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Today people are raising many concerns over the extensive direct impacts of industrialization on the environment, for instance the building and construction directions, materials and designs. The resources in question include the energy, raw materials, water and even the waste materials.
The common unique challenge faced by the building experts, designers or owners include the need to meet building requirements and regulations such as accessibility, security, health and productivity. The most important need is for the building to be environmental friendly.
At present, the economical growth is a great challenge to sustainable design but the approach used must be supportive to the environment by ensuring conservation. People will want to optimize a balance on benefits of expenditure, ecological, communal as well as human benefits while still meet the intended mission regarding proper infrastructure or facility mainly concerning comfort, productivity and safety.
Design is planning or organizing in the aim of enhancing the look. According to the U.S. Department to Energy with reference to housing characteristics (1995), the field of design can be categorized into two: residential and commercial.
The residential are places or locations were the home setting has a kitchen, bathroom, customized home appearance designs and, home offices. The residential designs are an extension of the formal personalities therefore the designer needs to satisfy the owner’s choice or wish. On the other hand, the commercial designs are concern with the commercial or business related spaces.
This field is wider or broader and unique depending on the type of production/service delivery or the location for instance; there are different designs for government related projects, schools, hospitals, stations, libraries, courts, waiting rooms and, museums among others U.S. Department to Energy, (1998).
People will have a general consideration of the commercial design as offices but generally, the commercial design has unique features such as the need to enhance working space and a productively appealing work environment. In a close link to Veitch (1995), the shopping malls, boutiques, and various other trade stores have exceptional commercial designs that encompass reality, interest and acceptance from the owners or users.
On comparison, the commercial and residential designs are both facing the challenge of spaces inter-twined to business shells and this is an ineffectual blow to development or creativity. On contrast, the residential design should solve a problem, such as a person who lives in a very small area and wish to utilize the little space to the maximum.
The residential designers are of great help in assisting such situation of space problems. The space planning procedures may involve the surface/floor plans proceeding to the upper space. During the residential designing procedures besides the space planning, many major factors need high considerations such as the placement of the walls, code requirements and, selection of materials. This is in the aim of offering the best visual presentation to the client.
The commercial design standards are unique since the intention is not to emulate the design of neighbouring designs but to replicate the partial plan of the existing buildings in terms of the open space for car parks and the pedestrian paths. The designs have to cater for the future needs besides complying with the standards (McDonough, 2002).
The residents’ apartments require properly balanced designs with a strong implication to the stability, strength and permanence. Symmetrical design calls for the positioning of like shapes across similar positions on either side of a point. Both the symmetrical and asymmetrical designs work well in achieving balance especially for the furniture within a residential design.
There is also the need for placing emphasis on the strategic points using colour, size differences, repetition, textural effects or patterns. The client’s likes or dislikes determines the kind of implementation to consider for the residential designs.
The layout of a residential building has a basis on the understanding of the neighbourhood homesteads (Veitch, 1995). This entails the immediate context or the adjacent natural features. There is need to also analyze the relation between the building and the visual characteristics or scale.
Mainly, one should critically consider the scale of adjacent housing units and the natural features in the near vicinity. Buildings need to retain as much of the natural characteristics as possible. The building has to blend with the site. Various drainage features cover the locations but the less developed features include gullies, ditches and swales.
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These features require protection during the planning process to ensure erosion, salting and pollution does not affect them. The proximity to the open space also defines the neighbourhood, with special consideration to characteristics such as transitions and buffering. The orientation and design of new structures ought to complement other existing structures.
Privacy should not be violated, for instance on the placement of the windows, balconies and decks. The floor plan should also not compromise future privacy conflicts or expansion plans. Ocean and hilly scenes add value to the building and these scenarios are unprotected by the housing regulations, therefore it is vital for the plan to cater for the topographical features especially for the neighbours.
The layout for the residential buildings is tricky considering that some homes especially the older ones vary in style, size and quality. According to Veitch (1995), “The architectural elements of a house can affect its apparent mass, architectural character, and the visual quality of the neighbourhood.”
Efforts for a perfect blend entail considering the elements of designs such as mass, shape, architectural style, the roof designs, finishing material quality or colour, scale and facades. The harmony caters for the relationship with the existing topographies. The structure ought to follow the existing contours of the land for instance shaping the bulky buildings to harmonize the buildings contours.
The scale refers to the relationship to other neighbouring homesteads. Common residential buildings today are two-story because limited space means the other option for increasing the size is by adding a second story. The challenge encountered in this scenario involves the comparison to neighbouring buildings.
In such a case, the layout should create a balance by placing the entire block on the first story, but should be located to the centre away from the propriety lines. Lowering the eave contour of the roof can equally reduce the mass appearance and enhance compatibility with the neighbouring houses.
The wall design determines the architectural character of the home thus the need to consider the gap between buildings. Other simple but challenging factors one may need to consider include during design include the styles, such as roofing, landscaping, fencing styles, lighting, paving, noise.
There is equally enhanced indoor quality of the environment for the user whereby, production or comfort is achievable. Sustainable building ought to utilize natural lighting due to the appropriate ventilations and excellent means of controlling moisture. Such structures have ways of avoiding use of materials with emissions and appraisals for materials that are able to mitigate “chemical, biological or radiological attacks.” (McDonough and Braungart, 2002)
Good designs reduce on the life cycle of buildings or renovation costs. In “Cradle to Cradle,” (2002), McDonough and Braungart argument is that, the issue of having opportunistic designs comes about as a result of the existing conflicts between manufacturing and the environment conservation measures.
McDonough, W. & Braungart, M. (2002). Cradle to Cradle: Remarking the Way we Make Things. (First Ed). New York, NY: North Point Press Publishers.
US Department of Energy, 1998, Energy Information Administration, Commercial Building Characteristics 1995, Washington DC: US GPO.
US Department of Energy, 1995, Energy Information Administration, Housing Characteristics 1993, DOE/EIA-0314(93), Washington DC: US GPO.
Veitch, R. (1995). Environmental psychology. New Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.