arets lecture


ASSIGNMENT: 4a IDEAhaus_systems development


(systems development)


As with every building design project, once the driving principles have been established, the architect’s job is to then turn the idea into a building by developing and composing the building systems into space and experience. Your job is to now complete the design of the IDEAhaus through the development of the key building systems – plan, section, structure, enclosure and experience. A successful project will use the developed agendas to lead the design process for every one of these systems, allowing the building systems to fully embody the idea, just as the programmatic organization or site strategies have.


– learn to use your agendas as the primary driver of all building systems

– develop and produce plans and sections that investigate and convey space and experience through intelligent and creative use of drawing conventions.

– understand the relationship between building systems and spatial experience.

– develop structural frames and enclosure systems that embody the larger ideas and ideals of a project.

– understand the performance criteria of an enclosure system and learn to develop enclosure systems that meet those functional requirements while advancing design agendas.

– design and detail spaces towards use and experience



Using conventional drawing means, develop detailed plans and sections for your IDEAhaus.   Plan and Section are two of the most typical and useful means of communicating space and spatial relationships, but they should also be used as a means of investigation and exploration.


To draw successful plans and sections, it is critical to have an intent for the drawings.  Consider the varieties of systems we have been working with and designing and determine methods for communicating each of these systems in your drawings.  Let the convention of drawing also find ways to express your larger ideas and agendas.


When investigating, consider the following:

– the thickness of your lines

– the thickness of your systems (walls, enclosure)

– materiality

– interior versus exterior

– poche

– building systems (circulation, use, structure)

– context /  site

– scale


Starting from the ground, develop a building frame that satisfies the complex issues of creating a form, resolving all typical building loads necessary to support the building while still advancing your design agenda as much as necessary to satisfy your larger design intent.

Consider the following as you develop your structural system.

– Does your structural system have a common and/or governing logic for resolving all of the parts in relation to the whole?

– Have you studied alternatives and variations that meet your specific criteria and analyzed their pros and cons?

– Does your structure satisfy a broader agenda?  If so, how?  If not, why not?

– Is your structural system exposed or is it concealed, and what is your process for determining the most appropriate answer to these questions?


Develop an enclosure system, composed of all of the parts/systems necessary to control the environmental stability of your IDEAhaus and shape meaningful spatial experiences while satisfying the larger design agendas you have established.

Remember, an envelope is the primary means of controlling visual and physical access to our buildings as well as energy transmission to and from the spaces we create.  As such, we should consider these primary systems in the development of our enclosures:

Aesthetic – Both from the interior of the building and the exterior of the building, the enclosure system, often in conjunction with the structural system, forms the visual expression of our buildings, and this expression must be considered and developed with intent.  The agenda for the expression should be developed initially from our concepts and realized through the specific use of materials, their connections and compositions.

Thermal – This system embodies the control of energy and moisture through the envelop and includes the primary means of waterproofing and insulating a building, as well as controlling the passage of water vapor.  These elements should form continuous lines of control and protection, and should only be compromised when absolutely necessary to satisfy other, and more important, agendas.

Use – Elements such as doorways and windows facilitate use, circulation and view, and must be manipulated strategically to choreograph a users experience in and through a building, and it, too, should be developed in conjunction with your larger ideas to become one with your overall design agenda.


The deliverables for this phase will be any necessary process drawings, models and visualizations to convey the development of these systems and the overall design for your project.

Drawings can and should include any information necessary to convey your process and your broader intent, including anything from diagrams to details. Drawings will not be prescribed nor limited but should include building plans and building/site sections,enlarged details/wall sections that convey the details and relationship of your structure and enclosure, and representations necessary to convey the materiality and experience of your project and its desired effect.

Models can include any massing or study models, or enlarged enclosure/structural models.  Models will not be prescribed nor limited but should include well considered study/massing models, models that clearly represent the structural elements of your project and models that allow you to explore and demonstrate spatial experience.