INTERIOR DESIGN by John F. Pile Chapter 8: Materials
Kuwait university Department of architecture Instructor: Dr. Yaser Mahgob Materials and their uses
<ul><li>Points of Discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Structural and Interior Material </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental and Green issues </li></ul><ul><li>Types of materials: </li></ul><ul><li>1-Wood </li></ul><ul><li>2-Masonry </li></ul><ul><li>3-Metal </li></ul><ul><li>4-Glass </li></ul><ul><li>5-Plastics </li></ul><ul><li>Material Selection Criteria </li></ul><ul><li>Materials in relation to their uses : </li></ul><ul><li>Walls Columns Ceilings </li></ul><ul><li>Doors Floors Miscellaneous Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Windows Steps & stairways </li></ul>
<ul><li>Elements are the separate parts or components that make up a space, referring to the basic building components : walls, floors, ceilings, columns, doors, windows, and similar items. </li></ul><ul><li>Every building is made up of structural elements , those that actually support the building and enclose it, and nonstructural elements , additions that do not affect the building’s basic structure. . </li></ul><ul><li>All elements are made of materials, such as wood, stone, plaster, paint, and paper. </li></ul><ul><li>An important part of interior design work is the selection of suitable materials for the various elements that make up a particular interior space . </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing the selection of materials demands knowledge of what is available and an awareness of what is best suited to specific needs and uses. Collecting information about materials, both in memory and in a data file of catalogs, literature, and samples, is a vital part of preparation for interior design work. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Structural and Interior Materials </li></ul><ul><li>Every interior exists within a structure made up of materials organized in a way that provides an enclosure envelope and a supporting system of elements having an architectural or engineering basis. </li></ul><ul><li>Structure can be totally invisible, as in spaces within a modern high-rise where columns, beams, and slabs are hidden within partition walls, hung ceilings, and other elements of finish. Even in such cases, although the occupant or user may be unaware of structure, the designer will be aware of column locations that cannot be changed, bearing walls that cannot be removed . </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness of architectural structure is essential to any interior design work that goes beyond the level of surface decoration. </li></ul><ul><li>The traditional materials that have been in use for thousands of years are wood (timber) and masonry (stone, brick, tile, and manufactured forms of block). In the modern world, two other major types of materials become important. These are metals—primarily iron and steel—and the special form of concrete known as reinforced concrete. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Although such structural materials may appear in interior spaces, many other interior materials are nonstructural. They may cover over structure, they may be added to structure to modify function and appearance . </li></ul>
<ul><li>Environmental or Green Issues </li></ul><ul><li>The materials used for an interior design project may have an impact on the environment in a number of ways. </li></ul><ul><li>The first group has to do with the impact of material selection and use on larger environmental concerns affecting the population caused by the huge consumption of fuel and energy resources. </li></ul><ul><li>The second category is that involving the production of excessive waste. </li></ul><ul><li>The third group of issues relates to the actual interior environment that the project will create and the impact that environment will have on the health, safety, and well-being of the occupants and users of that space. </li></ul><ul><li>Although the impact of any one project on the general environment will, of course, be relatively small, each project makes its own contribution, for better or for worse, to the total environment. Each designer and each client must make an individual determination as to how far to go in striving for minimal negative impact on the environment. </li></ul>
<ul><li>SICK-BUILDING SYNDROME </li></ul><ul><li>The phrase sick-building syndrome has come into popular use to describe buildings in which indoor air quality is so unsatisfactory as to cause serious illness for users. </li></ul><ul><li>The term is somewhat misleading, since it is not, of course, the building itself that is sick but rather the occupants who suffer from problems created by the environmental maladies that the building generates. </li></ul><ul><li>The best defenses against sick-building syndrome are removal of all known hazardous materials, (natural materials most often are the least offensive), air-conditioning and ventilation systems that offer ample input of outdoor air, and wherever possible, windows that can be opened to permit free air circulation. </li></ul><ul><li>In general, minimizing the use of synthetic materials, care in checking the health certification of all materials, and provision of ample ventilation and air cleansing are the principal lines of defense against material-related hazards. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Types of Materials </li></ul><ul><li>While all materials originate from natural sources, human needs impose certain levels of modification on materials as they are found in nature. </li></ul><ul><li>The following are the three levels of processing these materials: </li></ul><ul><li>• Natural materials. Except when they need to be modified for use, natural materials remain unchanged. Stone and wood, for example, can be used in their natural forms, but they are usually cut into standard shapes. </li></ul><ul><li>Stone is most often cut into blocks, in which form it is called ashlar. </li></ul><ul><li>• Processed materials . The result of converting natural materials into special forms for practical use is processed materials. The natural material clay takes on different properties and uses when fired into brick . </li></ul><ul><li>Wood may be sliced into thin sheets of veneer, and layers of veneer may be glued together to form plywood. All metals require processing to extract them from or, refine them, and possibly combine them into alloys. Then they are formed into sheets, tubes, rolled sections, castings, or other shapes. </li></ul>
Synthetic materials . These do not exist in nature but have been brought into being, or manufactured, through artificial processes. Glass is an ancient synthetic made from sand and various other elements fused by heat. Plastics, the most familiar of modern synthetics, are made from various chemicals, most of them derived from petroleum. In practice, many materials result from combinations of these levels of processing.
