well, someone did design such a structure. It is in Seattle, and it is horrible.

Let’s take another example: the new Getty Museum in Los Angeles. When you are inside the buildings, visiting the display areas, you will have a warm, comfortable, inspiring feeling, just the sort of feeling you want when you look at works of art.

However, when you are outside the buildings, walking around the museum’s vast patio area, you will feel out of place. As an architecture student, you will have no trouble seeing that, whatever merits the overall design of the Getty Museum might have, making human beings feel comfortable is not one of them. The arrangement is totally out of proportion to human scale, almost as if it was designed on purpose to intimidate visitors.

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Getty Museum, Los Angeles

Of course, this was not the case. The architect did not set out to design something to make you feel uncomfortable. What is the case is that the architect did not start with enough abstract thinking — which meant that, ultimately, in his attempt to break new ground (if you can forgive yet another pun), he relied too much on the physical, and not enough on the emotional. The result is discomfort.

When you design, please remember that, although most people can think structurally, everyone feels abstractly. If you aren’t able to think about abstractions when you begin a design, you will never be able to control the way people feel when they visit your buildings.

All of this raises the question: Can people who are high in structural visualization learn how to think abstractly? And if so, how?

Well, I am a person who is high in structural visualization. I went to graduate school in computer science. I can think three-dimensionally, both in my head and with things I can hold in my hand, but I have also learned to think abstractly. I can write philosophically (as you can see), and I can paint abstractly (as you will see if you visit my Web site).

Like you, I have a bent towards the physical world. Like you, I also find that structural thinking comes easy to me. This doesn’t mean, however, that I can’t think of abstractions. It just means that it is not easy or natural, and that I had to teach myself how do to so. And if I can do it, you can do it.

So what is my advice? Do what you need to do to open that other side of your thinking. Believe me, it is there: you only have to put in the effort to think in a different way from what you are used to, and then you have to practice.

Please don’t worry about losing what you have. Just because you learn to think in a new way doesn’t mean you forget how to think in the old way. Instead, you will be the best of all possible architects, one who can think in two opposite ways at the same time.

My guess is that your teacher has some ideas on how you might start to learn new thinking skills. Don’t let it bother you if doing so seems slow. And don’t get discouraged if, at first, you can’t understand what you are hearing, reading, or seeing.

After all, to a philosopher, abstraction is easy, but he would have a lot of trouble thinking the way you do. That doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t learn how to do so, at least a little bit. If he does, he’ll be a better philosopher.

Realize that being naturally structural or naturally abstract are opposite sides of the same coin. Both are worthwhile, but to the extent that one is easy for you, the other will be difficult.

The ability to use your structural visualization talent matures in your late teens and declines after the age of 30. This means that the older people in your field will naturally find abstraction somewhat easier than do you, and will be drawn to it more readily. Perhaps this is why you can’t understand why your teachers want you to learn how to think “outside the box”. Perhaps this is why they can’t understand why doing so is such a challenge for you.

When you are a structural person, dealing with abstraction can be difficult, at least at first. After all, so much of our world is physical, that it even creeps into the way we think and talk. For example, consider some of the expressions I used in this short essay: being firmly grounded, digging a bit deeper, breaking new ground, thinking outside the box, and so on. All of these are physical metaphors that express ideas that are completely abstract.

Old habits are strong, but we need to break them if we are to be all that we can be. So the next time you see someone enjoying something abstract, something that makes no sense to you, tell yourself that there must be value in what he or she is doing. Then tell yourself that you will not be satisfied until you are able to do the same, at least a little bit.”





Mahadev Temple,Tambdi Surla

6 07 2009

There is complete tranquility. Its so serene that we didn’t even feel like coming back. Its an architectural heritage structure. The surroundings are untouched with no traces of human existence.But be careful….its a complete jungle and the thought of even darkness can be killing. Its a Mahadev Temple at Tambdi Surla, Goa. Its near a small village called Tambi Surla located 13 km. east of Bolcornem village.

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The temple was likely built c.1271 by Hemadri, the minister of the Yadava king Ramachandra. There are some interesting details about the Jain style construction which has led to debates about the actual origins of the temple, since the Kadamba Dynasty ruled Goa between the tenth and fourteenth centuries. The temple is built in the Hemadpanthi style from the finest weather-resistant grey-soapstone, carried across the mountains from the Deccan plateau and lavishly carved in situ by accomplished craftsmen.

