Design Program

The last step of the research and preparation phase is the development of the design program. A design program can be defined as a list or outline of the elements and re­quirements the design solution should incorporate. The design program serves as a combined summary of the site analysis and client interview. Later in the design process, when a preliminary design has been completed, the program serves as a check­list for the designer to determine whether or not everything necessary was in fact included in the design (Figure 4—4). The design program is discussed in Chapter 7.


Once the research and preparation phase of the design process is completed, the designer can proceed to the design phase. In this phase, the designer studies and prepares the actual design solution based on the client interview, site analysis, and program. Typically, the design phase progresses through three major steps from the

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design process

conceptual to the general to the specific. The steps of the design phase are as follows:

• Functional diagrams (conceptual)

• Preliminary design (general)

• Master plan (specific)

Functional Diagrams

The first step of the design phase is the development of functional diagrams (Fig­ure 4—5). This is often the designer’s first attempt at organizing the overall arrange­ment of the design on paper. The designer uses freehand diagrammatic symbols to show the plan relationships of all the major spaces and elements of the design to each other, to the house, and to the site. Each space is drawn as a freehand bubble that depicts its relative size, proportion, and configuration. During this step, the designer may explore alternative organizations of the basic functional layout before selecting the best idea. This type of diagram is sometimes referred to as a concept plan. Functional diagrams are discussed in Chapter 8.