Sources of Form:
An essential component in any
designer's professional skill set concerns the development of a
design process that results in predictably delightful,
innovative and relevant design ideas and formal concepts.
Individuals who are able to aggressively engage a project with an
array of form generating tools at their disposal is a wonderful site
to behold. The ability to generate superior design products in a
predictable fashion is a very endearing quality for a designer to
possess. Over the past thirty years we have pursued this goal for
our designers in an insistent manner. Even during data collection
and site analysis activities we encourage idea formation. We are
continually looking for anything that will give us meaningful lines
on paper or monitor, and we have come to rely on several analytical
sources that seem to inevitably generate form:
Circulation: existing and
proposed vehicular and pedestrian circulation patterns on,
through and around the site and its surrounding context offer
themselves as primary form givers. When these various
circulatory vectors are studied and diagrammed form readily
suggests itself. Intersections can suggest the potential for
conflict, and at other times recommend nodes of coalescence.
Climate: climatic analysis will
inevitably generate form. During the overheated portions of the
year/day we seek shade. During heavy rainfall we seek shelter
and also in arid regions we seek ways to harvest this precious
resource. In hot humid situations we seek access to breeze, and
in hot arid situations we often respond in opposing manner.
Topography / hydrology: analogy
with existing surrounding land form is an obvious source of
design ideas. Yet with flat and predictable sites we may choose
to insert undulations and level change as a means of adding
visual interest and complexity. We may also choose to implement
forms in the ground plane that control, direct and possibly
harvest runoff from the site and it's adjacent context.
Existing built form: an analysis
of existing form in and around the site also can suggest form;
scale, height, profiles, built and implied geometries, density,
materials, light patterns, etc. Adjacent forms can radiate into
a site a develop formal symbiosis, or they can conversely
suggest a need for contrasting strategies.
Sensory: effective analysis of
acoustical, olfactory, visual, tactile, and even gustation
predictably generates form. Noise is blocked whereas sound can
be coveted and celebrated. Visual, olfactory and tactile cues
can conceptually coalesce to facilitate wayfinding, and the
creation of coherence in a space or series of interconnected
These sources of form are second
echelon considerations within our design process and are not to be
confused with the previously mentioned ordering systems. They
generate early planning precepts and 3-D form which is eventually
synthesized into multi-layered comprehensive concepts that are in turn
evaluated and enhanced as their relevance is tested through all
design ordering systems.
Is the concept
economically.... socially.... environmentally.... functionally....