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c Essentials and Main Considerations (Part 1) As mentioned in the first lecture, the building should be designed as an organic whole, with its parts connected to each other in the most functional and rational way. It was also stated that prior to the formation of a final architectural project, there are several steps to be taken by the architect (that are called as Basic Essentials and Main Considerations in the syllabus), which are: 1. Function (or Need - the contact with the client) 2. Site and Context Analysis a. Size b. Topography c. Geological condition d. Climate e. Direction - Orientation f. Prevailing wind g. Location and views h. Circulation paths i. Facilities of water, electricity and sewer system j. The zoning and building regulations of the area (learned from the Municipalities) k. The natural (landscape) and cultural characteristics of the environment l. The buildings and structures in the environment (and used building materials) 3. Concept formation 4. Program 5. Organization scheme and bubble diagrams 6. Dimensioning (human factor, area and space requirements) 7. Structural system 8. Materials 9. Other factors: a. Illumination (Natural and Artificial) b. Sunlight control c. Air condition d. Acoustics 10. End Product: Architectural Project In this lecture, five of these steps will be explained, which are function, site and context analysis, concept formation, program, and organization scheme and bubble diagrams.

1. Function (or Need - the contact with the client) The first thing to do in the beginning of a project is obviously the contact with the client. Every project has its client or clients and the architects first job is to talk with that client to understand his/her needs well. The architect should talk with the client to learn his/her wishes and needs, the importance levels of these needs, the people (and their social positions) who will live in the building, and the financial potential of the client. The clients could be various: it could be an individual that wants to build a home for himself, a director of a factory, or a governmental agency that wants an annex building for its institution. According to those various functions, the needs of the clients may differentiate and become more complex. For example, the needs and functions that are required for a house is more or less familiar and easy, and are related with the private requirements of that person commissioning the house. Whereas the functions needed in a factory or a hospital are much more complex and high in number, and they are related to more technical and objective rules. For instance, in the design of a secondary school building, instead of the needs of the director of the school, the needs that arise from accepted pedagogical rules are valid and should be examined. Another important factor in this relationship is the financial potential of the client. An architect has to learn how much capital the client has for the building and plan his designs and select his materials accordingly. This determines the quality of the building and the limits of the program.

The functions that should be present in a house and their relationships are familiar and easy.

The functions that should be present in a hospital and their relationships are very complex and need technical information. 2. Site and Context Analysis Of all the listed steps above two of them are especially important, which are the site and the program. Because, in any kind of architectural design, whether it is a building, part of a town or a park, the architect has to be concerned with a given program and a site.1

Leupen et. al., Design and Analysis, o1o Publishers, Rotterdam, 1997, p. 17-19.

The site of an architectural project affects and determines very important characteristics about the project, such as its layout, orientation, approach, views, relationship with the environment, and materials (as they would differentiate according to the climate). The context on the other hand, includes the site but it is a larger concept than site. It refers to the physical, social and cultural environment that the building is built within. Architecture is a manifestation of the context. Buildings and settlements are the visible expression of the life patterns of their contexts. They are the result of social needs and they express and accommodate a variety of functions, such as economic, social, political, religious and cultural values. Architects try to design their buildings in accordance with the context that the building is in and try to integrate the building to that environment; or, as another way of approaching the context, they may choose to act in contrast to the environment. But whatever they do, they start by analyzing the context and the site. Every site is unique and architecture that is produced according to that site also becomes unique to its site.

A building site that is in a rural area should produce different results than a site in an urban area

Organic Islamic city structure

Organic Islamic city structure

Rational and gridal Western city The site is analyzed first in relation to its suitability with the functions that the building will have. If the site is not suitable for the function, the client could be warned. For example, if a residential unit is wanted by the client in a commercial area, the client should be warned that it would have its risks, such as security. Then the site is analyzed according to its: a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. Size Topography Geological condition Climate Direction - Orientation Prevailing wind Location and views Circulation paths Facilities of water, electricity and sewer system The zoning and building regulations of the area (learned from the Municipalities)

k. The natural (landscape) and cultural characteristics of the environment l. The buildings and structures in the environment (and used building materials) The characteristics to be analyzed about a site will be further explained below.

