The Architectural design process is an established method utilized for the development of a building design from concept through final design. The design process is made up of several specific key phases that must be adhered to in order to achieve the optimal design solution for any given project scenario. In addition to the established design process careful attention to the natural environment, climatic conditions, solar orientation and sustainable and green strategies should be considered and evaluated. Every design endeavor no matter how diminutive will benefit from the application of a thoughtful and skillfully executed design process.
The programing phase is the portion of the design process when the architect works with the client to establish a list of needs and wants for the proposed project. Information gathered in this phase will include the definition of spaces, the area requirements of spaces, and the adjacency requirements of each space. The architect will assemble the gathered data to produce a program for the project. The program will act as the design criteria or "road-map" for development of the subsequent design phases. It is important to note that the project needs and wants should be limited to information vital to establish space and adjacency requirements. Once the functional criteria is known, the building form can begin to develop and take shape; remember "form follows function"
Sometimes called concept design, the schematic design phase employs the previously developed project program to further analyze the project objectives. The project needs established by the program are to be considered against site, budget and construction constraints. Adjustments to the program may be made at this time based upon the validation of the project needs against constraining factors. During the design development phase of the project many "schemes" or high level design solutions will be explored, each with an interpretation to address the needs of the program requirements. This phase of the process is very iterative, making use of a number of sketches and ideas to arrive at a final schematic resolution. During this phase, preliminary floor plans, and building massing may be developed to support the final schematic solution.
The design development phase furthers the design process through the development and refinement of the final Schematic solution. During this phase the Schematic design is expanded from a concept level deliverable into a "final design" level set of exhibits. The "final design" exhibits will act as the foundational basis of the project construction documents. During design development building systems will be decided upon, along with finalization of the building floor plan, roof design and exterior elevations. Building finishes and materials will be selected and structural systems may be developed to validate the architectural design.
Construction Documents are the final drawings and specifications developed for the construction of the project. The construction documents are based on the "final design" and serve to provide detailed specific information to a contractor to execute the intended building design. Construction documents will be utilized for City plan check, and bidding activities. This set of documents will be a coordinated set of information that may include contributions from consulting building systems, and civil engineers.
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