07 / Investigation / Program and Organization

Given Material

Based on the given “Program for Elementary Montessori School” reverse engineer the implied stories in relation to the involved protagonists: Student, teacher, parent, receptionist, principal, administrator, janitor, etc. Represent each story in form of a storyboard annotating space, time, protagonist, and ambience (spatial qualities).



Falling back onto the operational take-offs in the “Excerpt from a Client – Architect Interview” and your own observations drawn from your individual school experiences, construct a comprehensive inventory of all conceivable activities and uses appropriate to a learning environment, along with their requisite spaces/areas. Include all interior and exterior activities and uses from the most significant to the most ancillary. Use the following criteria to develop the detailed program:


  • Function: What is the purpose(s) of the individual space?
  • Scale: What is the size of the space expressed in rough dimensions?
  • Use: What takes place inside the space? What takes place alongside the space?
  • Elements: Describe all the components that will ultimately occupy the space such as furniture, fixtures, cabinetry, etc.
  • Schedules: When is which activity active?



Analyze each of the programmatic uses/spaces by evaluating them relative to one-another through the use of the following criteria.  By answering basic questions about each space as you look at them through the following lenses, you can begin to develop spatial and organizational preconceptions for each of the uses/spaces.


  • Light: What is the quality of light in the space.  Is it direct, indirect, natural, artificial?
  • Climate: Is the space hot, warm, cool, cold?  Is it naturally ventilated or mechanically controlled?
  • Hygiene: Is the space highly controlled hygienically, moderately controlled or uncontrolled?
  • Inside/Outside: Does the use of the space demand it be interior or could it be exterior, or both? What uses/activities/spaces could become transitional zones between inside and outside?
  • Public/Private: Which uses/spaces require to be private or public? Are there opportunities for programmatic elements that could be a hybrid o both?
  • Hierarchy: What are the primary/secondary/tertiary areas?
  • Access: What kind of accesses are desirable? How do people and vehicles get access?  Which program requires what kind of access?
  • Adjacency: What relationships do the different uses/activities have with one another?
  • Schedule: What are the time frames for using programmatic elements?
  • Acoustics: What is the sound/noise profile for each use-space? Loud? Quiet? Echoes? Lively? Hushed?
  • Views and Hides: In which programmatic spaces are views relevant? What is the purpose of those views? What is desired to see? What is desired to be seen?
  • Finishes and Materials: What is the quality of the different finishes and materials in the space?
  • Sensual: Consider your senses and ask yourself what senses might be engaged by each particular programmatic element.  What kind of experience might be relevant or compelling in each particular spaces?



With the analysis of the relationship between activities, uses, and spaces, you will begin to gain insight into possible strategies for ordering programmatic elements. Determine how the programmatic elements relate to one-another. Uncover orders and invent iterations of ordering strategies. Be particular and precise about the nature of the various programmatic relationships: Do elements relate to the human body? Are they related to contextual issues? Are they satisfying operational, mechanical, and/or functional issues? Does programmatic relationship create meaning? What about delight?


Develop models for representational systems that are appropriate to your analyses such as comparative studies, generative matrices, adjacency diagrams, network diagrams (tree,mesh), color coding, mapping and graphing of relationships, narrative sequences.



  1. Monday, October 3rd: Five (5) storyboards, format: combined layout on one single sheet 30” x 30”
  2. Wednesday, October 5th: Five (5) physical study models showing various iterations of organizational operations. Supporting sequence- and operational diagrams.
  3. Friday, October 7th (Midterm): One (1) physical program model as a conclusion of all preceding program studies. 30” x 30” base, including furniture (scale: 1’-0” = 3/16”). Additional postings addressing the formal procedure of the review will follow.



  1. Ernst & Peter Neufert, Architects’ Data (Download PDF here)
  2. Herman Hertzberger, Lessons for Students in Architecture
  3. Herman Hertzberger, The School as City
  4. John Habraken, Interview in DE DRAGER
  5. Deborah Cameron & Thomas A. Markus, The Words Between the Spaces: Buildings and Language; 2003

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