FORM COMPOSITION PROCESS

In relating the new design forms to the functional diagram, the designer does not literally trace the diagram’s bubbles. For instance, the distance X between lines A and B has been repeated away from the house to establish the location of lines C and D. Relationship of Form Composition to Existing Structures With few exceptions, almost all residential site designs are developed in association with either existing or

Figure 10-68
Outside walls and corners are of primary importance in form composition. The 90-degree or 45-degree grid system can be used as the basis for an arc and tangent theme. Following this, the diagonal form composition theme was drawn in response to the grid system. The first attempt at this will no doubt be rather rough, with a number of flaws. When there is not enough room for an arc to meet at a 90-degree angle (left of the driveway), then the connection should be greater or equal to a 45-degree angle. Figure 10-74
A grid system has limited use in developing circular or curvilinear design themes. To begin the process of form composition, the designer starts with a functional diagram. Using the functional diagram and lines of force as bases, the designer next be­gins to convert the outlines of the bubbles in the diagram to specific edges using one of the design themes. Figure 10-73
An example of a 45-degree diagonal design theme based on the underlying diagonal grid system. The lines of primary importance have been drawn darker for emphasis. A form com­position study can be prepared on the tracing paper (1) in coordination with the lines of force and grid system beneath, and (2) in relation to the functional diagram (ex­plained in the next section). The lines of force and grid system have limited use for the circular and curvilinear design themes (Figure 10—74). An example of a form composition study that has been

Figure 10-71
Lines of force are extended into the site away from prominent points of the house. A color pen or pencil is suggested so that the lines are easily distinguished from other lines on the base sheet. One possi­bility is to combine the 90-degree and 45-degree grid systems to develop a modified di­agonal design theme. These other lines were drawn per­pendicular to the original set of lines of force at a selected interval. The procedure for developing the form composition studies in relation to the functional diagram begins by placing the functional diagram over the base sheet that has the lines of force and grid system drawn on it. Too few may not suggest anything to the designer; too many may be too confusing. Given the same site and a handful of different designers, each would be very apt to place a slightly different grid system on the site. To do this, the designer should first obtain a copy or print of the base sheet, which shows existing structures to be retained. At the same time, the edges of the form composition approximate the outline of the functional diagram underneath, though again there are some variations. After the lines of force and grid system have been drawn on the base sheet, the designer should overlay a sheet of tracing paper on top of the base sheet. Now, perhaps, the significance of functional diagrams discussed in Chapter 8 can be better appreciated. Although these two steps should take place at the same time, they will be discussed separately in the following paragraphs. But as distance increases away from a structure, it becomes more dif­ficult to notice and appreciate any coordinated alignment between the structure and site. Although the primary lines of force would probably be the same, the other lines might vary substantially from one designer to the next. Then, other lines based on a repetitive distance were added to formulate the grid. The two critical steps in this process are (1) relating the proposed design forms to the existing structures, and (2) relating the proposed de­sign forms to the functional diagram. Figure 10-70
Edges of windows are of tertiary importance in form composition. Several things should be apparent from this example. The form composition can be thought of as a careful and coordinated marriage of the lines of force and the functional diagram. The grid system is by no means a magic formula that ensures success. These latter schemes might relate to a particular point or edge of an existing structure, but on the whole they are difficult to correlate to a grid system. Primary importance: outside walls and corners of the house (Figure 10-68). This process is not easy because there is much to consider. A good form composition is a sensitive blending of all these factors. The next step is to draw lines on the base sheet from these prominent points and edges into the immediately surrounding area of the site (Figure 10-71). In this area, it can be readily seen whether or not the edge of a form in the site aligns with the corner of the house or edge of a door. A sound functional diagram will result in a form composi­tion that also possesses a solid functional basis. This overlay process should continue until the form composition is attractive as well as practical. This decision should be based on (1) desired character and/or style of the design (that is, formal or informal, relaxing or stimulating, contemporary or historic, and so on),
(2) appropriateness to the architectural style of the house, (3) appropriateness to the existing site conditions, and (4) preference of the clients. The designer may go back to the functional diagram stage to make improvements and then return to the form composition phase. Next, the designer selects a design theme or combination of themes. And the result may not exactly reflect either the lines of force or the functional diagram. Instead, the diagram may be thought of as providing hints or approximate guidelines where the edges of the form composition may be positioned. This objective can be accomplished by relating the edges of new forms with the edges of existing elements or structures. The process should involve a simultaneous consideration of (1) geometry of form, (2) desired feel­ing or character of the design, (3) relationship to existing structures, and (4) relation­ship to the functional diagram. The designer does not always have to use a grid system that has a 90-degree rela­tion to the house. In the backyard, the distance Y has been used to space

Figure 10-69
Edges of doors and material changes are of secondary importance in form composition. Because the lines of force and grid system are only hints or clues, there is no ab­solute right or wrong way to establish them on the site. In this example, the lines of force and grid system were drawn on a 45-degree angle in relation to the important points and edges of the house. Yet, the process for selecting and developing form composition studies for a residential site is more complex than just drawing attractive forms. composition. So again, it is critical that the designer take the necessary time to adequately study the functional diagrams to prevent orga­nizational flaws from becoming a problem in later phases of the design process. 3. Second, the grid is used as the foundation for the form composition over the entire site, not just near the house. No rules govern the spacing of these additional lines. Secondary importance: edges of elements on outside walls that touch the ground surface such as edges of doors or lines created by material changes (between brick and siding, for example, Figure 10-69). created based on the lines of force without having it relate to a specific functional dia­gram is shown in Figure 10—72. The grid system is most useful for rectangular, diagonal, angular, or arc and tangent design themes, because they incorporate straight lines. When developing form composition studies in coordination with the functional diagram, it is quite possible that the designer may formulate a new idea for the design’s organization that is better than the original functional diagram. Yet, at several places, such as the front entry and the back terrace, the edges of the forms have been located between the lines of force. Consequently, the grid system, except for perhaps the primary lines of force, can be dispensed with while developing circular and curvilinear design themes. Relationship of Form Composition to the Functional Diagram In addition to relat­ing to existing structures on the site, the new forms of the design should also relate to the selected functional diagram completed in the previous step. Figure 10-76
An example of the functional diagram overlaid on top of the grid system on the base sheet. In Figure 10-74, most of the circular arcs meet the house at 90 degrees. Figure 10-78
Examples of alternatives based on the same functional diagram and the same design theme. Next, a clean sheet of tracing paper, on which the first form composition study will be developed, is overlaid on top of the diagram (Figure 10-75). Remember, avoid acute angles. When this occurs—and it will—the designer should feel free to build on the better idea. As seen in Figure 10—73, lines of force can be extended away from the house in any direction. When the edges of the new forms are aligned with the points and lines of the grid system, the new forms will have a stronger visual relationship to the points and edges of the house. The first and obvious solution may not be the best, a fact the designer may not see until the solution is compared and tested with alternatives (Figure 10—78). Another sheet of tracing paper can then be overlaid on the first sheet so that the first form composition study can be refined. Grid systems can also be used to aid in creating other design themes. the lines of force, with some lines, such as G and H, being a distance 1/2 Y apart.

Updated: 31.10.2014 — 12:54