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30-36_Archi-June 2010

30-36_Archi-June 2010

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Published by: Meenakshi Somasundaram on Jan 02, 2014
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ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People June 201030
in Architecture
Kirti D. Bhonsle
 in a historical de-terministic perspective, can
be viewed as a technological sys-tem that is expressed in ‘objectivepa-rameters such as construction, material or functional operations.Dan Rice quotes —
‘there are 3 forms of visual art: painting is art to look at, sculpture is art you can walk around and architecture is art you can walk through.” 
Looking at the literal meaning of the term, threshold can be defined as a re-gion marking a boundary; as the sill of a door; a horizontal piece of wood or stone that forms the bottom of a door-way and offers support when passing through a doorway; as the entrance (the space in a wall) through which you enter or leave a room or building; the space that a door can close. It can also
“Concrete columns affixed to the brick walls with punctures to let the sunlight, air and cool breeze inside and a sloped roof to add to its beauty………” is an Architecture far beyond structural composition. It is also an art, it bears meanings in its each element, each with much more features to render…………
Fig 1- A horizontal piece of wood or stone
 June 2010 ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People31
be defined as the starting point for a new state or experience or the bound-ary beyond which a radically different state of affairs exists.One can say that artwork needs a starting point. A book needs a preface as a starting; an essay needs an intro-duction etc. These elements are distinct from the core or body of the art form yet recognizable; they contribute to the whole, retaining their identity. If we talk of the same element in context to ar-chitecture, the threshold or transition is the space along which one approaches the building prior to actually entering serves as the introduction and precon-ditions our mind to the nature of activi-ties within the building.
A constant that can be found in archi-tecture is the idea of threshold; an in-tangible moment that delineates the inside out. One can enhance the idea of threshold by offering a multitude of transition spaces in order to enrich the experience of users and create a stronger bond between the building and its physical and sociological con-text.
What would architecture be with-out thresholds? 
It would probably mean no transi-tions of spaces, which is a continuous space therefore the outside. It has to satisfy the dual function of separating as well as linking the two parts of the same building or may be two different buildings. Hence one can imagine the amount of importance that threshold carries with itself.Figure from ground, specific from generic, individual from collective, local from global: it is through the act of distinction that we ascribe and understand the relative identities of things, spaces, ideas, people. The critical ambivalence of “difference” is that it requires first a sameness to be measured against; it vacillates con-stantly between affinity and dissimi-larity (the ones and zeroes of appre-hension). As Gilles Deleuze puts it in the preface to his canonical text on the subject, difference “allows itself to lead to contradiction, only to the extent that its subordination to the identical is maintained.
The next question that comes to mind is as to – What constitutes a meaning-ful TRANSITION? 
 The term may also refer to the small-est difference between two stimuli (the just-noticeable difference), in intensity, magnitude, or pitch, which can be discriminated. The creation of transitions is there-fore thresholds is intrinsic to architec-ture. In our modern society of con-sumerism, the question to ask is not whether or not we are surrounded by thresholds but what is the quality of those thresholds and how are they in-corporated into the building to create a better environment. It is interesting to draw a parallel between thresholds in the field of architecture and thresholds as sociological moment. For example, death and mourning, are the most com-monly situation to be associated to the phenomenon of threshold. The rituals surrounding death used to be qualified by a series of events spreading into time in order to make each death more bear-able. Now this threshold, transition mo-ment between our life before and after is supposed to last not months like but instants. Metaphysically, it represents the transition point between the outer world of the senses and the inner world of the spirit. There is an over simplification of the process and the sequences. I think there is a similar phenomenon in ar-chitecture, the process of entrance; the transitional quality of spaces is often un-der addressed and weak. Too often, the entry process boils down to a marquise followed by a series of monotonous doors. The richness of a building should be judged mainly by the transition ex-periences it proposes. In the way it sug-gests rituals that guide you through a  journey of exploration. We would then address the issue of quality of the envi-ronment creating transition experience.  The threshold should be understood as an event, a gradual transition towards a more inclusive interiority.Architecture is the mother of all arts because it has an interior that can be explored unlike in the sculptures and paintings. Transition spaces include: entrance foyers, corridors, buffer zones,
Threshold is also defined as the minimum or maximum value (established for an attribute, characteristic, or parameter) which serves as a benchmark   for comparison or guidance and any breach  of which may call for a complete review of the situation or the redesign of a system
Fig 2 The sill of a door
ARCHITECTURE - Time Space & People June 201032
lobbies and other transitory areas used within buildings but not permanently occupied. Such spaces have a differ-ent impact on people passing through than either outdoor or fully indoor areas.
 The thresholds or the transition spaces in architecture can be created by the change of light, a change of sound, a change of direction , a change of sur-face, a change of level, perhaps by gate-ways which make a change of enclosure and above all with a change in view.In short the tranquility of the thresholds is felt and maintained if it appeals to all the five senses of the human being – of touch, smell, sound, taste and sight.tions of these spaces is very important as well. Though many modern style homes are not designed for privacy and rely on their site and surrounding for that element, I would say it is defi-nitely something you should always be thinking about. If you are thinking about a nice transitional space to place in the middle of the home, an atrium is always a good idea. One of the most important functions of transition spac-es is sustainability in building design.  The accurate use of these spaces in a built form may increase its energy ef-ficiency up to a great extent. The
 separates the public
and private sphere, private and com-mon property and self-determined
and over-directed action. As an architec-tural element or spatial
configuration, it highlights historically specific, cul-turally
determined zones of transition, in which certain gestures and
activities are performed. Thresholds are created by elements like entrances that foster a shift in our inner state along the way. The shorter the route the more it requires variation in plant materials, arches and gates to create a sense of entry transition.
“All the structures in the town get their identity most clearly from the fact that  you pass through a definite gateway to enter in – it is this gateway acting as a threshold which creates the unit” 
— Christopher Alexander in‘A Pattern Language’
A planned entrance is the conscious ar-rangement or organization of the ele-ments or spaces like staircases, ramps, porches or canopies, sculptures and paintings, murals, landscaping which gives special, sometimes ceremonial significance to the threshold as a sym-bol of transition.
Fig 3 –The colonnaded passage is marked by the play of light and shade.Fig 4 –Change of surfaceFig 5–Transition marked by the change of direction. [Ames cottage by Flora Grubb in San Francisco]
 This concept is very well explored in the Japanese architecture. Japanese ar-chitecture does have great transitional spaces and an excellent connection to nature and whatever a given structure’s surrounding may be. Shoji screen halls around some of the exterior provide a nice transition between in and out. You should definitely take into account the flow of the floor plan as well when thinking about transitional spaces.  The psychological and social implica-

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