I am feeling better compared to last week. Not able to visualize the massing — confused by how various pitched roofs came together — I made a crude model to assist myself. And finally, I got on the right track. Big or small, the most important design rule is to pay attention to the scale and proportions of the space.
In plan, I was able to maximize the existing footprint, clean up, and add a new area addressing everything my client wanted. Capitalizing on the concept of indoor-outdoor lifestyle, programmatically I achieved the following:
- Two extra bedrooms; new master boasts a vaulted ceiling and a balcony facing the backyard with a new pool;
- Two extra bathrooms;
- A formal dining room with a 9-foot ceiling and a deck overlooking the backyard;
- A double-volume living room opening to the garden.
Planning is fun. I love carving out rooms that are as efficient as possible, making use of every square inch. It’s inspiring to create spaces that multi-task, transform, and surprise by feeling significantly larger than they actually are. I strongly believe that it has to do with paying attention to scale and proportions.
This project by Estúdio BRA Arquitetura is a good example of what I delight in and strive for. It shows that a designer has to think spatially, not everything can be solved in plan.
Case in point were two pesky constraints that I had trouble wrapping my head around. They had to be dealt with in section and elevation: a matter of an attic window that couldn’t be blocked and a puzzling problem of the low ceilings in the existing house.
These issues needed to be resolved spatially. I had to make sure that the new volumes of the proposed addition work with the existing. I kept trying to visualize the building as a whole, but it was not possible to foresee all of the conditions without building a model. Thus, I just started ripping into card stock paper. One option quickly morphed into another, and then another.
A crude mock-up turned out to be a savvy tool. It allowed me to address the scale and adjust proportions.
It really helped. If I squint, I could see it. It will work—not the way I thought originally — there’s a more elegant solution. Now, I can go back to the drawing board and test it, make it precise.
Next, I make another model. It’s still a “ghost” or a skeleton. Very conceptual. But it’s much more tangible. I am confident that the scale is right. What do you think?