Structures

Staircase

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

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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.

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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

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Philosophy

Abstract & Emperical Thinking

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.”

Structures

Mahadev Temple,Tambdi Surla

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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Art

Calligraphy

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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Structures

Matrimandir,Pondichery

I had been to this place as a student on a study(?) tour ;-). It amazed me just because i had never been to a place like that before. I couldn’t understand the concept of Matrimandir then. It totally surprised me…shocked me. When we passed the chamber (that time we were not allowed to enter in) that ambiance was astonishing. I couldn’t make out what was happening? Where the light is coming from? Why it is reflected so much? and most of all why this place has been made? I even tried to grasp through some books but no use.

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Last month i happened to visit the Matrimandir again along with my husband. And we actually meditated in the chamber. The experience was incredible. This time i understood the reason for its existence.Its a place for trying to find ones consciousness. I will not explain about my own spiritual experience.You have to feel it yourself. But yes definitely i wish to share the architectural part of it.plan

Matrimandir’s inner chamber is the conceptualization of  Mother’s vision. She actually visualized each and every dimension of this structure .The globe structure as a whole was designed by Architect Roger Anger.

banyan tree siteThis was the site chosen for the structure. One thing to mention here that this was the only green creature on that land that time.Today you can witness a dense vegetation as a result of the conscious efforts of Aurovilians.

foundation stageThere was no contractor appointed to construct this gigantic structure. People from all over the world united there, were working themselves in consortium.

Plinth level T.K.Santhanam, scientist at Structural Engineering Research Center, Madras calculated its structure.

structure The Aurovilian architect Piero Cicionesi prepared all working drawings and supervised the project

columnsThe principal load carrying members of superstructure are the four pairs of sickle shaped, 38m high reinforced concrete piers. Every other component is supported by these piers.Each pair of pier is 2.1m.The thickness is 40cm. above ground level and varies from 40cm. to 70 cm. below.

structureThe four pairs of ribs as an extension of four pillars, are joined by ring beams at 1st and 2nd levels, chamber floor level and at very top.

vertical sectionThis section explains the structural ambiguity.

space framePrefabricated beams each weighing half a ton, altogether formed the space frame which gave the structure that spherical look.outer shell

The outer shell consists of ferrocement triangles (with a hole at heir center to install a porthole) which were prefabricated in the workshop, lifted in place and then grouted.A membrane then applied to the whole surface to waterproof it. But 10 years later it had to be reapplied as it was not adhering to the surface.

innerskinTo create a translucent inner skin of a color prescribed by Mother (hibiscus flower peach) a very special white fabric made up of fiber glass woven in a sophisticated manner has been stretched over 756 triangular frames. Colored foil of a precise color is placed on the outer shell’s 668 portholes to filter the natural light that enters in through then in day time.At night time the colored light is provided by 1320 electronic modules.golden dics

Flattened sphere is covered with some 1400 golden discs to symbolize a radiating golden supra mental sun.1/3rd of the discs are concave and large weighing 210 kg. (dia 2.3m -2.4m), 2/3 rd are convex and smaller (dia 1.3m, 1.4m, 1.5m. and 1.6m).About a 3rd of total discs made of glass reinforced plastic and others are of stainless steel.

second levelOne of the two spiral ramps leading up to the chamber

inner chamberAt the center of the room, there is object of concentration upon which falls a single vertical beam of sunlight.This object is a crystal globe, 70cm dia, 400 kg., custom made of optically perfect glass made in Germany by “Scott” and later polished by “Zeiss”. It rests on a cube stand, 35cm side, consisting of 4 upright gilded symbol of Aurobindo that hold each other up by the points of their triangles. This cube stands at the center of the room of 3m diameter symbol of the mother which is engraved in white marble slab.Crystal globe is positioned exactly at the center of the sphere.The mother stressed that the important thing is the play of the sunbeam on the center as that becomes the symbol of “Future Realization”.

heliostatHeliostat is used to capture the sun beam. The same sun beam passes through the crystal and finally reached the lotus pond crystal.lotus pondBelow the sphere Architect wanted to build a lotus pond but when he realized that lotus will not bloom in the shade, instead of lotus pond he used 216 petal shaped marble slabs to create a pond over which water flows from outside towards the center.There is a crystal globe 17cm dia at center of pond.meditation roomsThere are 12 meditation rooms around the sphere representing 12 human qualities like Sincerity, Humility, Aspiration, Gratitude, Perseverance, Receptivity, Courage, Generosity, Peace, Equality, Progress, Goodness.All rooms have the same shape as that of Matrimandir -a small flattened sphere.All are in 12 different colors as per the quality like.

meditation roomsOne sits on a concrete slab clad with marble,which seems to float inside the flattened sphere.The room is air conditioned and there is one translucent oval disc made up of glass reinforced plastic for concentration at eye level. This object is placed in front of small window through which natural light enters in during day time.Auroville artists has designed some geometric patterns on these objects.amphitheatreThe Amphitheater’s inner dia is 75m and outer is 98m and 2.2 m deep. Rainwater is evacuated by gravity toward the northwest by a underground pipeline.Three times a year a large bonfire is lit at dawn in middle of Amphitheatre.Aurovillians and well wishers gather for collective meditation.Cultural performances rarely take place.