Site analysis example (Source:

Site analysis example (Source:


Site analysis example (Source:

Site analysis by figure-ground approach


a. Size: The project that is prepared according to the building program and building regulations, should fit within the dimensions of the site. Therefore the size of the site has the most important role in the development of the project. Moreover, the shape of the site, be it a very narrow rectangle or a square, is very influential in terms of the form of the building.

Size and shape of the site determines the site plan b. Topography: The topography of the site (which means the surface shapes and features) should be analyzed well in order to form the connection of the building with the surrounding roads and the site, to

determine buildings siting to the ground, to determine the excavation amount, and to plan the necessary retaining walls. The siting of the building according to the topography is especially important here, since it makes the building either an essential component of its site, or makes it an alienated piece of architectural work. Therefore, before designing the building a dimensional plan that shows the sites topography should be attained from the Municipality. c. Geological condition Knowing the geological condition of the site (the rock or earth type of the area) is also important for the development of the design. The geological condition influences the foundation of the building, the structural system, and therefore the design.

Topography: Buildings dialogue with and siting according to topography

Topography: Buildings siting according to topography d. Climate The climate is the most important factor that shapes the form and character of the building. Buildings of cold climates are naturally different from buildings in hot climates in terms of many respects, such as their plan types, building materials or their relationship with the outside. Buildings in cold climates generally have a compact, introverted type of planning with thick

walls, high pitched roofs (because of excessive snow and rain) and small openings, whereas buildings in hot and humid climates have open and extroverted type of planning, with large open terraces and large openings. e. Direction - Orientation Direction is very important in terms of buildings orientation, illumination and sun light intake. For example (in northern hemisphere), buildings that have large northern facades tend to be darker and colder inside, whereas buildings that have large southern facades are well illuminated and warmer. The western facades are protected from sun by sun shades, since the rays of sunlight that directly penetrate through the windows may be discomforting. For this reason, the direction can have a major influence on planning.

Climate shaping architecture: A timber framed house with open terraces designed for hot and humid climate, Suriname, Amazon (left), Traditional German houses are made according to the cold climate (right)

Climate shaping architecture: Traditional Harran houses are made according to the hot and arid climate of the region


Direction and Orientation: Sun direction can determine the orientation of the building f. Prevailing wind Prevailing wind exerts a force on buildings. This becomes important especially in high storied buildings. Moreover the prevailing wind can be used effectively for the cross ventilation of the buildings.

Prevailing wind direction can be very effective for natural ventilation


Orientation and wind direction affects planning g. Location and views The location can bring some social limitations on planning. For example if the area is largely a commercial one, to build a detached villa in that perimeter would be awkward and not pleasing for the residents. The views of the site also have major influence for the planning, for they can have a determinative effect on the orientation of the building.

Location and views: Grabbing the view - B2 house by Han Tmertekin in Bykhsn, anakkale (Aga Khan Award) h. Circulation paths The study of the circulation paths and the traffic situation is important for determining the approach and entrance to the building and for deciding where the main and service entrances would be. i. Facilities of water, electricity and sewer system

The study of the water, electricity and sewer systems is useful in many ways. It may assist in determining the service spaces that would be built in the basement floor, the discharge of waste water, if there would be a need for a water tank, a hydrophore, and a transformer station (or an electric generator) in the building.

Circulation and paths: Approach, entrance and path

Circulation and paths: Approach to Ronchamp Chapel (Le Corbusier)

j. The zoning and building regulations of the area (learned from the Municipalities) The zoning and building regulations (imar kurallar) of the area declares important rules about the design of buildings. The architects have to design their buildings accordingly in order to get

their projects approved from municipalities. These rules may determine the final building heights, floor numbers, the number of stories the buildings will have (like single storied, two storied or high rise), the relationship between buildings (like row houses, detached houses, semi-detached houses etc.), the front and back garden areas, roof slope angles, stair widths, skylight dimensions, etc. Besides these there are also earthquake regulations that the architects should design accordingly, which determine the construction conditions that the buildings will obey. k. The natural (landscape) and cultural characteristics of the environment The natural landscape of the area, such as the trees, the presence of a pond, a river etc. should be taken into account during the design of the building. Additionally, the cultural characteristics of the area, such as the living patterns or the life styles of the people in the area (that is related with many things such as religion or income level), should have an effect on how design is shaped. Additionally, some sites and contexts may have special historical, cultural or characteristic values that must be approached with great care. Such sites and their cultural meanings should be analyzed well and the design approach should be formed accordingly.

