Impact of Tangible things (solid or permanent) on
intangible open space activity (voids or temporary) is
continuously changing through human pattern.
SIDDHI V. KANKARIYA
M.ARCH (SEM 1) T.M.U.D.
This article proposes a new theoretical perspective for understanding urban spaces and their interrelations. Each
urban space has an “identity,” defined by its specific mixture of groups and its specific real and sensual qualities.
These qualities construct a sensual object with a specific sensual identity within the web of different urban spaces.
Therefore, urban spaces are being made through multiple interrelations and are constituted through their location.
The movement pattern of human and activity around space is totally depend upon any built structure in urban area.
BACKGROUND (THEORIZERS OR IDEOLOGIES):
1 st Theory – Figure and Ground Theory by Trancik Roger.
A figure-ground diagram is a mapping technique used to illustrate the relationship between built and unbuilt space
in cities. Land coverage of buildings is visualized as solid mass (figure), while public spaces formed by streets,
parks and plazas are represented as voids (ground).
2 nd Theory – Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by William Whyte.
The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by Whyte is a concise, observational study of people's relationship with
spaces and how it can change (for better or for worse) when the space itself is altered.
SCOPE & LIMITATIONS:
The scope of the study is extended to specific elements of this two theories. i.e. ‘Figure and ground theory’ and
‘Social life of small urban spaces’.
The area where the study was conducted is one part of the city ‘Aurangabad’
The comparison of this data will be different with any other urban space because of the human behaviour with built
and unbuilt space in urban context.
Time-lapse, on site survey, photography, interviews, and direct observation of users, Mapping of existing tangible
and intangible scenario, Tangible activity through maps and intangible activity through pictograms and pie
diagram. Direct observation was the most fruitful technique.
KEYWORDS: Tangible, Intangible, Solid, Voids, Open spaces, Human Pattern.
DISCUSSION/ DETAIL ARGUMENT:
For any given building, the space enclosed by the built mass
is what generally defines its respective function and form.
However, an antithesis of these occupied spaces is unbuilt
spaces, or voids in a given built fabric. In a very superfluous
manner of speaking, unbuilt spaces are what remain when
built spaces are discounted from a given built form. These
unbuilt spaces have varying configurations, degree of
enclosure as well as function, and work in harmony with the
built spaces. They act as determinants of form, functional
buffers, multifunctional areas (supplementing the designated
function of the built environment that they are a part of), as
well as climatic aids.
Fig 1. In an isolated environment, perception of the built
form changes with change in the enveloping space, or
unbuilt form, in the given environment
Unbuilt spaces have long come to associate themselves with the quality of the spatial organization and
distribution of settlements, as well as the ‘feel’ of these spaces. In the context of modern urban design, open
spaces may be defined as parts of a settlement where myriad groups, personalities, events and activities
intermingle to recreate all the complexities of human lives. These are spaces which acquire their identity through
Unbuilt spaces, despite their intangibility, can be characterised by their relationship with the built mass in the
given built environment. Like built spaces, unbuilt spaces are also characterized by the parameters of evaluating
tangible spatial relationships, and hence can be studies antithetically as well as objectively.
Unbuilt spaces, despite their intangibility, can be characterised by their relationship with the built mass in the given
built environment. Like built spaces, unbuilt spaces are also characterized by the parameters of evaluating tangible
spatial relationships, and hence can be studies antithetically as well as objectively.
A. Masses and voids
Space can be either full or empty. A void is an empty volume, while a
mass is a filled volume. Voids occur in conjunction with masses – they
can either be geometrical, or organic. Unbuilt spaces formed by the
creation of geometric forms and shapes can be considered as geometric
voids. These play a very important role in the final composition,
because geometric forms have sharp outlines and adjust themselves in
the space articulation. To counterbalance the dynamic interplays of
form and space, voids become significantly important. On the other
hand, organic voids are generated by the creation of organic shapes and
forms, and they together behave like hands in gloves, where the forms
are the hands and the voids are the gloves. Created by smooth, flowing
forms and shapes, organic voids are also free flowing and gentle.
Fig 2. Masses and voids enclosed by them.
Left – Geometric void
Right – Organic void
B. Scale and Proportion
The scale of an open space affects the perception of built mass in its vicinity. Scale and proportion are
characteristics of any given space, relevant through its size. While scale relates to the user, proportion relates to the
form’s position within and relation with the environment in which it’s placed The same is true for unbuilt spaces –
they are in a constant interaction with the built forms, and hence their scale and proportion is affected by their own
configuration and the degree of enclosure accorded to them by their surroundings.
Fig 3. Proportion of built mass to unbuilt space
changes the perception of both, despite the
configuration of built space remaining constant.
Fig 4. Perception of built space changes in respect with vantage point,
which is determined by size of unbuilt space. Built spaces appear bigger
and more dominating when unbuilt spaces diminish.
C. Degree of Enclosure
The degree of enclosure of a space can be defined as the extent to which a space can be isolated. 6 A fully enclosed
space creates a cohesive, isolate space, whereas a low degree of enclosure creates a space which is loosely bound
and has a fluid configuration. Degree of enclosure affects the scale of a space, and in turn is affected by the
permeability of a space, and dictates user preference and comfort in the space. It also affects circulation hierarchy
by creating variations in the intimacy gradient for any given area.
Fig 5. Width of unbuilt space
determines scale of built
environment and degree of
enclosure accorded by each case.
D. Degree of Permeability
The degree of permeability of a space can be defined physically as well as visually, and is characterized by the
nature of openings as well as visual character of the surrounding build mass. It correlates directly with the access
and connectivity of a given space. In case of open unbuilt spaces, plant forms and landforms also affect the degree
of permeability of a given space.
E. Spatial Organization
The arrangement of various elements in respect with one another in a given plane is Spatial Organization. The
organization of spaces, both built and unbuilt, shapes the experience of the user in that by affecting the enclosure
and permeability of the space. Spatial organization lends legibility to a space and affects the path finding patterns
of the user. It also affects the social and visual hierarchy of a built environment by providing clear visual cues and
axes, along which users align themselves.
Fig 6. Organization of space as per the
principles introduced by Francis D. K.
Ching. The above diagrams focus on the
distribution of unbuilt spaces, and their
organization with respect to the built form.
OBSERVATIONS OF CASE STUDY:
Figure and ground map with land use of
building is performing as a base map of
When human activity and connectivity of
structure involve in unbuilt spaces there is
different human pattern formed.
This patterns are depend on the special
quality and behaviour of spaces.
This patterns of humans are not fixed. Its
keep in changing with the change in use of
As we seen the solid spaces of figure and
ground map are permanent and void spaces
are temporary. But the impact and
influence of solid mass on voids is
changing day by day.
Fig 7. Study of Human pattern from central landmark
Gajanan Maharaj Mandir to surrounding area
1. Urban space should have unity which may be expressed in different ways such as:
2. There should be a proper layout pattern in the proposed development which shall give coherency to the
3. Buildings should be visually and physically connected to each other. Articulated use of open spaces and other
built up spaces like rest areas, sit outs, markets etc. shall help in this.
4. Pedestrian movement is an important aspect of any complex so it should be kept in consideration.
5. There should always be a play of scale and proportion which makes the complex attractive.
6. A landmark building in any complex leads to the direction.
7. Proportion in between heights and open spaces to be followed which give proper view to the building.