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Prominence of Pause Places

Posted by
on March 20, 2018 at 02:03 PM

© Courtesy of Khosla Associates- Infinity Pool Deck

In the busy lives we lead, we hardly get any time to pause. In the architectural sense, though, there are several spatial breaks such as porches, corridors, courtyards, and staircase landings; which subconsciously give us an opportunity to 'pause' - to breathe freely, relax our minds, and get rejuvenated for the chores that lie ahead of us. Using spaces becomes such a habitual activity that we hardly realise the presence, and even lesser perceive the effect, of these pause spaces. An interesting blog by Heli Haribhakti takes us on a whirlwind tour of the Pause Places seen on TFOD Photo Gallery - uploaded by architects and designers across the country!

Who ever thought we will see the day when the attention span of humans is found to be similar to that of a goldfish? But courtesy the fast-paced and technology driven life, our attention span has diminished to a mere few seconds.  If the interest is captured and held longer than that then you might have managed to put a pause in this bustling life and given something to think on. And it doesn't have to be a tangible thing. A mere feel of a space can do that. In architecture, such spaces are called leisure spots or buffer spaces. I like to call them pause places.

 

© Courtesy of Spasmindia- Entrance Corridor

Functionally they can serve to be as circulatory routes connecting two or more primary activities, or a physical link between the indoors and the outdoors; or the landings of a staircase that connects two levels of a building. Marking its presence, yet merging with the surroundings. Whether to keep them as stark, solely functional spaces or treat them in a way that makes them aesthetically engaging - depends on the designer or home-owner.

© Courtesy of Khosla Associates- Courtyard Corridor

So, a simple corridor may present itself as just a pathway connecting different rooms or spaces; or it can be a transitional, breathable journey with a spot or two to sit and gaze. Similarly, a courtyard which is primarily just a source of light and ventilation, can be a space enhanced with plants, rocks and artwork and be a cosy place for coffee and conversation. Likewise, a threshold can be just another doorway between inside and outside; or a change in atmosphere that spiritually connects your inner thoughts with the outside world.

© Courtesy of Dipen Gada & Associates- Entrance Water Body

Usually thresholds, corridors and courtyards are default elements in a layout, and more often than not considered as wastage of space, when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of area calculations. But these spaces contribute in maintaining the optimal energy levels of the building, giving it life and a certain elemental identity – a fact that is often overlooked.

© Courtesy of Morphogenesis- Courtyard for Corporate Office

Let us understand the evolution of such spaces. Over the centuries, there is a significant change in their usage. There is evidence of buffer spaces in the excavations from the Neolithic period. Purely functional connective areas are seen in the buildings of the Egyptian and Pre-Colombian periods. The Greek and Roman periods saw architecture flourish; and there are many examples that show the inventive use of transitional spaces. And if seen on a larger scale, the cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa seem to be planned as an interaction and juxtaposition of such spaces. History shows that the relevance of pause places – whether strictly functional or more creative -  depended on the needs and aspirations of the respective era.

© Courtesy of Architect Yash & Architect Rachita Patel- Approach to Entrance

We traverse through time, space and life so quickly and habitually that we aren't receptive to the presence of these spaces. And we experience them daily, from micro to macro levels -  physically as well as psychologically. It can be through a change in temperature, or a visually pleasing sight, or suddenly stumbling across a place to sit after a long walk, or a break-out space that relaxes the mind.

© Courtesy of Architect Puran Kumar- Entrance Foyer

And though it is little more than a few seconds that one actually spends in these spaces – I can almost hear them singing out to me: "All you have to do is Stay a minute, just take your time. The clock is ticking, so Stay."

So, the next time you happen to pass through such a space, just pause and ponder.

 

 

© Courtesy of Khosla Associates- Garden Courtyard

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