Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What is a design concept?

More often, when I interview a potential architectural apprentice for our firm, I asked them about their thesis topic and asked them, What was your design concept? Most often than not, the answer would connote the theme or style of the building.

The design "concept" for any proposed building is the central idea that is the driver for making architectural design decisions related to the project. As such, it is the architect who will formulate what he / she thinks is the most important design factor(s) for that particular project. While there are many possible such concepts that could be used in the design, enumerated below are a few that come to mind.
1. An idea for building form derived from (or mostly dictated by!) the proposed site.
2. The need to build in a phased manner could impact the layout and form, many times in combination of the above-mentioned site constraints or features.
3. An idea about how to lay out the major circulation paths through the building, for ease of way finding and efficiency of movement of staff, the public and materials.
4. The functional relationships and area requirements of the various departments and funcitons taken possibly in consideration together with all the above factors.
5. The climate of the location, or the way in which the building will be lit and ventilated, by artificial or natural means. If there are severe budget constraints, as in many developing countries, this factor could be a major determinant of building form.

6. Mostly, a combination of all these factors, given varying degrees of importance.

This notion of using a "concept", a central driving idea to determine the final shape of a building’s built form is necessary because it makes, more than for any other building type, the process manageable. Without the help of this yardstick along which any idea relating to the design can be measured, the designer would get lost in the complexity of the issues involved. 
 A design concept serves the purpose of speeding up the decision process, enabling the design of the project to be completed within the specified time frame, which is usually ASAP. This only serves to underline the importance of the choice of concept, which is a unique decision which needs to be made separately for each project, based on it's particular features. As architects, we suggest that clients be more patient and give us a little more time spent at project inception and our "half inch" in developing ideas as we endeavor other alternatives, thinking about this would be time well spent. 

Inside a building's built form, whether residential, institutional or commercial, reality rules. But its rough edges need to be rounded off by the designer's dreams. So allow us, as your architects, our half-inch, a little more rather than a little less occasionally.

Portfolio: Pfizer, Inc -CDU Virtual Library

We weren’t expecting that Pfizer Inc they would also be commissioning us also for another virtual library. Pfizer-CDU Virtual Library was also to be transferred to another location.

In keeping with the "going green" in mind and minimize costs our clients have also requested that we should recycle some of the materials from the previous installation, especially the built up stainless steel signages, the chairs,  glass and aluminum frames.

The lounge area was located near the entrance hall. The reading area is located in the rear part of the room to isolate from the public area of the library.

This was completed middle of 2009.

Portfolio: Pfizer-CIM Virtual Library

Once you've gotten a handful of client projects under your belt, you manage to forget just how difficult that first one really was!

Corporate accounts come as a surprise when you have just started an architectural firm. Our Pfizer account came in a form of a design bidding. Three firms were invited to do the Design and build contract.

We presented our proposal and with minor revisions, at the end of the day, we were commissioned for the Pfizer-CIM Virtual Library contract in the year 2004, as one of our first corporate projects.

Late 2008, we got a call from Pfizer Inc, informing us that Pfizer-CIM will be getting some upgrading and renovations. We were invited to do the Design and Build contract for the library. 

This was completed in the early 2009.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Cubic Residences

The challenge of small space living is to use what you have. Not just objects, but the space.

Lots of people live in a small home, a small room or just a small space for a reason. But no matter what reasons people may have for living in small spaces, compromises and organization is the key to make everything fit and not cramped.

Here is an example of designing and building for living small.  Just as small spaces can actually be harder to keep clean than larger spaces, they can also be harder to design because they require more clever attention to picky details.

This is also an example of being clever and conscientious while saving a lot, not only in construction, but on air conditioning, electrical bills, maintenance, furnishing and taxes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Portfolio: Villa Sebastiana

As a first disclaimer, a 'Mediterranean' style house is bound to be a mishmash of a number of different country's styles and customs - the Mediterranean is a large body of water. Several characteristics that apply across the board can be used in homes today
--Light Stucco Walls
--Blocky, simple massing, tending towards square proportions
--Tile roofs
--Interiors are largely open

Villa Sebastiana is a subdivision located in Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mould Yourself

A few years back, about 4 months before I graduated from college, I made a list of what my goals were within 3 years, 5 years, 10 years and so on. Just because I have finished college, it is not automatic that my learning experience has ended. It only means that I am embarking on a new adventure without expecting 100% ROI in six months.

Formative Years in Architecture
The first three years into the practice became a humbling experience as a person, as a professional. Finding your dream niche means finally having a profitable and fulfilling focus for your practice, where you are making a great living doing what you love.

Setting up Office
Teaming up with a partner that knows how you think and how you work may be one of the "turning-point" moment in a life of an architect.  Design and administrative work loads may be distributed equally. A very difficult situation an architect is faced with during the initial organization of an office is handling the business and accounting aspects of the architectural firm.  It would have been best if the basics in business methods and accounting principles was offered during college.  Despite the feeling that Architecture is an art and a science, it is also a business and must show a profit if the an architect expects to continue a practice.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Architecture and Coffee

One thing puts me back into my mainstream thought line instantly--- Coffee. We do our coffee breaks in the morning because it is the best time, before all hell breaks loose, to force ourselves out of routine and get the creative juices going.

We never had a plan other than to get people together to enjoy a cup of coffee and a conversation. Most often, it may lead to passionate discussions (a 15 minute meeting may extend to 2 hours of discussion) of design and "what ifs" and future of architecture as a craft. For an architectural firm, the coffee maker machine has been an integral part of the office so it is vital that it is kept running as smoothly and efficiently as possible also to make creative minds work together better.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How To Be A Good Client

Originally posted from http://sayhi-todesign.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-to-be-good-client.html