<ul><li>Wood </li></ul><ul><li>STRUCTURAL </li></ul><ul><li>Timber is the most widely available and most familiar of structural materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Wood is limited by its source, trees, to a lengthwise strip material. </li></ul><ul><li>Wood makes a reasonably durable, but not permanent, building material, being subject to decay, rot, insect damage, and fire. </li></ul><ul><li>The following general information is applicable to wood in all of its many uses: </li></ul><ul><li>Softwood : The term softwood refers to the woods of evergreen trees that are generally fast growing and therefore soft to cut with a handsaw and be assembled with hammer and nails. </li></ul><ul><li>Hardwood : The wood from fruit and nut trees as well as others that lose their leaves annually, is denser and “harder” than the softwoods. Hardwoods are of good appearance and take finishes well, rendering them suitable for fine cabinetry and furniture making. Birch and maple are often used for wood flooring and for furniture. </li></ul><ul><li>Plywood : A widely used material, plywood is made by bonding together a number of layers. Veneer plywood is made of many thin layers, most often of fir. Veneer Wood can be cut into very thin slices (usually (‘/28-inch thick), making sheets that are somewhat flexible. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Because wood is available in boards or sheets of limited size, most applications for the material require the assembly of a number of separate pieces. The term joinery describes the great variety of wood joints that are used in making furniture, paneling doors, and manufacturing windows and other items of millwork . </li></ul><ul><li>Wood joints and other woodwork details have been developed over hundreds of years to deal with the following issues: </li></ul><ul><li>Shrinking and swelling. Changes in humidity cause wood to shrink and swell making it necessary for larger expanses of wood to be put together with some allowance for movement, as in rail-and-panel construction. </li></ul><ul><li>Warping. Turning and twisting out of shape is also largely con trolled in rail-and-panel construction, as thicker rails hold thinner panels flat. </li></ul><ul><li>End grain. The exposed surface where wood is cut across the grain is of unsatisfactory appearance and takes finishes poorly. Miter joints and special edge treatments are used to hide not only end grain but also the layering of plywood and core panels. </li></ul><ul><li>Glues. Some adhesives, particularly older types of glue, may not hold joints when stressed. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Many wood joints have an attractive appearance and can enhance the aesthetic quality of objects where they are used. Dovetails, mortise-and-tenon joints, and exposed dowel joints are among those that can be ornamental and suggestive of fine crafts manship. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Masonry </li></ul><ul><li>Masonry is the general term for a family of materials that played a major role in historic building and that continues in modern use. The term refers to construction with stone and manufactured materials such as brick, tile, concrete block, and gypsum block—even the mud brick used in some ancient and indigenous buildings. </li></ul><ul><li>Masonry materials offer excellent durability. The oldest surviving buildings structure are all of stone (for example, the pyramids of Egypt, and Stonehenge). </li></ul>
<ul><li>STONE </li></ul><ul><li>Stone may be in the rough form of rubble or fieldstone or cut from a quarry as ashlar. </li></ul><ul><li>When used for bearing- wall construction, stone is usually bonded; when used as a surface treatment, larger units of thin stone, such as flagstone or slate, may be joined in other patterns that do not imply bonding. The types of stone in wide use include granite; limestone, sandstone, and slate; and marble. </li></ul><ul><li>BRICK </li></ul><ul><li>Brick is a modular material made by firing special clays into units. Mortar is used to hold brick together to make up walls or surface treatments for walls of other materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Bricks are most often in shades of red or brown. Glazed brick can be made in a range of colors. Mortar joints may be white, gray, or toned in other colors. </li></ul>
