Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The spaces have two distinctions: Exterior and Interior.

The exterior has two distinct zones: One where the extent is endless and beyond the perception limits, and, Two where the edges limit the perception creating ‘neighbourhood spaces’. A ‘wild exterior space’ due to its uncertain character and infinite size, cannot be possessed. A neighbourhood space lacks the settings and environment for any task other then the casual social interaction.

The interior spaces are enclosed entities. The outward sensorial reach beyond the edge of the interior space does not affect either the wild or neighbourhood exterior spaces. However, other way around, Interior spaces are affected by all the happenings in exteriors. An interior space is controlled and a domesticated entity, and so allows a set of activities.

The enclosures of the interior spaces have varied levels of transparencies. The openings in the shell allow escapes at many places.  The transgressions across the enclosure occur as outward push and inward pull of the interior space. The outward push or encroachments are often ‘costless’, though may ‘load’ the enclosure (shell) body. It increases the interior volume and permits a restrained exterior. The inward intrusions, however, consume interior space or estate and reduce the nett enclosed space.

All transgressions add extra surface over the enclosure body, with or without a proportional increase in volume. Both types of transgressions, inward and outward reach, make the interior spaces vibrant.
  •     Examples of outward transgressions: Galleries, balconies, Chhatris, campanile, bay-windows, oriel-windows, dormers, Mashrabiya, verandahs, skylights, etc.

  •     Examples of inward transgressions: Cut out, Chowks, courtyards, Liwan, setbacks, cutbacks, shafts, light-wells, etc.


A wild exterior space defined by the markings is an infinite realm. It cannot be a setting for personal or interpersonal behaviour. One can perhaps realise a potential to possess it. The act of possession requires definitions like bounding to define a space entity. The bounding are elements recognised as they exist as anchors or starting points. Where such points do not exist, new ones are created.
  •     Planting trees in a row, digging a trench, clearing a land, fencing, planting posts at corners, scrapping tree barks, placing distinctive patterns or configurations with stone, leaving extinguished fire with a visible heap of ash,  leaving excreta, are some of the elements and methods to indicate possession or occupation.
An exterior space with potential for possession does not become a setting for habitation till it is further sub-zoned into locations for various tasks. The sub-zones are attached to the bounding elements and so closely identified with the environment available there. Neighbourhood exterior spaces have such sub-zones.   
  •      Primitive-men started their settlement with not just space for the families, and safe place for fire, storage of tools, food, water, place for craft, etc., but also a place for skinning and cleaning the kill. The later was dirtiest task and generated foul leftovers. These set the activities that were interior vs exterior.
Neighbourhood spaces have paths and open spaces that both connect as well as separate various habitable spaces. Here it is not the distance but the degree of dependence that forms unified neighbourhood space. The dependence is need based as much as it is perception based. One may not know or formally meet the neighbour for years, or ever, but the perception someone is staying in vicinity is a great social comfort. Very often even the presence of a man-made object provides the same comfort.


An interior entity is recognised by its enclosure. A very strong enclosure creates an isolated space, with very limited relevance. However, translucency of the enclosure brings in environmental variations to the  interior. The interior space and the timed environmental variations create a wide variety of purposive settings.

Interior spaces have many variegated sub-entities within. The prime variation causing element is the orientation specific and partly predictable environment. The degree of translucency of the enclosing elements adds several alternatives to this. Other variations are related to the use and are specific to perception and adoption.

The form and format of an interior space are unitary and consistent, but the subsections show minor, local and temporary variations. Peripheral zones become a multilateral entity reflecting the environmental variations. Where such variations become extensive and a permanent a new spatial entity comes into being. For example, cooking-dining, kitchen-bathing, entrance-living room, etc. have been adjunct as well as segregated entities, at different times and within same era for different social reasons.

An interior space however, isolated and insulated cannot exist without the environment. But it is not always necessary for the internal space and external segment to be concurrent in time and space. One can conceive the Interior or Exterior alone, without the other being present in time and space proximity. The virtual immediacy of the two realms is achieved by carrying across the impressions of the other. The duality of the interior and the exterior is like an antithetic zone to the other.

One can also replace the physical presence (manifesting in time or space) of the Exterior or Interior realms through their notional representations. The Internal and External spaces, can occur as a ‘metaphoric concept’ for the other.
  •    The heaven and the hell are two surrounds of the earth. Egyptians have dummy doors (drawn or carved) in their tombs. A Garbha Griha (inner sanctum) in a temple is an inner sanctum. The Japanese gate Mori is placed anywhere, in a vast open land or sea, to mark a divide. Lakshman Rekha ( Line drawn by brother of Lord Rama in Indian Mythology) was a notional boundary.
Presentation of metaphoric or symbolic elements suffices to initiate a full scale happening. Pictures or names of gods on doors protect the house. Mime shows, and Bharat Natyam dance mudra (hand gestures in Indian classical dances) enacts space through metaphors. Metaphorical declarations mark a qualitative change, and are used to compensate the territorial presence of physical and metaphysical elements.

Interior spaces have varied zones. An insulated and less affected segment, of an interior space is its core segment. A core segment is nominally centric.  At the core segment, metaphysical elements like concepts, beliefs, taboos, etc. that reflect the essence of the inhabitation are stronger. Whereas metaphorical elements like signs, symbols flourish towards the peripheral segment.

Interior spaces are recognised for their potential for functionality (size, shape), environmental control and sensorial adequacy. Sometimes these spaces are designed to alienate the users from the expected set of things. Such diversions are used to excite, to register the change (mark of new and end of old) and also to destabilize the users.


Interior space seeks to be a spatial organization for specific environmental conditions and class of users. However, for circumstantial reasons, it is not always feasible to achieve a perfect set, in a particular space, with available technologies and in required time. To overcome such deficiencies, Interior spaces are often endowed with make-believe inputs or effects. The ‘make-believe’ is an economical (time, extent, money and effort) substitute for the original. The ‘make-believe’ also offers an exciting tool for creation of new experiences.

Make-believe also provides for surprises using conventional elements and settings. The make-believe is created by substituting elements that have strong association with specific effects, such as: materials, technologies, spatial scaling (size, proportion), or temporal skewing (enhancing or delaying the event). 

  •        Our nominal experience tells us that dark spaces are cooler and quiet or conversely bright spaces are noisier and warm, but these expectations are purposely replaced in maze or adventure tunnels in children parks. Night clubs are darker but noisier and prayer areas are brighter and yet quieter. A transparent material is not structural (non-load-bearing) and is fragile (glass acrylic), both are  belied in buildings, as dance floors. Laksha-Grih (House of Lac - combustible material) of epic Mahabharat was based on make-believe effects of materials and our sensorial conditioning. Glass and mirror have been two major materials for make-believe.

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