A Few Things to Consider While Designing

Most of the following items can be inter-related and juxtaposed.  This is not intended to be a comprehensive list or listed in any priority.  It is a list of things to think about (and talk about with your designer) when you find yourself designing your next project.

A.)      Program/Use  

  1. What are you designing?
  2. For whom are you designing?
  3. Are there any important relationships between the various “program” spaces?
  4. What are the project constraints – cost, site, schedule, users, etc.?
  5. Is there a defining thought – a certain look, feel, sense of place; that needs to be defined?
  6. The “space” created for the program informs the Form & Aesthetics of the space as well as the Context where it resides.

B.)      Context/Site

  1. Where is It?
  2. Think: Location, Location, Location (like City vs Rural).
  3. Solar Orientation – Where does the sun rise and set? Which way is North?
  4. What are some the adjacent natural and manmade site features?
  5. Where do the winds come from, the shade, the sun, water elements/features, are there existing trees and/or vegetation that need to be considered.
  6. Utilities – How are basic needs met? (Think: water, plumbing, electricity, sanitary waste, domestic waste, and connectivity to outside world, i.e., internet and other telecommunication).

C.)      Form/Aesthetics

  1. Scale, Proportion, OrderThoughtfulness of scale.
  2. Think outside the plan, elevation, and sections – How does the space look/feel in perspective, the way one moves through the space?
  3. Think: When you enter a traditional Roman Church the entrance (narthex) is typically low making the entrance into the vaulted nave more dramatic.
  4. Materials (inside and outside). Local materials indigenous to the project site?
  5. Texture – The texture and “feel” can define the interior and exterior of a space.
  6. Color – How does color or lack of color define the space.  Is the color applied or is it part of the natural materials?
  7. Image – What are the defining elements of the design?  The façade?
  8. Structure – How will the space be defined?  What type of materials will be used? What type of structure will be used (Bearing Walls vs Columns, etc.).

D.)      Other Factors

  1. The Client – Ultimately (right or wrong) the clients basic needs need to be met (especially if there is a written contract).
  2. Societal Benefits (Questions like are we doing the right thing are important!!!)
  3. The Earth/Environment

For example:

  • How does the program, site/context and Form/Aesthetics impact the local and global environment?
  • How do the decisions made above impact the environment?
  • Transportation – labor and materials.
  • Is there a way to reduce the size of the “space” or “spaces” – Smaller footprints and volumes result in less energy use (Think: HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing services/systems).

Click here for some more ideas on design.

Sincerely,
@FrankCunhaIII

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2 Comments on “A Few Things to Consider While Designing”

  1. architecture 101 at it’s finest – thanks for the knowledge – now, if only my toilet weren’t in the middle of the ocean!


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