Thursday, August 9, 2007

Scheme B

In case you are wondering what "Scheme B" is, go here to read the post on the conceptual drawings my brother has prepared.

Without further adieu, I'll attempt go through Scheme B in the same order of presentation for Scheme A. First is the overall organization diagram for Scheme B:
The defining theme of Scheme B is "overlapping spaces." Each space is designed so that it "bleeds" into the spaces next to it, to eliminate the feeling of each room as a box, and to increase the integration of the home. This organization is a lot more compact as compared to Scheme A.

Here's how this scheme looks from above, in a birds-eye view. The home is rotated 90-degrees from the organization diagram (up/down is North/South, click to enlarge)...

The main views to the wetland areas have again been taken into account in the design, as shown below:
Here's the floor plan for Scheme B (rotated back 90-degrees, click to enlarge):
Again, the R4 and R5 labels I placed there to denote where two virtual rendering images were generated (we'll get to those below). From the floor plan you can see the major organizational differences with Scheme A. This time the chapel is in the center of the home, actually sharing walls with adjacent rooms. Another difference is that the master bedroom is upstairs, on the same level as the boys' and girls' bedrooms. As Molly noted in her post on Scheme A, this is the arrangement we prefer so that, while still having some level of seclusion, we are near the kids during the nighttime. A further difference here is that the patio is a lot more scaled back, though still oriented to take advantage of the views available. One big thing that would still have to be changed is that the kitchen is too far from the garage.

One thing you may notice is the interesting shape of the walls of the chapel. My brother got that inspiration from looking at typical floor plans for basilicas, such as the one shown below, left (a zoomed-in pic of the chapel floor plan is at right):
The main idea he was interested in here was the various undulations of the sides of the nave, which are there to provide for side chapels for devotions to saints. Taking this theme into account, my brother worked something similar into the chapel design for Scheme B, knowing that we had hoped for defined places we could use as almost mini-side chapels. The renderings depict this design a lot more clearly. Here's a rendering if you were standing in the school room next to the chapel (click to enlarge):
I like this not only for places for statues and other artwork, it sets apart the chapel from the rest of the home even though it is integrated into the center of the home. Natural light adds transcendence as it filters down from above in each of the "side chapels." One other thing to note about the rendering above is you can see a bookshelf jutting into the school room area. This is one way of having the spaces bleed together and integrate.

Below is another rendering, from the opposite side of the chapel (click to enlarge):
From this side you see one aspect of this design we did not like, which is a "pass-through" walking area that goes through the back part of the chapel. We didn't want the importance of that room to be diminished by eventually using the back of the chapel as a hallway. It also encourages kids to run wildly through there (again, thinking Aidan here) and that is another thing we don't want.

Here are the side elevations for Scheme B (click to enlarge):
I really like the East elevation (which is the front facade of the home, facing the street). One thing my brother noted about the multiple windows on the upper level (each with a little dormer) was that this was a visual way of communicating to the outside viewer that there are a lot of children in the home (at first he said "the number of children in the home," after which we pointed out that it's not likely that we'll have exactly 6 kids).

There you have Scheme B. Compared to Scheme A, it's a fairly different take on accomplishing the same goals we are looking for.


Anders said...

Thank you very much for your blog! I am still in graduate school, my wife and I still live in an apartment, and our first child is just barely on the way, but we hope in some far-off future to build our own home. It is extremely helpful to read about the process you are going through, so it will be a little easier for us down the road. Thank you!

Brendan Koop said...

Thank you Anders, I'm glad this blog can be of benefit to you. God bless you and your growing family! When we were expecting our first child, we were living in an apartment just like you, and I was in grad school. And here we are today! (I talk like that was so long ago, but it was 2001 - we've only been married 6 years!) We now have four kids, so I guess that makes it feel like a long time ago :-)

Sara Freund said...

A couple things I really love about this floor plan: The basilica styling of the chapel creates niches for the other rooms, which is really handy for storage, bookshelves, etc., and adds visual interest. And storage is a must in a home-school room! I also love the use of split baths, which is a really efficient way to use fewer bathrooms for large families--while one person is in the shower, others can be brushing teeth or washing faces. Still sharing the space (so many lessons on virtue here!) and yet practically dealing with time constraints (nothing worse than scrambling to get to Sunday mass and arriving crabby!).

I also really love the way the family room is designed to be open and flow outdoors, but also to have different "zones" for different activities, so the family remains close without a lot of forced interaction--we all need togetherness and space. It's a great way to keep tabs on kids without being in their face.

This is so much fun! But gotta get back to work. : P

Brendan Koop said...


You have to be pretty detailed to notice the split bathroom, nice! That was definitely done on purpose for the same reason you gave.

Anonymous said...

Dude! This is fabulous...I'm getting excited just looking at your plans...varied as they are...I can't imagine how you and Molly feel. Can't wait to see the final one. I really like Scheme B, for the same reasons that Sarah gave, much more connected both spiritual and physical. Keep it up! Caroline