<ul><li>CONCRETE BLOCK </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete block (also called cement block) is a manufactured masonry material popular for its strength and low cost. </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete blocks are usually made hollow to save material and reduce weight . </li></ul><ul><li>The common modular size is a nominal 8 by 8 by i6 inches. </li></ul><ul><li>PLASTER AND STUCCO </li></ul><ul><li>Plaster and stucco are prepared in a semi fluid state to be applied to a backing of brick, block, or lath of wood or metal. A common modern substitute for plaster is plasterboard or gypsum board (often called by the trademarked name Sheetrock . </li></ul>
<ul><li>TILE </li></ul><ul><li>Tile is made in many forms: ceramic tiles with glazed surfaces in varied colors and patterns; small mosaic tiles in many colors; larger, sturdy quarry tiles; and tiles made from the fired clay called terracotta </li></ul><ul><li>. Terra-cotta tile can be made with decorative sculptural forms, as well as in special shapes for various architectural uses. </li></ul><ul><li>CONCRETE </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete made up of cement, sand, and small stones mixed with water, it hardens into a stonelike solid. This is mass concrete, the material of road surfacing and of concrete block, a favorite modern masonry material . </li></ul><ul><li>Mass concrete, however, has little value as a major structural material because of its weakness in dealing with tensile stresses. concrete become a major modern structural material. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Metals </li></ul><ul><li>INTERIOR </li></ul><ul><li>In low buildings metal structural members may be visible elements in an interior. </li></ul><ul><li>Metals can be worked in many different ways to produce materials for additional fabrication or to make finished objects. </li></ul><ul><li>Rolling, stamping, casting, extruding, and machining are among the processes used in working with metals. Connections can be “mechanical,” using rivets, screws, nuts and bolts, or threaded elements, or they can be welded, by applying heat or electric power to bring about partial melting to fuse parts together. </li></ul><ul><li>Metal as selected by interior designers offers an impression of modernity linked to technological aspects of the modern world. </li></ul><ul><li>Metals in general interior use include steel, iron, aluminum, brass and bronze, and copper. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Glass </li></ul><ul><li>Although glass is most valued for its transparency, it can also be produced in opaque and mirror form. </li></ul><ul><li>Glass is most often used in windows, doors, and partitions where transparency is essential; it has also come into use as a primary material for buildings as in curtain walls structure (nonbearing exterior walls between columns or piers) . </li></ul><ul><li>The use of glass in interior design offers an intriguing set of possibilities for introducing barriers to movement and sound transmission while permitting passage of light along with or with Out vision. </li></ul><ul><li>Glass can also offer decorative possibilities through color and pattern. </li></ul>
These special types of glass include the following: • Laminated or safety glass. One or more layers of a plastic sheet are sandwiched between sheets of ordinary glass to create a material that resists the tendency of plain glass to shatter into sharp-edged shards. • Tempered glass. Glass is treated by heat processing to gain extra strength. Tempered glass is resistant to breakage and shatters into small, harmless pieces. It is a favored material for frame-less glass doors, shower doors, and similar applications. Tempered glass cannot be cut and must be factory produced in desired sizes and shapes. • Wire glass. Made with an embedded mesh of wire that holds a sheet of glass together even when breakage occurs, wire glass is particularly useful for its ability to resist shattering from fire heat. It is therefore a code requirement in locations where a fire barrier is needed. • Thermal glass. A number of glasses with special insulating properties are available. Some offer heat limitation by means of multiple layers with air space between, some feature resistance to heat transmission through coloring that blocks infrared radiation, and others block heat by means of semi- mirrored reflectivity.
