Introduction: My Unique First House Design - Exploring the Situation

Hi, my name is Brianna Wise. I am from Melbourne, Australia and I am studying Design for Architectural Environment. Here I will present you my first project and will introduce you to my idea, how it was born and all the steps I took to the end of the work. I guess my work is not a masterpiece but hey it's my first one, so I guess it's normal. I will try to explain to you the reasoning behind my decisions and I would be really glad to hear your opinion on my work and tell me my mistakes in order to help me get better in future. I know my project is not perfect so I am not going to get offended by your opinion because the main idea is to hear your point of view and get notes from it. My task was to design a two-storeyed house. I started with exploring the situation.

There are four main factors every architect should pay special attention to when designing a home and situating the hose in the plot.

  • Orientation
  • The best view
  • Slope
  • Access from the street

We can't consider every factor on its own because there is no such thing as a perfect plot. We should think of them as an integral group of factors. According to the standards the front facade must be opposite to the best view and opposite to the good exposure (south, east, southeast or southwest) in order to provide good view and exposure to the back yard which is also known as the compositional center or the outdoor living room. This is the place for relax. That's why we should save the best conditions for it. But in my case the terrain is situated in such a place that the best view doesn't match the best exposure. As an architect I need to think complexly and compromise the best exposure in favour of the best view for example. We should always know what is best for the house we are designing.

The mutual reconciliation between these two factors is not enough. Our work is a complex combination between all four of them and if three of them are good in one direction we compromise the forth. We aim to make as much as possible to get the most of the plot. So in my case I decided to compromise the perfect exposure in favour of the good view and access. In another article I will explain my solution on the floor plan so that I can compensate the orientation of my house and make it best for the people living there. It's preferable to situate the building in the upper part of the slope to avoid any problems with drainage. I did the same with the house I am designing.

The access to the house should be as short and direct as possible. That's why I turned the front facade to the street. The access with a vehicle must be direct, too. That is one of the reasons why the yard is divided in two sections: front and back yard. The front yard is small because of the easy access to the house and possesses more of a representative function. In contrast, the back yard is big and its main function is relaxation and connection with nature.

When you decide where to situate the house you are designing and how to orientate it, start thinking of the general shape of the whole building and the materials which you are going to cover it up with. A huge fraction of the house I designed is covered with glass to make the connection with nature stronger and to emphasise the great view of the ocean. The amount of windows makes it impossible for a home owner to clean them on their own and he would need professional window cleaners to do that for him. To avoid all of this I plan to use self-cleaning glass. The rest of the house I plan to cover with wood because I like the combination between wood and glass. Here you can see a few pictures of my 3D visualisation I made in AutoCad to get a general idea of my piece of work.