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It is considered to be the only specimen of Kadamba-Yadava architecture in soapstone preserved and available in Goa. The temple has survived Muslim invasions and Portuguese persecution, in its almost perfect condition mainly due to its remote location in a clearing deep in the forest at the foot of the Western Ghats which surround the site in a sheer wall of impenetrable vegetation.

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The small, beautifully carved and perfectly proportioned black basalt temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is reminiscent of the temples at Aihole in neighbouring Karnataka. There is a linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) mounted on a pedestal inside the inner sanctum and local legend has it that a huge King Cobra is in permanent residence in the dimly lit interior

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The temple consists of garbhagriha, antarala and a pillared Nandi mandapa built of basalt. The four pillars, embellished with intricate carvings of elephants and chains support a stone ceiling decorated with finely carved lotus flowers of the Ashtoken variety.

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The intricate carvings created by skilled craftsmen adorn the interior and the sides of the building. Bas-relief figures of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma, with their respective consorts appear on panels at the sides of the temple. Surprisingly the mandap (pillared hall) is covered with a roof of plain grey sloping slabs.There is a slab roof design over the main hall and behind this rises typical Dravidian-style Shikara in a pyramid over the sanctuary. The central ceiling is beautifully carved in an eight-petalled lotus pattern with rosettes.

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There is a headless Nandi (bull, Shiva’s vehicle) in the centre of the mandap, surrounded by four matching columns. The symbol of the Kadamba kingdom, an elephant trampling a horse is carved on the base of one of the columns. The river Surla flows nearby and can be reached for ritual bathing by a flight of stone steps.

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The festival of Mahashivratri is celebrated with pomp and gaiety at the temple by local people residing in surrounding villages. The temple is built in a place which is quite inaccessible and away from the main settlements of the time. The size of the temple is quite small as compared to the size of the average Goan temple.

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The temple faces east so that the first rays of the rising sun shine on the deity. There is a small mandap and the inner sanctum is surmounted by a three-tired tower whose top is incomplete or has been dismantled sometime in the distant past.

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This was a lost temple, rediscovered sometime around 1935. Its remote location, deep inside forest even some distance from any village had made it in accessible for centuries and its survival is largely due to its location. Even until recently, the temple was still relatively in accessible.

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The temple that survived the ravages, is situated about 12 kms from Molem in the Anmod Ghats (the Western Ghats), almost on Goa’s border with Karnataka amidst thick forests where a beautiful stream flows with lush greenery all around.

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The adjoining river has  good rapids.The sound of flowing water makes this place more mystic.Though river is not apparent, you can feel its presence.

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Calligraphy

26 06 2009

I always used to experiment with my handwriting in school. In architecture, i was really inspired by some of my seniors for their unique way of writing alphabets for presentation drawings. Afterward i realized that its Calligraphy :-). Then i really started experimenting with my own handwriting. There were 100 types of “A”s i had tried. Anyways, that mania was only till i completed my architecture and later on  computers had taken over.

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But calligraphy indeed play an important role in architecture.Its a great inspiration as an abstract concept. But if we go into empirical process of thinking then oops….we would end up making buildings full of inscriptions on walls…ended up in Graffiti or Asemic writing. Unlike Graffiti calligraphic practice is “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner”.Whereas Graffiti is considered as vandalism most of the times.

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Inspirational calligraphy simply means execution of the ideas in abstract form.To be very precise, structures designed with free flowing forms. liu01

liu02there are numerous example of actual implementation of calligraphy in history especially in Islamic architecture. TajCalligraphy

Light Calligraphy is another very interesting form. Julien Breton’s work is just incredible. I never expected this type of application of calligraphy.

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Architecture provides a vast platform to display Calligraphy as an art.

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Lets see few beautiful master peices of Indian Calligraphy.

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8Japanese Calligraphy

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Vertical Calligraphy

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Few more interesting Indian forms

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Islamic Calligraphy

allah-49haqq-36Few more….

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16Special thanks to  world renowned Calligrapher  Achyut Palav for his amazing work included here.

Some temple inscriptions, Another%20Inscription Hindu wheel of life and rebirth

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