The Design North Philosophy
Building design has numerous facets. Unlike in sculpture where 3-dimensional works of art are created to be pleasing to look at, and/or to enhance the spaces they occupy, building design is 3-dimensional art which as well as being pleasing to the eye, must also function efficiently to meet the specific needs of the client(s), work well both in internal layout and mechanical systems, and be realistic in design so as not to be excessively expensive. building design is one of the most practical forms of art.
There are two primary forces at play in the creation of building design:
A successful building must succeed in each of six areas:
1 - Location on the site
2 - Overall look / feel from the outside - aesthetics
3 - Functional and efficient floor plan
4 - Interior space
5 - Details
6 - Mechanical systems
1 Locating the building upon the site is the fundamental and most important first decision to be made. Every site is different and the position of the building will drive the whole design. Factors to be considered will include; what are the views? From where is the access? What is the suns path (daily and seasonally)? Where should the building sit to 'feel right' - to sit in harmony with the land? Water supply and sewage disposal must be considered.
2 As mentioned above, building design is a 3-dimentional art form and the building should please and welcome those approaching it whether it is the owner or a first time visitor, taken with their first impressions. It should also be clear to those approaching where to park and where to enter. The entrance is especially important. Ideally, as well as being welcoming, there should be a transition between the outside and inside by a covered area of some sort so that entering the house is not abrupt.
3 Floor plans need to meet the individual clients' needs and requirements to provide adequate space for all activities which flow together in an efficient manner without wasted space. Care must also be exercised not to 'over design', to ensure that the building will also fit the needs of future owners.
4 The 3-dimensional form of the exterior can be carried through to the interior which is then a continuation of the sculptural form. The quality of interior space is very important with the dynamic use of space and light. Views can be framed for maximum effect and strong connections can be made with the outdoors. Whilst important to create exciting space care must also be taken to ensure no problems occur such as low headroom etc.
5 German architect Mies van der Rohe stated that "God is in the details". How right he was - details are the areas that are seen close up and touched each day and play a strong part in a buildings overall success. Are the lights just where they should be? Is there enough room for the trim around the doors? Etc.
6 Smooth integration with the mechanical systems and the building design is vital. Easy to use, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems should be employed, coupled with efficient design in such areas as sensible location of windows and good insulation details. If the nicest looking building doesn't function well mechanically the building isn't successful.
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