• Suspended-particle-device (SPD) glass. Glass (and some plastics) can be made with a layer of suspended-particle-device (SPD) film to provide variable transparency. When an electrical volt age is applied, the film can be varied from clear to fully opaque. that adjust degree of transparency in response to ambient light. Such “smart window” glazing offers simple control of both light input and levels of privacy. Mirror Glass silvered on one side creates a reflective surface, or mirror. Partial mirroring makes one-way glass that, when lighting is appropriately balanced, permits vision in one direction but blocks it in the other. Decorative glass. Glass can come in a wide variety of textures and surface treatments that permit light passage but distort image transmission. Glass is also made in a full range of colors, clear or textured, suitable to many decorative uses, among them the well-known stained glass in which separate pieces of glass are joined with metal strips to generate patterns.
<ul><li>Plastics </li></ul><ul><li>Plastics all are synthetic materials made by chemical combination of various basic ingredients, most derived from petroleum. </li></ul><ul><li>A type of plastic may be known by several names—a generic or chemical name and one or more trade names given to it by manufacturers. </li></ul><ul><li>Acrylic is a generic name, Plexiglas and Lucite are trade names for acrylics. </li></ul><ul><li>Architects and interior designers must take into consideration that the synthetic elements used in the manufacture of plastics are subject to emission of pollutants (off-gassing) that can present health hazards along with unpleasant odors. </li></ul><ul><li>There are two main families of plastics : thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics and they differ in their basic qualities. </li></ul>
<ul><li>THERMOPLASTICS </li></ul><ul><li>Soft and moldable when heated, thermoplastics become stiff and solid when cooled. Thermoplastic objects are made by molding, rolling, or extruding the heated material. Familiar groups of thermoplastics include acrylics (transparent and clear, colored or opaque) , polystyrenes (much used for household items), and vinyls (common as floor tiles and as alternatives to leather in upholstery). </li></ul><ul><li>THERMOSETTING PLASTICS </li></ul><ul><li>Some plastics are made from a liquid resin and a second liquid called a catalyst that when combined and subjected to heat harden and be come solid. Once formed, objects of thermosetting plastic cannot be softened or melted. </li></ul><ul><li>Thermosetting plastics can be processed by rolling, molding, or foaming to make sheets, objects of complex forms, or light foam slabs of varied densities ranging from soft cushioning to firm board. </li></ul>
<ul><li>MATERIAL SELECTION </li></ul><ul><li>A short list of widely accepted materials will usually come to mind, making selection of the specific material for a particular purpose a matter of common usage, personal preference, or habit this often leads to unimaginative or cliché selections, to the neglect of less familiar possibilities that may offer real advantages, or, at worst, to downright mistakes when a chosen material fails to perform as desired. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of the most common complaints about interior projects relate to materials that fail in one way or another—that break, wear our, attract dirt, prove hard to clean and maintain, or in some other way create problems that could have been avoided. </li></ul><ul><li>EVALUATING MATERIALS </li></ul><ul><li>Using a mental (or actual) checklist in evaluating each choice. Materials are usually chosen to satisfy their primary role—a floor material to be practical to walk on; a window material to admit light; a door material to provide closure. </li></ul><ul><li>Problems are most likely to arise in connection with secondary criteria, which may be over looked if one focuses on primary function and appearance alone. An otherwise satisfactory floor material may become dangerously slippery when wet; an attractive wall surface may become marred easily and be hard to clean; carpet selected for its surface appearance and color may show dirt and wear. It is an important part of the interior designer’s work to be alert to such issues and to deal with them by learning all of the characteristics of the materials chosen. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The desired appearance may conflict with the material’s functional practicality or cost. The relative importance of various criteria will change with the in tended use. Fire safety may be of minor importance in a one-story residence but significant in a high-rise office or hotel. </li></ul><ul><li>Vandalism, a factor in public spaces in modern cities, rarely impinges on a private home or office. Acoustical qualities may be vital in a concert hail, significant in an office or home, but of little importance in a shopping center. </li></ul><ul><li>Durability can influence aesthetic values, as some materials wear or age in a way that is visually acceptable (wood, wool, natural leather) while other materials grow unattractive and shabby long before they actually wear out (some carpets of synthetic yarns). </li></ul><ul><li>The cost of materials must inevitably be considered in all material selection. </li></ul><ul><li>The use of rare woods and rich marbles are ways of showing the freedom with which money has been spent. In most situations, designers must have cost constantly in mind and must be prepared to check the price level of one material against that of another as decisions are being made. </li></ul><ul><li>When costs run over budget, the most common way of making adjustments is to make substitutions of materials. Cost of maintenance and the length of the service life of a material are also factors to consider. </li></ul>
<ul><li>MATERIALS IN THEIR SETTING </li></ul><ul><li>The concept of whether the material is genuine or an imitation. The impacts of climate, regional traditions, and location, can also be strong influences. </li></ul><ul><li>Rough white plaster walls, tile floors, and a wood-beamed ceiling suggest a Mediterranean or other semi-tropical location. Sliding screens, mats on the floor, and austerely simple forms and natural colors suggest Japan. A country cottage or farmhouse calls for material choices different from those customary for a town house or city apartment. </li></ul><ul><li>There are also traditional uses for materials in relation to certain spaces. Dark wood paneling, with its air of sober formality, has often been adopted for a conservative boardroom or law office or for the library in a rather formal home; for the same reasons it would seem out of place in a children’s playroom or a fast-food restaurant. </li></ul><ul><li>Glittering materials (brass, mirrors, crystal) suggest a casino, an opera house, or a shopping center; in a library, a hospital, or a country cottage they would seem inappropriate. While it is important to avoid cliché material choices, total disregard for widely accepted traditions of usage may lead to bizarre results. </li></ul>
<ul><li>MATERIALS IN RELATION TO THEIR USES </li></ul><ul><li>Each element, whether structural or nonstructural, is composed of one or more materials. the structural elements in a space are usually the result of architectural decisions over which the designer has little control. </li></ul><ul><li>Nevertheless, since elements can be modified through surface treatment, which can make drastic changes in appearance, the de signer has a wide range of choices: </li></ul><ul><li>Leave material exposed. </li></ul><ul><li>Treat exposed, natural materials. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Coat exposed materials </li></ul><ul><li>Completely cover over materials </li></ul>
<ul><li>Walls </li></ul><ul><li>LOAD-BEARING WALLS </li></ul><ul><li>Since load-bearing walls support floors and roofs, they must be of considerable structural strength. </li></ul><ul><li>Their material has usually been determined by the architectural design of a building. </li></ul><ul><li>The primary material, often covered and concealed by finish materials, can be an important interior element when left exposed. Common examples are the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Brick </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete block </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete </li></ul><ul><li>Stone </li></ul><ul><li>Wood </li></ul>
<ul><li>PARTITION WALLS </li></ul><ul><li>Partition walls (or simply, partitions) typically have an inner, hid den support structure and an outer surface that, in turn, may be covered with a surface finish. </li></ul><ul><li>The same combination of materials that makes up a partition is often used to line (and thus conceal) wall-bearing materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Wood Studs </li></ul><ul><li>Metal Studs </li></ul><ul><li>Gypsum Block </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete Block </li></ul><ul><li>Lath and Plaster </li></ul><ul><li>Drywall </li></ul><ul><li>Movable Partitions </li></ul><ul><li>Folding Partitions </li></ul><ul><li>Toilet Partitions </li></ul><ul><li>Glass </li></ul>
<ul><li>WALL FINISHES </li></ul><ul><li>Surface or finishing materials applied to bearing walls or partitions usually become important ingredients of any completed interior. </li></ul><ul><li>Paint </li></ul><ul><li>Wallpaper </li></ul><ul><li>Wood </li></ul><ul><li>Tile </li></ul><ul><li>Mirror </li></ul><ul><li>Metal </li></ul><ul><li>Plastic </li></ul><ul><li>Fabric </li></ul><ul><li>Stone </li></ul>
