How to design your dream home? (Part 3)

By Phil / On Jul.22.2015 / In / Width 0 Comments

In the last two posts we produced a series of sketches, that represented the type of thing we wanted to do, and we then plugged the sketch designs into the computer, initially developing simple block models. These were then manipulated, by a process of trial and error I have to say, to find a form that looked nice, or at least, not random. No grand concept lies behind any of them as they all conform to some basic stylistic typology, which we are trying to adhere to. This week we have pushed the process a little further, relating the model to the plan in a hopefully more legible way, and firming up on the massing of building shells, but without paying too much attention to the details. Lets again look at each design in turn.

Traditional - Looking on the web, a typical feature of traditional American homes seems to be the covered veranda, so I have developed the block sketch model to feature one, or two in this case, I’ve been rather over generous. I tried to make the rear elevation look organized by giving it some apparent symmetry with gable ends to each end of the two storey block. The single storey extension however is so surprisingly large it can contain rooms within the roof space. I have started to convert the block model into defining external wall thicknesses and roof thicknesses, as the model will be very useful as the design develops to visualize the spaces inside. The plan is not well developed, but the volumes inside can be conveniently divided up according the gables on the outside, creating a cellular structure, with a hallway down the middle, the layout can be much as you like it.

Mediterranean - The strong characteristics of this design are the square towers, and they leave a strong imprint on the plan. I don’t know whether the plan really is like a Mediterranean house, or is just my impression of one, but anyhow, I followed the steps as for the traditional design above, turning the block model into a model with wall, floor and roof depths all defined, and by drawing out the plan, I could check its buildability and ensure the spaces were going to be usable. With traditional building construction, I would generally limit spans to 6m or less, and avoid cantilevers where possible. Several of the towers I enlarged as the plan revealed they were too small to be useful. The window openings have yet to be determined, but as cloisters are characteristic of Mediterranean houses, I thought I better add one to the back. The openings have been formed with simple arches. I tried various curvatures and chose one that always gave adequate clearance below the roof line, without being too flat.

Contemporary – Not much has changed on this one as this design is incredibly simple. The front elevations were simply flipped over to form the back elevation, and the plan drawn out to determine an adequate depth for the building. I redefined the site boundary as the building is planned for a narrow lot, as we don’t have an actual site for this, it could be the building is the full width of the site.

Modern - The great advantage of domestic flat roof buildings is the opportunity to use the roof as outdoor space. I wanted to make the most of this as a feature, and chose to use an external staircases to enhance the elevations as well as providing alternative means of exit. To make more of the front elevation, I framed out the single storey extension, which I thought could possible form an external shading device for the single storey roof area. I looked at several options for the position of the external stairways. I don’t have any idea which will look better in advance, I simply draw it and then see whether I like it or not, so if like me, you don’t have a clue what will look best, draw as many things as you can think of and surely one of other option will appeal to you more. I wrestled with forming the rear elevation also, sometimes I can get away with reflecting the front elevation on the rear, but on this occasion it didn’t work, I think because the lighting was different. An advantage of designing with 3D computer models rather than traditional elevation drawings it the effect of light is clearly visible on the rendering, so use a 3D modelling program if you can. I settled on a largely symmetrical rear elevation with a cantilever running the full width, an elegant spiral stairway gives access to the roof of the single storey extension, and a section of horizontal louvers give the ground floor a strong horizontal element, which could be used to conceal a laundry space, or air conditioning plant, but I confess is more of an aesthetic device.

Deconstructivist – The form of this building was largely set in the last post, it’s basically a rectangular box with a tin roof. To refine it a little more, I made the shading canopies seamless with the box, adjusted the dormers (on the right side of roof), to optimise space and light inside the building, and recessed the roof glazing, to create deep shadows and and shade against solar insolation. The plan was further developed, settling on a spiral staircase in the entrance lobby, largely to avoid using valuable walls space, needed for the bedroom doors, as this building doesn’t have any corridors.

In future posts I will focus more on developing one or two of the designs in turn as its easier that juggling five simultaneously. Detail design also takes a fair bit longer than the concept design stage, so this should help with that too.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and see you in my next post.