Floor Plan Design TUTORIAL

Hey, Eric here with 30 by 40 Design Workshop,
working on a few quick plans sketches for an upcoming client meeting and I thought I’d
walk you through my sketch design process as I work up an idea into a floor plan. For context, this project is an addition to
an existing residence, the existing living quarters will be all replaced as the foundation
is in really poor shape. We’ll be keeping a two-story portion over
here, to the north on the site, and giving it a bit of an exterior facelift. Now, that building contains the garage on
the lower level and a rather large master suite above and, importantly, it has a stair
which we have to maintain access to with our new addition. Now, before we can begin sketching the floor
plan we need to know a few things: we need to understand the local code and zoning restrictions,
the ones that govern our design, things like setbacks, the maximum building height, deed
restrictions, things like that. With the code checklist complete, we need
to understand the physical characteristics of the site: the Sun, the prevailing wind
direction, views, topography, adjacent buildings, access, utilities, vegetation all the existing
site conditions. And lastly, we have to work with our client
to determine the actual spaces, their rough sizes and we have to make sure that their
budget corresponds with what they’re actually hoping to accomplish. Now, I always make sure the budget is aligned
with the program before I start sketching. There’s no sense in designing something your
client can’t afford, right? Now, if you’d like to learn more about how
I do this, check the video in the cards above. With all this information in hand I start
by printing out the existing site plan and I do this so I can sketch over it. Now, this is just my process, there’s many
ways to do this, so don’t take this as being prescriptive at all. My favorite implements to have on hand when
I’m doing this are a sign pen, an ultra-fine point Sharpie, a red and black Pilot Precise
pen and I like the v7 version of that, my Muji sketchbook, and a roll of tracing paper. You can check the cards for all the links
to that stuff. Now, I also drag out some of my favorite monographs
and this technique comes from one of my all-time favorite film directors Werner Hertzog. Before he begins writing a script, he reads
poetry – like ancient poetry – things like: the Icelandic Edda, 9th century Chinese poems,
really heavy stuff. And he does this to fill his mind with the
highest caliber language possible. Then as he’s writing he plays Beethoven and
Wagner at an ear-piercing volume. So as he’s writing, he’s mindful to always
maintain that high quality; he’s conscious to never let his writing slip below the highest
of standards. And, so too, you can immerse yourself with
the work of other masters: Kahn, Corbusier, Ando, Zumthor; fill your head with these visuals
before you begin sketching. And then, for me, just add metal. Now, we’ll start with a diagram. The diagram is a simple representation of
what you’re trying to achieve and how your architecture is ordered. The most basic diagram you can draw, if you’re
short on ideas, is one that divides public and private. More complex diagrams might talk about: light,
movement, material, another ordering principle like a courtyard, or an idea about massing. I usually start diagramming in my sketchbook
and not using any particular scale. I’ll also grab a few physical materials to
have on hand to kind of set the building in real terms and to start thinking about how
it will actually feel to live there. Here our diagram has to address how we’re
going to connect the two structures, how we’ll locate the entry, and where the living spaces
will orient. Diagrams are quick and they’re inaccurate,
and I use them to describe general organization principles. Although there’s an infinite number of diagrams
that might work here let’s keep it simple, we’ll use a bar diagram, and then another
might be an l-shaped diagram, this will get us started. Now, I want to be clear about the process
here, it’s not important to locate doors and windows at this stage. We’re not after precision yet, we’re gonna
start with rough shapes only. We’ll allocate our public and private spaces
according to our diagram, we want to locate the entry and understand the basic circulation
patterns, how we’re gonna get from here to there and that means hallways and stairs. Sketching over the site plan is a good reminder
about the important site features that you need to consider: the Sun, views, adjacent
buildings, the approach, whatever you flagged as important on your site analysis. In our program sheet you’ll see I list pretty
exact sizes of spaces, but at this stage I sort of set this aside, I don’t take this
literally at all it’s more important that the design flow together rather than meet
these room sizes precisely. If you scale these out as exact sizes and
collage them together you’ll end up with a mess. This stage is searching for the larger guiding
principles of the design: think about light, think about how spaces relate to each other,
how one moves through space, what does it feel like to be in the place; to arrive to
it? What are the emotional aspects of the place
that you want to invoke in your client? Designing a floor plan is to establish order
from nothing. A grid is one of the most basic forms of order
and I typically employ one in the beginning, this keeps things sensible and it’s just a
hack that I use it may not work for you. Later I’ll choose where and how I want to
break from it as I develop the plans further. Now, grids don’t have to be square necessarily
here I’m using a 1 to 2 rectangular grid, 4 feet by 8 feet, which relates to common
building materials and I find its granular enough to be adaptable to many different residential
designs. But, you can design using a tartan grid, and
intersecting grids, triangular grids, whatever you choose. Now, starting at a really small scale helps
establish the big moves of your design, but the technical details will naturally be ignored. Now, what might work at a small scale like
1/16 of an inch equals a foot, may change when you enlarge it to 1/8 of an inch equals
a foot. I started by sketching designs at 1/16 inch
and quickly moved to 1/8 inch to test ideas with more specificity. Feel free to bounce back and forth between
BIM, CAD, SketchUp, whatever you’re using to technically draw the building. Sometimes I’ll do a sketch layout then quickly
block out the dimensions in CAD, overlay a grid and print it out to sketch over again. Working only in plan can be problematic, you
have to consider the three-dimensional qualities of space too, what architects call the section. Now, I don’t have my base material for the
model yet that’s all gonna arrive next week so I just started sketching over the plan
for now. But to guide me, I’ve built the garage massing
so I’m aware of just how large it is. This helps provide a frame of reference when
I’m designing the addition. When we’re thinking about massing for a home
you’ll want to have an idea about what program spaces will be located upstairs and what spaces
might have taller ceilings, these will have impact on the sectional qualities and of course
the massing of the residence. But, this can and will likely change, so start
by making a few assumptions and begin testing them. Now, don’t make the mistake of hard lining
your ideas too soon. Forcing yourself to know where every last
door and window is – in the beginning – will keep you from exploring a full range of options. Keeping it loose and sketchy, I think, allows
you to more freely make mistakes and it’s often these mistakes that lead to design breakthroughs. Architectural design is iterative, everything
you do builds on your previous work as you develop a deeper understanding of the issues
affecting the design. You’ll start rough, you’ll refine, retool,
rework. From the rough sign pen sketches, I roll out
another layer of trace and begin using a finer point pen. I use the ultra-fine point Sharpie to make
it more real. I start scaling things and making bathrooms
and cabinetry; adding in the detail and all the real-world sizes of things. And hopefully you’ll see, that the sketches
naturally start looking more like floor plans and less like diagrams. You’ll keep layering on the trace and developing
the successive iterations. So, that’s it for my diagrammatic floor plans. Next step is to clean up the sketches and
begin building the model in preparation for the client meeting. Now, if this has helped you in any way please
smash that like button below, it helps me grow the channel and to know I’m making the
kinds of videos you enjoy. Let me know in the comments: what are your
favorite pens for this kind of sketching? And hit that notification bell if you haven’t
already. We’ll see you again next time, cheers!


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