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This is a very good example of Symbolism in Architecture. The concept of  human  unity and one’s consciousness is well executed as Matrimandir. The path to consciousness is through the realization of the inner self and ultimately that supreme power- the Mother. The Mother here doesn’t mean mother as a person. It means the Supreme Power- Shakti. Shri Aurobindo’s concept of mother also referred to that ultimate power. But over the period of time it has become person specific as a result of misinterpretation of Aurobindo’s Concept. Whereas its still the divine eternal source of energy – omnipresent.

Philosophy

Mobius Strip

Infinity symbol and Mobius strip are synonym for each other. So starting with this post as tribute to my blog.The geometry of the Möbius band has great potential as an architectural form that is difficult to visualize and investigate without the aid of digital technologies. It is possible to develop a building that is a pure translation of the Möbius Band and it furthers a current trend in architectural forms being developed from mathematical concepts beyond mere inspiration. Mobius StripA Mobius strip is a non-orientable surface: you can build one with a strip of paper (twist the strip and glue end together to form a ring) and verify that it has only one side: it is not possible to paint it with two colors.

Mobius strip was named after the astronomer and mathematician August Ferdinand Möbius (1790-1868). He came up with his ‘strip’ in September 1858. Independently, German mathematician Johann Benedict Listing (1808-1882) devised the same object in July 1858. Perhaps we should be talking about the Listing strip instead of the Mobius strip.

A closely related ‘strange’ geometrical object is the Klein bottle. A Klein bottle can be produced by gluing two Möbius strips together along their edges; this cannot be done in ordinary three-dimensional Euclidean space without creating self-intersections.

Mobius Strip has always fascinated architects due its unique character. Lets see the actual execution of this concept.Klein Bottle House

The Klein Bottle House by McBride Charles Ryan Architects, located in Rye,Australia

CCTV building

We all know this gigantic and unique structure built in Beijing,China. Its a CCTV  buliding by Rem Koolhas and Ole Scheeren while Arup provided the  complex engineering design. It stands at 234 metres (768 ft) tall and has 51 floors.

The main building is not a traditional tower, but a continuous loop of six horizontal and vertical sections covering 4,100,000 square feet (381,000 m2) of floor space, creating an irregular grid on the building’s facade with an open center. The construction of the building is considered to be a structural challenge, especially because it is in a seismic zone. Because of its radical shape, it has acquired the nickname dà kùchǎ , meaning “big shorts”

For more details visit the link below.It will amaze you for sure.

http://beijingman.blogspot.com/2009/01/cctv-tower.html

The mobius houseThe Möbius House by UN Studio, Het Gooi, Holland (1993-1998)

In 1993, a young couple commissioned the Dutch architect Ben Van Berkel to design “a house that would be acknowledged as a reference for the renovation of the architectural language”. It took the architect six years to fulfil his client creating a house based on Mobius Strip.

The scheme to convey these features was found in the Möbius band, a diagram studied by the astrologist and mathematician, August Ferdinand Möbius (1790-1868). By taking a rectangular strip of paper and marking its corners, A -superior- and B -inferior- in one side, and C -superior- and D -inferior- on the other, the Möbius band is constructed by twisting and joining corners A with D, and B with C. The result is a strip of twisted paper, joined to form a loop which produces a one-sided surface in a continuous curve. It is a figure-of-eight without left or right, beginning or end.

The mobius house

By taking a rectangular strip of paper and marking its corners, A -superior- and B -inferior- in one side, and C -superior- and D -inferior- on the other, the Möbius band is constructed by twisting and joining corners A with D, and B with C. The result is a strip of twisted paper, joined to form a loop which produces a one-sided surface in a continuous curve. It is a figure-of-eight without left or right, beginning or end.

In terms of architecture, Peter Eisenman pioneered the Möbius form by roughly translating it into the “Max Reinhardt Haus” building.He sliced the form at the ground, thus failing to achieve the visual continuity of the Möbius as a whole.

Moebius building

Glass Sculpture, San Fransisco

San Francisco Glass Sculpture

http://www.homebysunset.com/home_by_sunset/2008/11/glass-ceiling.html


Thus the Möbius Band has several interesting properties that can be interpreted into architecture. Some of them can be achieved spatially while others can be achieved in terms of form and structure. The infiniteness and paradox of the Möbius can be demonstrated in terms of an enclosure in which one would walk around and feel the spatial twist without having to walk upside down. The continuity, twist and visual dynamism can be generated in terms of form and space where a Möbius Band would split into a flat surface, on which one could walk, and a twisted Möbius surface that could be treated as a wall or a ceiling or even the floor at certain instances. Another unique property of the band that would be very interesting when expressed in architecture is the concept of transformation, the event of the inside
becoming the outside and vice versa. Considering these properties we proceeded to generate a series of variations of the Möbius Band and the Enclosure.