Posted: August 6th, 2015
PROGRAMMING AND CULTURE IN ARCHITECTURE WAY
Now comes the exciting part of your programming research project! You get to compile all of your data and start drawing meaningful design conclusions from everything you gather. Did you find that questionnaires revealed that a majority of users of your site felt a certain way about particular design elements? Did your interviews reveal that people working were satisfied with the way your site operates? Perhaps you noticed something in your environmental observation that indicates programming changes that could be made to your site. Now is your chance to make sense of all the data that you’ve gathered and start turning your research data into programming reality.
You will present a summary of each element of your research. This is a complete project, so be sure to include section headings and proper titling. Refine and summarize each segment of the project so that the main points come through clearly. You will also develop design solutions to the problems you have uncovered.
Start by compiling a list of the problems that users find with your site. You should have already begun this process while preparing for your archival research. Revisit the list and check your problems; do you now have more information about them? Have you discovered more problems? List some of the problems that you’ve noticed yourself. Consider the activities that happen on the site and the relationships that happen therein. How does physical design complement or challenge these ideas or situations? Generate a general concept of your site. Does it emphasize one use, theme, or concept over another?
Study this list of possible concepts that your site uses as focuses for its design. These concepts may not be explicit, but may come out of your analysis about how the space operates and is used. This list should help characterize the kinds of patterns you might find in data and in your site, as well as ideas around how your site is designed and how well it functions. Each of these concepts can be translated into a design move that could help facilitate the function of your sited culture. Analyze your data to see if any of these concepts match how your site actually functions.
Possible concepts: priority, hierarchy, character, density, service grouping, activity grouping, people grouping, territoriality, relationships, communications, neighbors, accessibility, separated flow, mixed flow, sequential flow, orientation, flexibility, tolerance, safety, security controls, energy conservation, environmental controls, time and cost schedule, and cost controls.
Source: Problem Seeking: An Architectural Programming Primer (Pena/Parshall)
Next, generate a user profile. This is more than just demographics or the names of the people who use your building. Rather, it is a general summary of all of the users of your building. Who are they? How old are they? How do they define themselves as a group? How do you define them? Try to explain as if you were describing the users of the site to someone who has never been to it. Make your summary of your user profile simple, direct, and explanatory. It need not be any longer than one page.
You should also mention anything else about the patterns of data that you find. Are problems dealt with? Are they so severe that they impair the functioning of your site? Or does your site perfectly accommodate use? If so, detail exactly how.
Next, propose a redesign for your site so that it better suits its users. For this portion of the project, you have carte blanche. This means that you have complete freedom and control over your proposed redesign. Budget should be no object. If your site is so terminally dysfunctional that you feel the need to completely start from scratch, you have the freedom to do so. However, it is probable that some elements of your site will still be useful, and you should focus on keeping as much as possible, if possible. Sometimes you may not want change much at all, but, in any case, justify any design decisions that you make based on your gathered evidence. For each design move you make, find the element in your data that supports it.
Also provide a square footage breakdown of your site. This is a list of spaces organized according to use, with square footage information included. During your archival work, you most likely found a map or plan of your site. Rely on that to generate more square footages. At this stage your measurements need not be precise; simply include them to the best of your estimation. You might want to color code your spaces in order to indicate particular use functions.
In addition, build at least one functional relationship diagram. This is a sketch that shows programmatic relationships between given spaces. Do certain things need to be next one another? Do they need to be separated? Look at how people actually use user space and how things are distributed. Use a sketch adjacency diagram to analyze this function. Consider the various models of diagram presented, and work out which best suit your site, or develop one of your own.
You will include a brief summary of each of your prior projects in the final. Do not include the entire original assignment, but rather distillations of their important elements.
When assembling your project, don’t think of it as simply a school project. Instead, imagine that you are putting together a proposal document for an actual redesign that you want to do. You have done all of the research work to determine your sited culture, and now you are making a pitch to show that that your research is correct and your program is the best solution to move forward.
For this project, as always, make sure that all of your spelling is correct, that your grammar is precise, and that your presentation is of the very highest possible quality. On the cover page include your name, the project name, the course name and number, the instructor name, and the date. Also include page numbers.
Make it good! This is your final presentation of all your hard work through this course. Show off a little and let the audience and your peers see what you can do! The reader should be able to perfectly understand your process through reading your presentation.
This is your final major project for the course, so put the time and effort into it that is due. You will have three modules to complete this assignment. An ungraded draft is due in the next module. The final draft will be due in the following module, along with a “presentation board” summary of your project.
site survey information: 1-2 pages; include map, location, images
overview of your research schedule and process: 1-2 pages (include your schedule)
summary of your behavior observation research: 2-3 pages, with images if necessary
summary of your physical traces research: 3-4 pages, with images
summary of your interview research: 3-4 pages, with excerpts and quotes as necessary
report of your questionnaire data and findings 2-3 pages, with charts as necessary
copy of your questionnaire: 1-2 pages
summary of your archival research: 3-5 pages with citations as necessary
user profile: 0.5 to 1 page
description of site concepts and site relationships
square footage breakdown and space use map (can be combined with floor plan of existing site)
at least one functional relationship diagram (existing relationships or preferred relationships)
summary description of problems found
summary description of design solutions to said problems
floor plan of existing site (can be combined with square footage breakdown)
floor plan of proposed changes
perspective drawing or rendering of proposed changes (in detail)
bibliography of all sources in MLA format
final product should be between 25-35 pages
For this project, you should not be recycling your old material, but rather editing and summarizing it to fit it into this project format. This is your chance to revisit your earlier work and make it make sense within the larger framework of a complete program. Papers that simply resubmit old work will not be accepted.
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