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.
- What are you designing?
- For whom are you designing?
- Are there any important relationships between the various “program” spaces?
- What are the project constraints – cost, site, schedule, users, etc.?
- Is there a defining thought – a certain look, feel, sense of place; that needs to be defined?
- The “space” created for the program informs the Form & Aesthetics of the space as well as the Context where it resides.
- Where is It?
- Think: Location, Location, Location (like City vs Rural).
- Solar Orientation – Where does the sun rise and set? Which way is North?
- What are some the adjacent natural and manmade site features?
- 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.
- 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).
- Scale, Proportion, Order – Thoughtfulness of scale.
- Think outside the plan, elevation, and sections – How does the space look/feel in perspective, the way one moves through the space?
- Think: When you enter a traditional Roman Church the entrance (narthex) is typically low making the entrance into the vaulted nave more dramatic.
- Materials (inside and outside). Local materials indigenous to the project site?
- Texture – The texture and “feel” can define the interior and exterior of a space.
- Color – How does color or lack of color define the space. Is the color applied or is it part of the natural materials?
- Image – What are the defining elements of the design? The façade?
- 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
- The Client – Ultimately (right or wrong) the clients basic needs need to be met (especially if there is a written contract).
- Societal Benefits (Questions like are we doing the right thing are important!!!)
- The Earth/Environment
- 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.
Check out this great post on the Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry.