Starting an Architectural Project

Starting any architectural project can be a tedious task, be it your academic project or any other designing projects. Having a good concept can go a long way in a project. To develop a strong concept requires a good research about the project which will help you in deciding the parameters for the project. There are few things that one must study about before starting any architectural project. The research is broken down into steps and the steps are as follows:

  • Understanding the brief and making keynotes
  • Site study
  • Case study
  • Sketching out
  • Model making

Here are few steps that help me in starting a project:

  • Understanding the brief and making keynotes:

For every competition or any project there is a lengthy brief that talks about the project along with its specification and the requirements that must be met by the architect. While you are reading the brief for the first few times there are few things that highlight more of your attention than others. At this point it is very crucial to note down these points since these points will help you in understanding the brief more clearly and thoroughly. These key notes are going to help you in creating your own interpretation of the brief along with making your requirement list that must be met while designing the project.

One more role that the brief plays is that it might provoke some question that one must find its solution while he/she undergoes varies studies during the process in order to find the solution of that question.

May a times when you are working in a company or so, you are not handed down the brief for projects such as residential, commercial etc. At such instances it is important that you ask the right question’s and get a throw idea of the site, client’s requirement and other specification involving the projects. You can either create a basic list of pointers that you must keep in mind in order to get you started with any project

  • Site study:

After understanding the brief, it is really important to choose a site well keeping in mind the brief and its requirement. In case you are already given the site, it is important for you have a proper site study since that may help you in developing design parameters which will further help you while you are designing your project.

There are two ways of doing site study:

  1. On-site considerations
  2. Off-site considerations

On-site considerations are parameters to be kept in mind while going to the site. These are the parameters that you are going to study while you are on your site visit. These parameters are:

  1. Site shape, area, contours/levels, angle of slope, direction and dimension and other Bye laws:

The first thing that you must start with while doing your site study is your basic site understandings. Demarcating your site boundaries on map along with site dimensions. When you are done with this the you must start finding out your total area, Contours and angle of slope along with the direction of North.

One of the most important things that you must find out is your FAR, Ground coverage, site offsets or any other specific bye laws related to your area. This should be more that enough to get your started.

  1. Site access points:

This point helps you in understanding your connectivity to road i.e. is your site surrounded with road from all 4 side or is it surrounding with road on 2 side and other two property line or etc. this will help you in determining the possible access point for your site. But before you decide on the access point you must also see the NOISE MAP along with easy public and other transportation facilities.

  1. Vegetations:

Here one must know the different type of vegetation cover present on your site. If your site is heavily dense then you must see the types of vegetations and which area it is dense in.

  1. Features of site:

This involves some additional features involving in/around the site i.e. cannel passing near the site or river front development types.

  1. Context study:

This mainly involves the study of the land that is surrounding the land. This can also help you in developing your concept.

  1. Soil details such as type of soil, bearing capacity, water table etc.:

Soil type and its bearing capacity along with water table in necessary in order to determine the type of foundation that will be used in building.

  1. Possible building materials that can be taken from the site:

Off-site considerations are parameters which can be studied on after the site visit. These parameters are:

  1. Location of the site and surrounding buildings
  2. Surrounding road network, connectivity and traffic network
  3. Difference in level between site and surrounding
  4. The built form, scale and character or surrounding and nearby development
  5. Climate data and architectural interpretation
  6. Site constrains- bye laws, setbacks and safety norms
  • Case study:

This is done purely for research purpose and understanding of this project. There are two type of case study and they are:

Live case study and literature case study

In live case study you experience the spaces and functionality of the space in live. But in literature case study you study the space through someone else’s perspective and view.

Case study also gives you inspirations for your own project along with the understanding of do’s and don’t on the project. It also helps you understand someone else’s perspective on the perspective for the same project or something related to your own project.

By now you might have started to develop a perspective for you own project and can now begin with the designing step.

  • Sketching:

The key to a good concept is sketching out ideas. At any point you like something and feel you can use this element or concept in your project you should sketch it out and see. Such small sketches will help you developing your main concept. It’s not necessary that you need to have a fancy or really creative concepts. Few small parameters can also help you in developing your design. It depends from project to project.

Have a good study of projects of other architects and see how they have developed there concept and how that has helped them in implementing there ideas.

  • Model making:

You can also develop a block model or a massing model in sketch up and see if the idea that you have is workable or not. Or how it will look after it is implemented.

You can also make a small site model and see the placement of spaces on the site that can also help you in developing your concept. You concept can also depend on for special arrangement of the space or form development. Your concept can be as wild as you can imagine unless and until you are able to carry it forward in your design.

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