Internal Subdivision

Another important consideration of the functional diagram to address is the internal organization of each space. This step gives the designer the opportunity to understand more clearly how each space is to function within itself. One example of this is pro­vided in Figure 8—20. Here the internal organization of an outdoor living and enter­taining space was subdivided into more specific use areas. A conversation space (space “A” on the diagram), quiet sitting space (space “B”), and a sunning space (space “C”) were all identified within the living and entertaining space. The same consideration is given to the planting areas, which can be divided into more specific plant types ac­cording to their size and type of foliage (Figure 8—21). However, no shrubs or other small-scale plant materials are shown or studied individually until the preliminary de­sign phase is reached.


The outside edge around a space can be established in different ways. It may be de­fined by a change of materials on the ground plane, slopes or changes in elevation, plant materials, walls, fences, and/or buildings. In turn, spatial edges may have a va­riety of characters based on the transparency of the edge. Thus, the line drawn around a bubble in the functional diagram can be elaborated to suggest transparency characteristics.

Transparency Transparency is the degree of opaqueness of a spatial edge, which in­fluences how well it can be seen. Three types of transparency are (1) solid, (2) semi­transparent, and (3) transparent (Figure 8—22).

1. Solid edges are those that cannot be seen through, such as a stone wall, a wood fence, or a dense mass of evergreen trees. This type of edge would be used where complete separation or privacy is desired.

2. Semitransparent edges are those that can be partially seen through, such as a wood lattice, a louvered fence, a panel of smoked Plexiglas, or a loosely foli­ated hedge. This type of edge provides a sense of spatial enclosure while maintaining some degree of openness.

3. Transparent edges are completely open, providing an unobstructed view into a desired area from the space. This type of edge could be created by a wall of glass or by the lack of a vertical plane.

Figure 8-19

A complex configuration can provide perimeter subspaces with views directed out into the surrounding landscape.

Figure 8-20

The spaces of a functional diagram can be subdivided into more specific functions.


Circulation is concerned with the access points of spaces along with a generalized pat­tern of movement through the spaces. The points of entry and exit can be located on the diagram by drawing simple arrows at the desired locations (Figure 8—23). Here, the arrows indicate movement to and from the space. In addition to access, the de­signer should also study and determine the most significant paths of movement through those spaces where continuous circulation is planned. This can be designated with simple dashed lines and arrows pointing in the direction of movement. This should be done on the basis of the function of that space and should address only the major routes of movement, not every possible path of movement.

In considering circulation, the designer should ask several questions. Should the circulation occur through the middle of the space, around the outside edges of the space, or in a direct line from the entry to the exit, or should it casually mean­der throughout the space? The designer should study alternatives for circulation and decide which is most compatible with the intended function of the space (Figure 8-24).

Not only is the location of the circulation examined, but its intensity and char­acter are also considered. As indicated before, the graphic symbols used to represent circulation are dashed lines and arrows. The specific type of arrow drawn can suggest, among other qualities, the intensity and character of the circulation.

Intensity The intensity of circulation is a factor of the frequency and importance of a circulation path. Two general types of circulation intensity are primary circulation and secondary circulation.

1. Primary circulation. This type of circulation is of major importance and oc­curs with moderate to high frequency. Examples of primary circulation in­clude the front entry walk between the driveway and the front door or the connection from the inside living room through the exterior living and en­tertainment space into the lawn area.

2. Secondary circulation. This type of circulation is of less importance and oc­curs with lower frequency in comparison to primary circulation. A side route around the house or a casual garden path are examples of secondary circulation. Figure 8—25 and Figure 8—26 show graphic examples of primary and secondary circulation, respectively.

Updated: October 9, 2015 — 4:58 pm