The job of an Architect is a multi-faceted role. The core of what we do is design work for our clients (you)! Design is a fairly nebulous umbrella covering a range of phases that, when put together, add up to a complete architecture project. We will lay out what each phase consists of through a series of posts, including the construction phase, so you may gain a greater understanding of what to expect when you renovate or build your new home.
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Architectural Programming: The planning, learning, and initial thoughts that identify the scope of work to be designed.
The scope of work to be designed should not be confused with the scope of work to be constructed.
The scope of work to be designed is an input for the scope of work to be constructed, but the initial program will often be changed in meaningful ways during the architectural design process as ideas are vetted out and designs are tested. Sometimes the architect and client find opportunities to add to the design scope of work that were not clear or thought of during the first draft of the building program.
Note: Here, building program is used synonymously with design scope of work and these terms are very interchangeable with one another – your architect may use one, the other, or both as you discuss your needs and wants. In my studio I typically use building program in relation to the design phases, and scope of work to define the construction activities and work the general contractor is responsible for executing.
The building program is the necessary kick-starter for the whole design process. Without a thought-out program it is unlikely that the first designs presented to the client will be in the right ballpark. After all, if you came to me and asked me to design your house and you have no program to start from, how would I know how to respond to things like how many bedrooms you need or what size garage is appropriate? When I have a good program to follow I can interpret your needs and wants much more accurately, and I can ask better questions as get started. Ultimately, the design will be much more concise the first time when we have a well laid-out building program.
You (my clients) may see few drawings or sketches during programming; what we will likely discuss are written things that may contain mixes of rooms and spaces, room sizes, and notes about what needs to go where etc. We may draw bubble diagrams to show how rooms need to be adjacent to one another so you can take advantage of a great view outside, for example. I still consider this programming although it is also the beginnings of schematic design. More on that in the next post in this series. With program in hand we can launch into design from an informed basis – at Fifth Dimension Design we aim to know a lot about you and how you want to live so our initial designs are on track to giving you a perfect place to live.
Next phase: Schematic Design