Lawrence Technological University (Jason)



Sep '06 - Aug '08

  • anchor

    Movin' On Up

    By Chili Davis
    Sep 27, '06 9:45 AM EST

    In our latest assignment, we were given one studio session to design a loft floorplan that we would like to live in. I came up with three variations of my plan. The first is an open loft style apartment, found in many of the new lofts going up in this area. The second is a traditional apartment style plan, with walls and doorways dividing the different spaces, and the bedrooms off of a long hall. The third variaton is a 2-story plan, with a 2 story great room and the master suite filling the entire second level. I thought it would be important to include outdoor space, something that recent loft developments have provided too little of, so I included a 50 ft. terrace in each plan. The one problem I ran into was, when designing an open plan, how do you get the bathroom away from the people? There is no hall to stick it at the end of, so you're left with a peek into the bathroom from the couch, which is something most would deem undesireable. Also, when designing a "loft," are closets needed? Do we assume the tenants will find a more practical way of storing clothing? Also, how little privacy is really acceptable? Should all of your guests be able to walk into your bedroom from the great room? Or do even open floor plans need some sence of boundary? Hopefully through the course of the semester I will find answers to these questions and be able to intellegently apply them to my final design.

    The Open Plan

    The Closed Plan

    2-Story Lower

    2-Story Upper

    Floor Layout


    • first comment... the "open plan" doesn't really seem that open to me... it appears that there are still walls separating the bedrooms from the living spaces, etc...

      second comment... if you want to delineate spaces in a true open floor plan (i.e. little to no walls)... try thinking more in section than plan... raise/lower the floor and/or ceiling... you could also explore sliding panels or curtains that can "close off" the more private spaces from the public ones...

      Sep 27, 06 10:27 am
      Chili Davis

      RE: first comment... While I understand how a typical "open plan" works, it is not a layout that I would choose for myself, hence the separation of public and private space. I guess the only real "openness" of this plan takes place in the kitchen/dining/living area. Maybe this plan is based more on my experience and environment and less on a definitive open layout. Maybe I was being slightly closed-minded when considering these spaces.

      RE: second comment... Changing volumes and movable partitian walls are both great ideas. If I had explored a more traditional "loft" or "stidio" plan they would have worked well to define spaces. Perhaps because of my upbringing, having never lived in any space without pysical boundaries and walls and doors, these ideas don't come as easily to me as the idea of a room having four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. While this project was a one day assignment, it appears there is a call for more work/research from myself, perhaps in my own time, to reap all of the benefits that this project offers.

      Architphil - I appreciate your comments. It is always helpful to get anothers take on a project to see something you may have easily overlooked. Hopefully, if I had spent more than a few hours on these designs, these are views that I wouldn't have overlooked. Thanks again.

      Sep 27, 06 10:45 am

      always glad to help... my guess is that these early exercises will inform a larger studio project later in the semester... so i'm sure that you will have the opportunity to push the ideas further... i guess that my advice would be to push the boundaries... if you're going to do an open floor plan, make it without any walls and really explore other methods of defining spaces... volume, material, light, shadow, temperature, etc. can all be used to define spaces without physical boundaries... studio is really about exploring ideas... don't be afraid to push the boundaries of your project brief...

      Sep 27, 06 10:56 am
      vado retro

      if a "loft" has no interior walls, there really ain't no reason to do it as a design project. just find a raw space somewheres. basically you are building out an apartment from an existing space, which is fine by me. it isn't a very interesting design problem on the face of it. to be overly concerned about closets is the mundane crapola of the every day profession.
      of course, you could make a argument in your design about privacy, psychology, personal space by twisting the idea of the loft. your questions about bathrooms and closets could be explored on a different less practical manner. the truth is that in housing, these concerns do override the more philosophical aspects of architecture, you may look at the hierarchy of storage in a home. or privacy. what if the bathroom is center stage. what if the idea of the bath was explored as the central focus of the design ie wrights idea of the hearth. etc...what if you centered on three domestic activities and pumped them up conceptually. you'll be doing plenty of mundane duties like figuring out the distance from the kitchen counter to the island etc. so i say live a little. think outside the "loft"

      Sep 27, 06 10:59 am

      like vado said, issues of closets and such are mundane details that aren't necessarily that important for a studio project... however, you might pick up on some of those mundane details and push them to a philosophical/conceptual take on dwelling...

      for example, take a look at N Architects window-box-wall project and how they deal with the mundane storage issues

      or lewis.tsurumaki.lewis deal with ideas of openness vs. privacy in their upside house project

      Sep 27, 06 11:21 am

      nice charette. indeed, architphil has a point: by jumping into section, you'll have stairs to define spaces and utility cores, and you can terrace the roof, if there is one. And note the proximity and connection of the closets you've used as thoroghfares to the bedroom: poop smell travels and gets into clothing.

      vado offered sage advice instead of fucking with you. Congrats.

