Drawing Floor Plans – what’s involved

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complicated plan image

Anyone can draw up a floor plan right? well….
Drawing a a floor plan is more complicated than most people realize.

Floor plans are a fun but small part of what I do as an architect and involve much more than sketching on graph paper. To create a floor plan, or I should say; while creating a floor plan I must think of much more than room sizes, traffic patterns and kitchen triangles. I must think of the whole site as a floor plan – how does the site relate and interact with the floor plan on functional, practical and aesthetic levels. I must think of the structure to enclose the plan as well as any connections to existing structures and how to simplify to reduce cost and complexity. Does the plan support or go counter to an expressed exterior visual goal? (house style) The plan may need to support flexible uses over the next few hundred years of the life of the building in terms of additions and adaptations. Complexity of plumbing, wiring and HVAC systems must be minimized. Different methods of construction need to be considered and may have an impact on how they affect the plan. Stairs and kitchens seem to be a flash point for many people because there are so many possibilities, options and price points. I need to think about light, both natural and artificial. I have to think about how the spaces will be used during many possible scenarios from holiday gatherings to quiet nights alone. I have to hear what clients are saying and what they are not saying. Often I have to balance and judicate between couples. Sometimes there are specific furniture needs. Sometimes there are photos from magazines or the web that provide inspiration. Often, clients bring plans they have been working on to help me see the issues that they are grappling with. Sometimes these serve as a starting point for conversation and other times clients are more rigid about sticking with what they have come up with so far.
Above all, I try to insert a level of grace and elegance which permeates all of the above issues and unless one has years of experience and gobs of talent is just about impossible to pull off successfully.

One Comment

  1. The more thought the architect puts into the design, the more successful the ultimate design will be. Enduring designs are simple yet flexible. The author brings a good point about the life of the structure, how it will change over time and how the design must allow the structure to age gracefully. This is a thought-provoking post.

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