<ul><li>Doors </li></ul><ul><li>Walls require openings for access. </li></ul><ul><li>Doorways provide access to a space, and doors control access. </li></ul><ul><li>Doorframe and door, usually thought of as a unit, are often manufactured and sold together. </li></ul><ul><li>DOOR MATERIALS </li></ul><ul><li>Most doors are made of wood, metal, or glass. </li></ul><ul><li>Wood Doors may be of panel construction </li></ul><ul><li>Flush doors may be of solid (heavy) or hollow- core (lighter) construction. </li></ul><ul><li>Door surfaces may be of genuine wood veneer or the more durable plastic laminate. They may be finished with stain (leaving the natural look of wood) or paint. </li></ul><ul><li>Metal doors, usually of hollow steel construction with a solid fiber infill, are sturdy and have been rated for fire safety. Finish may be paint or plastic laminate. </li></ul><ul><li>Glass doors are usually framed in wood or metal, although frameless tempered glass doors are also widely used. </li></ul>
<ul><li>DOOR TYPES </li></ul><ul><li>Made of many appropriate material and such as double, swinging, sliding, French, louvered, accordion folding, revolving, and gates. </li></ul><ul><li>Double Doors </li></ul><ul><li>Swinging Doors </li></ul><ul><li>Sliding Doors </li></ul><ul><li>French Doors </li></ul><ul><li>Louvered (or Jalousie) Doors </li></ul><ul><li>Accordion Folding Doors </li></ul><ul><li>Revolving doors </li></ul><ul><li>Gates </li></ul>
<ul><li>Windows </li></ul><ul><li>- An important element in basic architectural design, they are also important for the interior that they serve. </li></ul><ul><li>- Windows are usually changed or replaced by designers as part of their design schemes. </li></ul><ul><li>- Window treatment and any addition to the window, such as shades, curtains, that can modify, both the appearance and the function of the actual window. </li></ul><ul><li>- Glass is obviously the Primary glazing or transparent window material </li></ul><ul><li>Window Types </li></ul><ul><li>They are classified according to how they are framed to hold glass. </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed glazing windows </li></ul><ul><li>Double-hung windows </li></ul><ul><li>Casement windows </li></ul><ul><li>Awing and projected windows </li></ul><ul><li>Jalousie Windows </li></ul><ul><li>Sliding Windows </li></ul>
<ul><li>WINDOW TREATMENT </li></ul><ul><li>Window treatment serves a variety of purposes, including the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Hiding or modification of unsatisfactory window shape, location, or detail design </li></ul><ul><li>improvement of bare or unfinished-looking window opening </li></ul><ul><li>Control of excessive light, sun, and glare </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction of desired color and texture </li></ul><ul><li>Screening of the blank nighttime “black-glass” effect of exposed windows </li></ul><ul><li>Limitation of heat gain from summer sun </li></ul><ul><li>Limitation of winter heat loss to cold glass surface </li></ul><ul><li>Screening of indifferent or unpleasant view </li></ul><ul><li>Screening for privacy of occupants </li></ul><ul><li>9. Improvement of bare or unfinished looking window opening </li></ul>
<ul><li>Most window treatments calls for adjustability to deal with night and day, summer and winter, and changing conditions of use. A wide variety of blinds, shutters, curtains, and drapery, techniques have been developed to deal with these problems. Some of the most useful include the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Roller Blinds (or Shades) </li></ul><ul><li>Roman and Austrian Blinds </li></ul><ul><li>Matchstick or Slat Blinds </li></ul><ul><li>Horizontal Venetian Blinds </li></ul><ul><li>Vertical Venetian Blinds </li></ul><ul><li>Accordion-Pleated Shades </li></ul><ul><li>Honeycomb Shades </li></ul><ul><li>Drapery </li></ul><ul><li>Curtains </li></ul><ul><li>Shutters </li></ul><ul><li>Shoji Screens </li></ul><ul><li>Metal Chain Drapery </li></ul>
Levelor vertical blinds they create blades of light and shadows at night
Multiple membranes trap dead air in these “honeycomb” shades, providing significant insulation from heat in the summer and cold in winter
<ul><li>Columns </li></ul><ul><li>Totally beating-wall structures, including most houses and small buildings, do not require columns. In large modern buildings with frames of iron, steel, or concrete, structural columns that carry the building’s weight often stand free in interior spaces. They can be hidden by partitioning, but the large open spaces of stores, offices, lofts, and similar large interiors often leave them exposed. </li></ul><ul><li>Columns in older buildings often make use of decorative motifs from historic architecture. Whether plain or decorative, columns invite various treatments, ranging from simply painting the exposed column to wrapping it with materials that covet the original, changing its form and providing it with a surface of any desired materials, textures, and colors. </li></ul><ul><li>Steel columns, most often tubular or of H-shaped cross section, may be exposed only in buildings where strict fire-protection rules do not apply Otherwise, they must be enclosed in insulating materials, which gives them a simple boxlike appearance similar to that of concrete columns. Wood columns (or posts) and brick piers also have simple rectangular or square shapes. Their surfaces may be left exposed or covered or wrapped as desired. Many of the techniques for wall treatment apply to columns as well, including paint, wallpaper, wood paneling, metal sheathing, and combinations of such treatments. Columns are sometimes covered with mirror to minimize their visible impact, although the resulting glitter may make the column appear more rather than less important. