Thursday, May 21, 2009
An Open Floor Plan
Opening up the floor plan is the best thing to come from modern design. With the use of new construction materials clear spans across entire floors can be easily achieved. This first floor encompasses the foyer, a family room, a kitchen, a library and office and the only room that is enclosed by four walls is the bathroom. The traditional way of delineating a floor plan is by starting out with a square or rectangular box and then dividing the interior of that box with walls that chop up the space and block out natural light. Instead a floor plan can be drawn by starting with the exterior wall keeping in mind human proportions. Delineation of functional spaces is made by the jogs of the wall.
One of the design principals followed in moder green design is to minimize the foot print of the first floor so the structures impact on the site is minimized. This includes the landscaping of the site. It makes no sense to have a small foot print if the yard is one big lawn. It is important to use native plants when landscaping and to incorporate fruiting trees, herbs, vegetables and wild berries. Native plants help to provide the right environment for native animals and insects. And growing your own food organically is healthy for you and reduces your carbon foot print farther by reducing the the need to transport food from other region. It's important to think 3 dimensionally when laying out a floor plan. You most think about its relationship to the sub floor below and the floors above. Cantilevering the second and third floors out creates more usable space while at the same time lessening the first floors foot print. You most also think about how these cantilevers will effect the natural lighting. There are some tricks you can use to bring the light down into places that would normally be shaded.