      Sep 27, 06 11:23 am
      Chili Davis

      I appreciate all the comments, but what I do appreciate the most is "poop smell." That made me laugh out loud just now.

      Sep 27, 06 11:28 am
      vado retro

      now that i think about it if you did want to get into real detail you could take a jewelbox approach and design in your raw space a unit or two that could somehow encompass all domestic functions in the loft.

      Sep 27, 06 11:42 am

      I agree with the great advice preceding me.

      Here's a practical next step, because you need to get your mind to think about this in a way it isn't used to:

      1) first of all, go look at a few projects that have played with volume in interesting ways. Two jumped to my mind--Dwell did a profile on an extremely narrow house in Japan a couple months ago, and there's this house with a totally open plan where the bathroom, bedroom, etc. fold into and out of the floor plan--pretty cool stuff. I'll try to track down links in a minute.

      2) for the next full day of sketching, do not allow yourself to draw a SINGLE plan. DO NOT DRAW IN PLAN AT ALL FOR ONE COMPLETE DAY. Every time you think about your project, think about how it feels like to STAND in it and LOOK STRAIGHT AHEAD. How are you experiencing that space? What do you see and feel around you? What do you hear? As you walk through it, are you walking up and down, or side to side? Are you going in and out of things? Is it light, or is it dark? Are there walls? Or are there screens? Do the walls glow? Do the screens move? Are there curtains? What is it like inside?

      When you start mulling these things over, all kinds of ideas will start to jump at you--first slowly, then quickly. Try to sketch them all out, even in totally crappy sketches, in sections or perspectives or little details with notes like "colored pink" or "rough texture". Making yourself think like this will help you attack the larger questions vado poses--what is the importance of the bathroom? What is the essence of the space?

      There's not a lot to work with conceptually without a deeper project brief but you can always make something at least playful and interesting. :)

      Go for it! Good luck!!!

      Sep 27, 06 11:43 am
      Chili Davis

      Thanks myriam, and I do infact have that issue of Dwell floating around somewhere. I think it was in the issue that focused on a number of homes all in spaces with very small square footages. You all couldn't fathom how helpful your advice may be in the weeks and months to come. Viva la Archinect!

      Sep 27, 06 11:46 am
      vado retro

      check out some neil denari from zee 80's...

      Sep 27, 06 11:52 am

      to add to the foregoing:

      -forget about the standards drafting symbols for a bit.
      -don't draw door swings.
      -forget 'doors' and 'windows' and think 'openings'.
      -which then suggests things that are closed.
      -openings are not necessarily 2'-10" x 6'-8" but can be tiny or huge.
      -why do you need those little wing walls that you hang your door symbol on?
      -forget 'closet' and think abt places to store things of diff types.
      -forget the cabinets and island and think washing, cooking, cooling.
      -forget corner shower, toilet, lavatory (as symbols in your drwg) and think place to wash, place to poop.

      what would be different if you had none of those drafted symbols?!

      Sep 27, 06 12:28 pm
      threshold and aperture vs door and window
      Sep 27, 06 1:02 pm
      brian buchalski

      forget room names altogether and think in terms of verbs, e.g.

      ...sleeping pissing brushing dressing eating leaving returning eating undressing fucking sleeping pissing brushing eating sleeping pissing brushing dressing eating leaving returning eating undressing fucking sleeping pissing brushing eating sleeping pissing brushing dressing eating leaving returning eating undressing fucking sleeping pissing brushing eating sleeping pissing brushing dressing eating leaving returning eating undressing fucking sleeping pissing brushing eating sleeping pissing brushing dressing eating leaving returning eating undressing fucking sleeping pissing brushing eating sleeping pissing brushing dressing eating leaving returning eating undressing fucking sleeping pissing brushing eating...

      Sep 27, 06 1:22 pm


      Sep 27, 06 1:28 pm
      vado retro

      nice schedule puddles...

      Sep 27, 06 3:25 pm
      Ms Beary

      honestly, how boring!

      stop drafting and start designing. Too damn stiff!

      good post steven.

      Sep 27, 06 5:37 pm
      vado retro

      actually a run led board of puddles text would be quite cool!

      Sep 27, 06 6:33 pm
      Luis Fraguada
      Not the solution by any means, but shows an interesting way to deal with space issues . . . kinda McHousing though (referring to the link). I guess one studio session is not that much time, but if you had time for three variations, well . . .
      Sep 27, 06 6:44 pm

      instead of jumping right into plan, think about how you will interect with this space. do a diagram of your own house and how often you use certain spaces. make a list of activities like puddles said and then order them by importance, by public or private functions. don't think of how the furniture is arranged, think of how the walls are arranged to later dictate where the furniture where go. don't even think of walls. think of volumes.
      and there is more to life than 90 degrees

      Sep 27, 06 7:08 pm

      Block this user

      Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

    • Back to Entry List...
  • ×Search in:

Affiliated with:

Authored by:

  • Chili Davis

Other blogs affiliated with Lawrence Technological University:

Recent Entries