Will’s Library | Designing Architecture

A look into the meaning that this book gives to this project reveals a concentration on the design process, and even more than that a respect for the site and context. Will talks about encouraging certain plant species to grow. I believe that this is a mindset that should be taken on during this process, and encourage this building to better the current site and vision that Will has set forth.

Designing Architecture: The Elements of Process by Andrew Pressman

The book begins by talking about the early stages of design. Something that I found to be interesting during this reading was the idea that formulating a question, proposition, or “thesis” about what is trying to be achieved helps gain insight into the underlying idea or concept of a project. As a note: there is a good chapter on spatial and bubble diagramming.

The few chapters that finish the book talk about setting precedents, budgets, and “doing design”, but the chapters most concentrated on were the Site and Context portions of the book.

The overarching idea of these chapters is that one should engage with and respond to the site to achieve “good architecture.” It later lists important elements of the site that influence design:

  • Vegetation
  • Climate
  • Topography
  • “Sensory Insults” (such as noise, smells, bad view)
  • “Sensory Delights” (such as good views)
  • Context
  • Traffic
  • Socio-Cultural Context

It also talks about building performance strategies to help achieve an energy efficient building:

  • Collect the sun’s warmth
  • Use thermal masses
  • Shade properly
  • Take advantage of natural ventilation

What stood out most to me was something I found a couple paragraphs in these chapters to be very interesting and very important to this project in particular. It dealt with the idea that environmentally sensitive design must be part of the design process at the project’s inception to be effective. I believe we are already on track for this, and are doing a great job!


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