Zoning and building regulations determine if the buildings will be row houses, semidetached houses, or detached houses.

Zoning and building regulations can determine if the buildings will be row houses (left) or semidetached houses (right)


Building regulations can determine if the buildings will be detached houses (left) or high rise buildings (right)

Natural landscape should be respected: Gurel Summer House, Canakkale by Sedat Gurel (Aga Khan Award)

Cultural landscape should be respected (India and New York)

l. The buildings, structures and used building materials in the environment


The existing buildings in the area should also be taken into account. For example if there is a building or structure that has historical value near the site, optimum care should be given not to disturb it both visually and structurally. The buildings in the area should be observed in terms of their heights, usages and forms. Additionally, the building materials used in the area should be taken into account. If the area is dominated with stone houses and the local building material there is stone, building a reinforced concrete apartment building there, with no conceptual or visual connection with its surroundings, would spoil the harmony of the environment.

The buildings and structures in the environment: Safranbolu (left), Mardin (right) 3. Concept formation The designer's view of the task leads to a concept. A concept need say nothing about the form the design is to adopt. Above all it expresses the idea underlying a design and gives direction to design decisions, organizing them and excluding variants. There are wealth of forms a concept can take; it can be a diagram, an illustration or a text. A concept is a description of the project.2 A method of working with a concept is exemplified by the Expressionist architect Erich Mendelsohn. When designing the Einstein Tower in 1920 at Potsdam, he began with a visual concept, a rapid sketch illustrating how the observatory was to look. The power of this sketch lies less in its correct application of perspective than in the lines giving the primary expressive elements. 3 The sketch made by the Finnish architect Alvar Aalto for the Neue Yahr apartment building (1963) in Bremen is another excellent example. In what at first seem to be childish scribblings lies the essence of the design the dwellings fanning outward, and the resulting compact
2 3

Leupen et. al., Design and Analysis, o1o Publishers, Rotterdam, 1997, p. 13. Leupen et. al., Design and Analysis, o1o Publishers, Rotterdam, 1997, p. 13.


circulation space, and an undulating frontage line with units oriented for maximum exposure to sunlight. 4 Thus, developing a concept is the first step towards making a design. Between the abstract concept and the concrete design lies an entire process. This is a creative operation in which designers formulate a possible formal elaboration, test it against the requirements, and possibly reject the solution or adjust it for further testing. At every step the designer examines the possible consequences or subsequent steps and creates margins for solving whatever unforeseen problems may occur. At each step he or she also looks back to see whether the original concept still holds or requires modification. At a certain point in the process concepts crystallize into a final form for the design. 5

Concept sketch by Jorn Utzon

Concept sketch by Erich Mendelsohn, Einstein Tower, Potsdam, 1920.

Concept sketch by Alvar Aalto, Neue Vahr Apartment Building, Bremen, 1958-1962
4 5

Leupen et. al., Design and Analysis, o1o Publishers, Rotterdam, 1997, p. 13. Leupen et. al., Design and Analysis, o1o Publishers, Rotterdam, 1997, p. 16.


4. Program After the needs of the client and the characteristics of the site are detected, and a preliminary concept had been shaped, the architect prepares a detailed program that lists the needed functions and their required spaces. This is a demanding process that requires the careful detection of all the functions to be present in the building, the number and features of the people that will use the building, and the number of the required spatial units (such as rooms, auditoriums etc.). This program is prepared together with the client, or if the building has a complex function such as being a hospital, it is prepared by taking the advices and thoughts of the professionals who will use the building, such as doctors themselves. The use of various rooms and spaces, their relationships and the levels of importance of these relationships are learned from the professionals. It is also useful in this step to check and study the buildings with like functions for the development of the program.

A sample building program that lists the functions and areas of a house 5. Organization scheme and bubble diagrams Preliminary planning begins after these studies about the need, site, concept and program. Planning studies are conducted in accordance with the developed program. To be able to conduct the planning systematically and with ease, first of all the functions that have close and complementary relations are grouped together. For doing this, a diagram called the organization scheme or bubble diagram is used. In that diagram the functions are represented with boxes and their connections are shown by lines among them. For example in an organization scheme for a house, we can see that the lobby (hol) connects all the spaces to each other. We also can see that the units could be group in three categories as living, sleeping and service.


Bubble diagram for a house

Bubble diagram for a house


Bubble diagram for a house

Bubble diagram for a cultural center