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Floors </li></ul><ul><li>Along with ceilings, floors represent the largest shares of area in an interior. Since a space’s users come in direct contact with floors, they are usually far more important than ceilings as major design elements. </li></ul><ul><li>Floors are ordinarily flat, but they may include level changes created by raising a false floor in some areas or by depressing floor areas as a part of basic construction. This has been an accepted way to provide a sense of separation between spaces and to introduce spatial variety for aesthetic reasons. </li></ul><ul><li>Changing the floor level can present problems, however. A dropped area will reduce the height of the same space in the floor below and is therefore usually practical only in new construction or in total renovation. </li></ul>
<ul><li>FLOOR MATERIALS </li></ul><ul><li>Most floors are composed of a basic structural material such as wood or concrete, which may be left exposed, treated, or totally covered with a special flooring material. Some heavy flooring materials, such as stone, brick, terrazzo, and ceramic tile, are suitable only to ground-level locations or over heavy subfloors, such as concrete. Lighter floor materials may be considered in almost any location, with selection determined by functional and aesthetic considerations. Widely used flooring materials include concrete, masonry materials (including terrazzo), wood, and tile. </li></ul><ul><li>Concrete </li></ul><ul><li>Masonry Materials </li></ul><ul><li>Terrazzo </li></ul><ul><li>Wood </li></ul><ul><li>Tile </li></ul><ul><li>FLOOR COVERINGS </li></ul><ul><li>Paint </li></ul><ul><li>Resilient Flooring </li></ul>
<ul><li>STEPS AND STAIRWAYS </li></ul><ul><li>Steps and stairways can be considered a special form of flooring, since they make use of many of the same materials and surface finish techniques. </li></ul><ul><li>Stairways may be constructed from wood, concrete, or steel, in accordance with the overall structure of the building in question. Steel stairs may have treads of cement or composition—material composed of various ingredients and often taking the place of more expensive or uncompounded material—and exposed surfaces can be covered and finished to suit the intended use. </li></ul><ul><li>Many steel stairs are factory-made and sup plied in prefabricated form for installation on site. Spiral stairs, a favorite for fitting a stair into a limited space, are also available in prefabricated form. </li></ul>
<ul><li>DESIGNING STAIRWAYS </li></ul><ul><li>Where new steps or stairs are to be constructed, it is necessary to observe the basic dimensional limitations that control the convenience and safety of all stairs. A step is made up of a riser (the vertical surface between stepping surfaces) and a tread (the horizontal step surface). The riser and tread dimensions together establish the slope of the stair, and, therefore, the ease and convenience of its use. </li></ul><ul><li>Having established the slope of a stair through tread and riser calculation, the width must be established and the overhead clearance worked out. One person using a stairway needs a width of at least 26”; a stairway permitting two users to pass needs at least 44”, although a wider dimension up to 68” is more comfortable. Stairways wider than this must be subdivided by railings so that every user has a rail to grip. Headroom calls for at least 84” of clearance. The length of a stairwell, or the floor opening through which a stair passes, is determined by the line of headroom as it passes through the structure of the floor above. </li></ul>
<ul><li>All stairways need railings. Stairways that are open at the side require some form of rails or banisters that prevent people from falling. Rail or baluster elements should be carefully spaced so that young children can neither slip through and fall nor catch their heads between elements. Long runs of more than 20 to 24 risers should be broken up into shorter runs with landings. Winders, the wedge-shaped treads used in curving stairs, have such a bad record in causing accidents that they are best avoided, especially in public spaces. Objects of breakable materials such as glass and mirror should not be placed close to stairs, and materials that can be slippery, in normal circumstances or when wet, should not be used on or near stairs. Nonslipnosings and tread materials can minimize the risk of slipping. </li></ul><ul><li>Building codes include many rules that affect stairway design. ‘Widths of stairs in public places, requirements for landings at intervals that avoid overlong runs, heights and placement of railings are all matters dealt with in many codes. </li></ul><ul><li>In addition to code requirements, designers should consider additional safety issues. A single step level change is notoriously dangerous, as are all short runs (a few steps) unless carefully marked, lighted, and provided with adequate railings. Barrier-free requirements demand that all stairs should be augmented by ramps or mechanical lifts that are wheelchair accessible and so available to people with physical problems that make stairs difficult. </li></ul>
