Friday, January 17, 2014


#Openings #Gates #Gateways #Doors #Windows #Barriers

Barriers are continuous or overlapping entities. Barriers can only be experienced through the cuts, cleavages or gaps within them. Designed openings in barriers include doors, windows, gates and gateways. These openings’ systems occur within barriers systems such as walls, fencings, fort walls, enclosures, partitions, and dividers.

An opening system to be effective must occur within a barrier. A strong barrier system creates an effective opening system. Opening systems are subordinated or minor systems of the barriers. Opening systems are ineffective in barriers that are transparent, broken or  discontinuous. A room with a lattice wall all around or a glass cabin has no need for a window. An open pavilion has no need for any door. However, often stand-alone opening systems do occur without the inevitable mothering barrier. Japanese Gate Torii is placed alone, anywhere in 'wilderness', in the middle of water expanse.

The Sanchi Stupa Gate, India has three emphatic horizontal bands representing the eaves, but placed over singular supports. According to the Japanese mythology, the essence of a gate comes into being through the eaves. Torii Japan, is a metaphoric gate, formed by head bands, the 'eaves'. The Toran, buntings, streamers, banners, all are forms of the eaves, and so constitute an Opening system or a Gate.

The head structure of an opening system, the Lintel has been the place to mark gate deities and signs. The round arch can be considered as a relief to the ponderous horizontal lintel or the eaves. The pointed arch of the Gothic era relieves the opening emphatically.

If the eaves are the essence of an opening, the sides, in minor way mark the opening. Two level-headed parallel posts alone, without any eaves or a head structure create an opening system. Virtually any set of parallel elements also define an opening. Twin elements are perceptually or conceptually linked by a metaphysical  intervening element to manifest a connection. Petronas Towers, former World Trade Centre twin towers, National Congress Building, Brasília of Brazil, Electric transmission towers or pylons, all create gate like openings' effect. Valleys between mountains provide a negotiable zone like a Pass, the trough, gorge, etc. which are called Gateways. Afghan valleys are considered the gateway to India. Suez Canal is considered a trade gateway to Europe. Silk Route opens a window to China.

The eaves and sides, both on their own, and all together create an Opening. In any formal opening system both, the eaves and the sides are present. However when one is absent or minor, the opening system tends to be notional.

An opening marks a domain edge and a point of exchange or a 'gateway' (as in case of Internet). Openings or such notional formations are placed to landmark a domain. Commemorative archways, Gateways, Plaques, Obelisks, Pillars, Moats, etc. not only denote the power of a domain, but also its focus.

Bridges, pathways, avenues etc. are links joining two separated areas. Such links regulate the exchange occurring through them, so are considered gates. The ports, wharfs, moorings, runways of airports, plug-sockets, are nodes of connectivity and exchange. Computer nodes, are gateways for linkages.


A barrier system could be infinite in size but the opening system which occurs within it is always of finite size. An opening can never be larger or equal to the barrier system. An opening that occurs in a Finite Barrier system could be relatively small or large, but openings occurring in very extensive or an infinite barrier can be judged to be large or small in terms of the user.

A Small opening makes a barrier system very evident, whereas a large opening or multiple openings make barriers less effective. Significance of a small  opening is due to the contrasting scale against the barrier system within which it occurs. The exchange occurring across a small opening is very intense, compared to a large gateway. Small openings due to their smaller scale allow a controlled scale of exchange. However, a large opening often requires re-scaling through various appendages such as: segregation channels for up - down, and fast -slow traffic, compaction through funnelling, filtration for selective processing, acceleration and de-acceleration mechanisms.

A large window is divided into smaller units -lites, each of which can have a varied configuration. Entrance foyers of skyscrapers, lounges of Airports and Railway stations, have ganged or multiple doors to serve the demand for a wider but controlled opening. However, air hangers, garages, barns and warehouses require wide doors to meet the functional carriage width, but also have an inset smaller specific use opening. Openings are also spaced out to take advantage of the location and orientation, and diffuse the exchange over a larger zone. Openings are concentrated or grouped together, to few locations to reduce the wastage of distributed operations.

Openings are scaled in terms of the 'image projection'. A large opening means: capacity to build better, greater control over security, desire for extravagance or grandeur, greater perceptibility from a distance. Smaller and fewer openings mean: traditional building technology, need for energy conservation, fewer problems of safety and security, economic prudence and need to be less visible.

A Large window illuminates the interiors brightly, creating a fearless but public (non-private) space. Bright spaces are warm, a desirable quality in some climates. A Small window mean a sturdy and stable structure, an intimate (private) space, safety, security and cool interior or a 'cold' space. A wall, the barrier system mothering the opening traditionally has been massive, but more insulating for radiation, so fewer openings disrupt a wall to lesser scale.

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