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Master Planning: A Simple Iterative Design Approach
Learn – Brainstorm – Design – Visualize – Discuss – Engineer – Quantify – Execute
Step 1: Approach
The first essential step in master planning is to understand the user philosophy and operational goals. Successful architectural master plan’s stem from a direct collaboration between the consulting committees, user groups and the design team. The approach of DesignQube’s association to master planning stresses user group involvement. Involving the client is the most effective way to achieve in-depth understanding of programmatic requirements, to create a forum for exploring a “vision” of the project and to attain consensus in the decision making process.
Step 2: Project Vision / Objectives
The project vision document describes the project outcome. This is usually in the form of a kick-off meeting between the designers and the decision making team. The key idea is to align the design team and all the stakeholders involved in the project around a central purpose. Furthermore, the objective is to provide overall context for what the project is trying to achieve and describe the specific, tangible deliverables that the team will deliver
Step 3: Planning Principles
Planning principles addresses the present and future needs of the proposed site including the constructed and open areas (green, roads, etc.) It is based on anticipated growth. This document is a vision for the future development of a site. It ensures that the physical environment, both built and natural meets the owner’s strategic plan, serves the needs of the community, enables the facility to realize its goals and provides an effective place to live, work and play
Step 4: Scale Comparisons
A scale comparison is generally a graphic representation of the project site that maintains an accurate relationship between all aspects of a similar project / site, although absolute values of the original properties need not to be preserved. The key idea is to demonstrate the feasibility of a project vision in the proposed site by comparing similar project types
Step 5: Development Schedule / Program Chart
A Program chart is a complete tabulation of all areas of the site including but not limited to site area, Permissible areas (FSI, ground cover, built-up, etc), and open and circulation areas. The objective is to have a clear picture or total clarity on the design expectations and help to meet the owner’s requirements
Step 6: Massing Studies
Massing is an architectural parlance for form or shape, often referred to exterior. A massing study helps to organize the design idea by breaking the program down into basic building blocks (much like Lego blocks). A massing study is an architectural way to visualize or understand the way that complex constraints impact the overall design of the building. It is the process of studying and resolving the building form in 3-dimensional space to understand its effect on the topographical factors of the site. Massing studies are needed to understand various factors such as limitations of heights due to set-back requirements, requirements to maintain visual integrity in high-profile environments and simply to check out the overall design of an idea before any details are added.
Step 7: Site Analysis
An understanding of the site and its environment is an integral part of a building program and is a prerequisite for a good design. Site analysis is a pre-design research activity that focuses on existing and potential conditions on and around the building site. It is an inventory of the site factors and forces, and how they coexist and interact. The purpose of analysis is to provide thorough information about the site access and liabilities prior to starting the design process. Accordingly concepts can be developed that incorporate meaningful responses to the external conditions of the sire The typical site analysis includes the site location, size and access, neighborhood context, zoning, existing utilities, vehicular and pedestrian circulation and any other factors deemed appropriate for the particular site.
Step 8: Concept Master Plan
The first stage in Master Plan review process. A concept master plan is a document that describes generally, in narrative and with sketches and images, the vision of the project and what are its goals and objectives. A concept plan begins by defining design criteria that will later serve as the basis of the final master plan. Our approach integrates strategic, operational and functional considerations to ensure that program requirements become the driver of the design and not the other way. Critical tasks include defining the nature and use of required spaces, the building area necessary to accommodate the planned user and developing criteria to design responsive architecture.
Step 9: Diagrammatic Studies
It is often diagrammatic representation of various activities pertaining to the master plan of the site. This includes but not limited to Zoning, Phasing, Land Use, Parking, Circulation, Open, semi-open and closed spaces, landscaped areas, street sections and other important information pertinent to have a better understanding of the concept design
Step 10: Design Visualization / Mood Boards
A mood board is a “Collage” consisting of various images in a digital format. Its primary function is to visually illustrate the style of the design that is being pursued. In other words, it serves as a visual tool to inform the overall “feel” of an idea.
Step 11: Final Master Plan
By its very nature, the final master plan is a vital fluid document. Its contents are general in nature and represent a first step in the process of developing a planned successful project. This document has enough clarity of thought to guide design thinking, yet pliable enough to accept updating. The deliverables include a comprehensive package including the final master plan, diagrams illustrating various site factors, phasing patterns, updated area statement, 3-dimensional renderings highlighting the character of the project and other miscellaneous information pertaining to the project vision and owner’s requirement.
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