<ul><li>CEILINGS </li></ul><ul><li>Inevitably, ceilings form an important aspect of all interiors, at least in terms of square footage. Many ceilings are simply blank, neutral areas, often, like the sky out-of-doors, providing a simple overhead for more complex elements at eye level and below. However, thought and design effort may make the ceiling a more active part of an interior. </li></ul><ul><li>A simple and basic issue in ceiling design involves the decision to keep a ceiling as a single plane or to introduce lowered areas (usually called soffits) in portions of a space to contrast with areas of full height. The term cove is often used for a curved transition from wall to ceiling or for a curved profile where a lowered ceiling makes a transition to a higher ceiling level. A cove is often formed in a pocketlike profile, providing a space where cove lighting strips can be concealed to form a source of indirect lighting. </li></ul><ul><li>Ceiling planes can also slope at an angle, as seen in many attic spaces and spaces with dormer windows. The term cathedral ceiling is a rather misleading designation for ceilings that are high and introduce sloping surfaces. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The ceiling plane establishes the height of a space and there fore its volumetric proportions. A maximum height is usually established by structure, but a lower ceiling, called hung or furred, can be introduced down to whatever level may be considered minimum headroom (8 feet 2 inches is a commonly accepted minimum, although heights as low as 7 feet 2 inches will nor create any physical problem). In setting ceiling height, it is often necessary to consider what is to be placed above the ceiling, since the space between ceiling and structure is commonly used to house ducts, wiring, and plumbing (including sprinkler pipes, when they are used); in addition, many architectural lighting fixtures are recessed up into the plenum, or cavity above the ceiling. Dimensional clearances must be sufficient to avoid any interference between these elements and any structural elements, such as beams and girders. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The visible ceiling surface may be smooth and blank, but it may also be studded with such functional elements as lighting fixtures, air-conditioning outlet louvers, sprinkler heads, and audio loudspeakers. It may also take on the functional demands for specific acoustical performance. Ceilings of open louvers, slats, or egg-crate create a visual overhead plane while permitting easy access to ducts, sprinklers, and other functional elements for economic or technical reasons. Another approach, which finds particular favor in interiors of High Tech character, is to expose all piping, ducts, and other technical elements, possibly painting them with strong colors to make them decorative features rather than offensive necessities to be hidden . </li></ul><ul><li>For purely visual reasons, a ceiling may be ornamented with peripheral moldings, one or more decorative rosettes, or even rich sculptural and painted decoration, as in many historic interiors. Structural elements such as beams may be exposed and, in turn, decorated. Coffered ceilings (with a wafflelike pattern of squares) and the varied and often complex patterns of vaulting, domes, and modern shell structures all form alternative kinds of ceilings. In spaces under the roof level of a building, skylights can be introduced into ceiling design for both practical and visual reasons. </li></ul>
CEILING MATERIALS A listing of widely used ceiling materials includes plaster, Sheetrock or wallboard, wood, acoustical ceiling materials, integrated ceiling systems, metal, and glass: Plaster Sheetrock or Wallboard Wood Acoustical Ceiling Materials Ceiling Systems Metal Ceilings Glass
<ul><li>Miscellaneous Elements </li></ul><ul><li>Of the surprising number of components in an interior, many may seem minor or incidental, but each calls for design attention in terms of material selection and specification. The following is a very condensed list of such elements with some notes on the material selection issues that they involve: </li></ul><ul><li>• Built-in elements. </li></ul><ul><li>• Fireplaces and heating stoves . </li></ul><ul><li>Trim </li></ul><ul><li>Hardware. </li></ul><ul><li>Signs and graphics </li></ul><ul><li>• Mechanical systems </li></ul>
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