Every design starts with an idea; a little inkling of what might one day become something. In architecture school I was taught that these little ideas should be generated quickly, jotted down, and set to the side so more ideas are free to come. In the architecture world, these sketches are called Parti Diagrams - I think it's much more relatable to call them what they really are - Logos.
I had one professor in school who completely changed the way I thought about the design process. I don't know where he is or what he's doing now, but I owe him a beer. His name is Humberto Betancourt, and I didn't understand the value of what he taught me until years after graduating. For each project, he made us come up with 100 parti diagrams. 100 different ideas! I hated doing it at the time, but it was a great experience.
After coming up with 100 sketches, we would review them and choose a handful that were promising. Each of those was drawn with a bit more care, and would look similar to the sketches in the header of this post. Those sketches, by the way, were done by Matthew Frederick for the page about parti diagrams in his book, 101 Things I Learned In Architecture School.
The parti diagram can revolve around any piece of the design - the site plan, an elevation, the floor plan, a cross section, etc. Each of those could actually have their own set of parti diagrams. But the reason I like describing them as logos is because a good parti diagram should encapsulate the essence of a design - like a logo can tell you a lot about a company.
So does the house we're building have a logo? Of course it does!! Want to see it? Of course you do...
For me, this one little sketch shows everything there is to know about the essence of our house - it's narrow with a very simple silhouette, there is a steep grade change, and there are dramatic asymmetrical windows.
In case you're wondering, here is how that parti diagram translated to the final design (shown directly with the elevation on the right):
Of course I'm biased, but I think the initial idea and final product are spot on.
So, does your house have a logo?
Bye for now,
If you liked this post, SUBSCRIBE to the free newsletter - it's a
weekly dose of :Designed Happy delivered right to your inbox