Monday, June 21, 2010


An opening system of a building offers many opportunities for the use of declarative elements to present the identity of the occupant and the nature of occupancy. The identification and declarative elements are very essential for personalization of the building.
Identification and declarative elements state the owner, the nature of ownership, and conditions for visitations. These are done by direct expressions as well as very subtle means. Often these are placed due to the social conditioning, without knowing their  purpose or significance.

Openings are smaller apertures then the surrounding walls and so are the visual and functional focus of a space. To support these patterns that are axially symmetrical, incorporating a mid accentuation (rise in a circular segment), pointers, triangulation, vertically elongated shapes, formations of upright lines are used here. These elements as topping treatments also accentuate the height scale. Other openings like windows and gaps also carry similar elements to create a balance of similarity.

Identification elements differentiate a building within a group or associate the building to a category. Identical doors and windows conjoin several, even differently styled buildings into a cohesive entity, a colony. Similarly in a mass housing colony, people treat their doors, windows, or curtains, extravagantly different from their neighbours.
The identification and declarative elements announce the nature of opening like, entry, exit, restricted access. These elements on the outer face of a building project a message for the passerby and visitors, and the same occasionally placed on the interior side, reinforce it for the departing visitor.

Identification and declarative elements mark the identity and status of the owner,  nature and antiquity of the ownership. The occupier’s name, caste, educational qualifications, native place and titles are marked over the door. The name of the building, its date of commencement or occupation is the common mention. Antiquity of the building is associated with the main entrance by marking of important events that have taken place in the building.

The entrance door is not just the factual place of arrival but is a metaphoric point of entrance for everything, good or evil, friend or enemy, known or unknown. A visitor, and everything else, is expected to arrive at the main door, in spite of many other convenient points. In some way it is a point of fear, doubt and danger as much as it is of hope, fulfilment and safety. Means of physical and spiritual defence are placed here even though there may be more vulnerable locations in a building.

The visitor’s announcement and identification systems are placed near the formal entrance, such as: bells, knockers, buzzers, talking pipes, whistles, sirens, rattlers, vibrators, horns, intercoms, video recognition, surveillance systems.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Stage curtains are used to cover the performance as well as backstage areas from the audience. Plain opaque, translucent or scenic curtains and fixed curtained panels are used to divide the performance zone. Proscenium stages use many types of curtains than arena or thrust-out stages. The main or the first curtain on the audience side is called a grand drape, act curtain, house curtain, house drape or main drape. These are made of heavier fabric.

The curtains are either dropped downward or moved sideways. In smaller theatres curtains have two leaves which part away horizontally. In larger theatres the curtains are suspended from a batten or staff and dropped down. The curtains open vertically a guillotine reveal -after the execution device, by moving into the fly tower. The curtains are (flown in theatre terminology) dropped or raised up to a required height masking the upper section of the stage. The dropping is quickest way of lowering a curtain. A single curtain which moves horizontally is called a wipe. A tab or tableau curtain has two overlapping leaves which are lifted from the corners in a diagonal direction. This forms a draped effect when it is opened. Austrian, braille or contour curtain is lifted through several vertical runners attached the back of the curtain. The curtain has set of circular segmental folds. A Venetian or profile curtain is similar in appearance to the Austrian drape, but each individual pleat can be raised independently, allowing the curtain to be opened to various heights or configurations. A scrim is a curtain made of a gauze like fabric that seems to be opaque when lit from the front and transparent when backlit. A backdrop curtain is a painted or scenery curtain forming the back surface of the performance area. A cyclorama is a large white curtain that encircles the stage and provides a background.

The depth of the performance stage is divided into zones with curtains. Very often such curtains are gestural to denote a break or end of an act though most are made from black or other dark coloured, non light reflective materials. A curtain call is a curtsey or thanks call offered beyond the closed position of the curtain, but in front part of the stage. Side wings are fixed curtains to obscure side sections of a stage. Curtains or head-wings are used to hide the upper section stage properties such as the hanging gears, ropes and rolled or folded section of the curtains. Main curtains were first drop curtains but these required a heavy bottom staff. As this was hazardous, roll curtain was soon adopted. ‘Curtain was raised after the prologue and remained up throughout the performance, all scene shifting was in view of the audience. It was not until 1750 that an ‘act drop’ was used; previously, even intermezzi were performed in front of a full stage setting’.


  Post 171 -by Gautam Shah .  SUNDAY Feature on ART of Architecture John Terrick Williams (1860-1936) was a British painter, who was a me...