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  • Michael Rouse

What Program?

It’s time to draw!... but not just yet, Speed Racer.

In starting any architecture project, whether it be an addition, renovation or new home, you have to create a building program first. It lists the functional and aspirational requirements that the project should meet or exceed. In additions and renovations, the program can include a list of problems with the existing spaces that need to be addressed in order to use the existing or renovated spaces more effectively.

Thinking back at our Bungalow project, there were a few problems:

1. that centered entry door;

2. the enclosed kitchen;

3. the tight stair;

Then there are the 21st century problems that the house presents:

1. Where’s the powder room?

2. What master suite?

3. Is the kitchen still enclosed?

4. TV watching is going to happen where?

One can not forget our personal wishes and desires for what we want (you, know, the ones paying for the project):

1. Master suite that gets direct sunlight (too much time spent in a basement apartment while designing the project…)

2. Master bath large enough for two to get ready in the morning together

3. Closet big enough for two separate wardrobes

4. Laundry on the second floor (it’s bad enough to do laundry let alone walk down TWO flights of stairs)

5. Office/Den

6. Storage room

7. Bar area

8. Exterior entertaining area that relates to the yard

9. A one-bedroom basement apartment for rental (Wait!?! You can do that?... more in a later blog post).

Taking all of these items into account creates our unique program for our house. If we had selected a different house to purchase and renovate, the program would have been different as it would have to respond to differing unique conditions to that house.

Programming is one of the most important steps in the process. An architect can walk you through yours to be sure the final project meets all your requirements. He or she can even bring up things that you maybe wouldn’t think about like how you specifically use an existing space, or even thing about when you use the space to take advantage of natural daylighting or breezes.

The inescapable Bubble Diagram, a close cousin to the Program List

Don’t draw just yet (unless it's the ubiquitous bubble diagram), until you have that written program completed to create a lasting functional space uniquely design for you!


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