My architectural design process explained
I divide my work into three phases – design, construction documentation, and construction supervision.
Most of the creative work takes place during the design phase, but it is important to watch for creative opportunities throughout. Here I would like to describe what we’ll accomplish through the design phase.
This process varies with each project but often follows these steps:
- Program interview – This crucial step gives me an understanding of your lifestyle and is one of the driving forces in a design; it helps create the difference between a home and a house.
- Research legal issues – site, local, and state requirements are laid out before investing in any design time.
- Budget discussions – at this time in a project it is possible to establish a budget. Looking at site improvements, square footage of construction, and design costs, preliminary numbers can be put in place.
This may be a fixed maximum amount and frequently is; or it may have some flexibility and depend on decisions you would like to make as the design progresses.
The image in your mind may or may not match the the costs you have in mind, and this is the time to start keeping the two on the same page.
Now the fun starts: bubble diagrams set up relationships among the spaces and their relative sizes; massing studies sculpt the shapes; and materials are explored.
Floor plans, elevations (views of the sides) and frequently a model are developed. The model may be a simple white assembly or a more
elaborate version with color, depending on what it takes to assure that you understand what is happening.
Decisions are made and the design is developed to the extent that the construction documents may begin. The budget is reviewed again and the estimates become more accurate as the building is more understood.
This creative process includes engineering, building technology, and an artistic eye among many other skills, but most importantly every building should have that spark, that inspiration which molds and holds the whole together.