Housing Scheme

Home Scheme, The Very First Step, Create a Program and Design Your Own Home with Bubble Diagrams. The first step in the process of designing a residential house, or any type of building, consists of starting with what we architects call "bubble diagrams". Bubble diagrams are a useful tool in the beginning stages of designing your own home because before you define the spaces( such as walls on the floor plan, windows locations, doors etc..), you need to understand the relationships between the spaces. That's why, architects begin the design with a bubble diagram.

Bubble Diagrams:

Bubble Diagrams

I recommend you do them with a pencil and paper rather than a computer. BD allows you to explore a number of different possibilities of tthe relationships between spaces ( spaces refers to things such as room, office or living room) very quickly without too much details yet. Look at the example bellow.

Now you need to understand something called "Program" in architecture. Programming is to write down everything you need to know about your house or site. For instance, how many rooms you want? What size? Do you want the master bedroom with a separate washroom? Do you you want an office and how big? Do you want a theater room? How big and where exactly? How many levels you want your house to be? Is there a view you want your living room to face to? Or a view you want to frame?

You need to understand that you are following a design process which is the most important when it comes to designing a house; therefore, in this design phase you don't need to know anything about materials or fixtures or other details yet. Before you start defining the spaces i.e, rooms, with walls on the floor plan, you need to understand the spatial relationships (relationships between each and every space) as you picture them in your mind. So,for now you need only to focus on spatial requirements. However, it's always a good idea to think a head, so knowing the size of furniture and Fireplaces, for example, helps in determining the size of spaces you need, and here comes the next step when drawing bubble diagrams; the size of each bubble and what it represents. The first thing you are going to do is to come up with a list of the following:

  1. How many rooms you want in your house
  2. Do you want an office?
  3. How many dinning rooms?
  4. how many kitchens
  5. How many bathrooms
  6. Other

Now determine the following:

  1. The size of each space i.e, the size of the masterroom, living room, kitchen, etc...
  2. Calculate the sub-total or the area total of your house.(The total area for each space combined.

Note: Depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the circulation between spaces when you calculate the total area of your house, you should allow between 15 and 25% added to the total area of the house. This extra space is for things such as elevators and walls. This is called the dead space; you might think that you have a handle on how big your house will be based on your calculation, but you might forget to include the dead space in your design. Making sure you have space for the dead space is crucial. As a general rule; there is always going to be at least 15% for walls and other circulation area.

After you have your areas totaled, the next step is to choose a scale such as 1/8" = 1'-0" for larger homes and 1/4" = 1'-0" for smaller homes, but don't worry much about the scale yet. However, You will want to keep your site considerations in mind as you are drawing your bubbles. Keeping these bubbles tight as we are going to be looking for ways to incorporate them into a more refined sketches and plans later.

Now back to bubbles, if you want your living room to be bigger than your masterbedroom, then make the bubble bigger (Larger bubbles mean larger space), that's for the size of space. Now you need to consider spatial relationship, so if you want your masterbedroom to have a separate bathroom, then drow a small bubble next to it and make it overlap with the edge of the masterbedroom to indicate that it will be accessible from the masterbedroom. Also, consider the location of the bathroom; for example, if you want your bathroom to have visual access to certain view make sure it's located where you would have this visual access, the same goes for the rest of spaces. For instance, where you want your kitchen to be in relationship to your livingroom space, next to it, or maybe at the other end? For spaces that are far away from each other, especially exterior spaces, you can let every bubble float free and draw connecting lines to indicate access and flow.

In short,planning the spaces with bubbles helps you get a better feel for the spaces you want and how they should relate. It is easier to do this with the abstract tool of a bubble rather that try to sit down and begin defining spaces with walls and the technical relationships between rooms, access and flow.

This fun exercise of drawing and arranging bubble to represent spaces will save you time and money as you will be able to see errors before you get to the formal space planning. Therefor, this is important as it is cheaper to make mistakes here than in more advance stages. This exercise will help you clarify how you want spaces to relate and flow and will be very helpful when floor plans are drawn. Unleash your imagination, there is nothing in architecture called wrong.

So in this lesson we leaned two things:

  1. How to make a list of rooms needed and figure out the approximate sizes desired.
  2. How to create a list of the relationship between a room/space to one another one and how it relates to the outside using bubble diagrams to show the spatial relationship of rooms and exterior views/siting.

Next step before we get to to the part where we start designing the house using a free 3DS home designing program is to refine a floor plan. We will start by the first floor layout then a second floor. Then, preliminary plans and exterior elevations,then we will start the process of material selections.