Define Your Architectural Program
By Bud Dietrich, Originally Published in Houseplans.com
Your architectural program should include images of rooms you like, such as kitchen-living spaces. Plan 481-5
Your Program by Identifying Your Needs, Wants, and Dreams
You know you want to create a home for yourself and your family
but where to start? Sure, you need at least a certain room count, and you
absolutely know that you can’t invest more than a certain amount of money, and you
like a certain style, but how do you combine all of these criteria and the
countless other things in your head to create that special place called home?
First: gather all of those thoughts into a document that’s called
an architectural program.
This document, which is really a statement of goals, will include practical
and functional considerations often referred to as “must haves,” and those
things that you “want” but can live without. And don’t forget to identify
what you dream of as well. For example, your program could state “we must
have three bedrooms and 2 ½ bathrooms” and “it would be nice if two of the
bedrooms shared a bathroom” as well as “I’ve always dreamt of having a small
balcony off of my bedroom.”
Ways To Go
Collect and share images. Websites like Houzz and Pinterest are great
places to look at countless images of houses from all over the world to get a sense
of what you like and want. With unique features like the “Add To Ideabook”
function, Houzz makes it easy to collect
images of whole houses as well as special details, materials, and products, and
share the images with others. Though not dedicated solely to home design,
Pinterest allows you to search an
expanding universe of house images and organize what you like by pinning them
to boards that you arrange by subject -- say, from kitchen islands to water
features -- and then share with the world.
Before websites like Houzz and Pinterest,
magazines dominated the design idea field and it was common for a new client to hand me hundreds of
images clipped from these magazines. Though the web has made collecting
and sharing images easier, there’s still nothing like holding clippings (or
print-outs from websites) and sitting next to a client as we talk about what it
is that they find appealing about the image.
You can search a website like Houseplans.com
for houses of different sizes (square footage), room
counts (numbers of bedroom and bathrooms), room dimensions, number of floor
levels (one, two, split levels, etc.), plan types (courtyard, split plan, dogtrot,
etc.) as well as style. Browsing these plans makes it easy to compare typical
kitchen and bath layouts and identify room arrangements that appeal to you.
Architects are trained to help you discover what’s important to you and
what’s not, what’s something you’ve always wanted as well as what’s achievable.
So don’t think of an architect as someone who will just draw the plans,
but consider having an architect help you uncover what your goals truly are. Find
architects by talking to friends and neighbors, contacting the local chapter of
the American Institute of Architects, and browsing websites like Houzz and Houseplans.com.
In fact Houzz even allows
you to “follow” a few architects so you can get to know them better before
contacting them. Houseplans.com has an
in-house design team that can adapt any ready-made plan and even design from
we’ll show how to understand and use the different types of architectural
by Bud Dietrich is shown above. To see all of Bud's house plans click here.
October 29, 2013