Principles acknowledging microcosmic to macrocosmic inquiry happen simultaneously during the design process. As designers, we attempt to understand the innate nature of the goals and aspirations of the project while the paper or screen is still blank. We bring our past training and experience to bear on the way that a program can resolve the project’s immediate objectives of organization and function but also site, community, and environment. It is when these concepts are marshaled together that decisions for a successful project are ensured.
The strength of a beautiful floor plan is emblematic of a successful inside out design approach. Likened to the structure and emotional impact of a beautiful poem, a successful floor plan embodies the interconnectedness of building massing, site planning, and the human condition. Simultaneous development of plan, section, and elevation are informed by site conditions and neighborhood context. From the inside we look out.
As the building continues to develop, decisions are made about system components and material finishes. Here, floor plan and site conditions inform the design regarding elements of the building that will bring the best balance between building comfort and energy consumption. Material selections are discerned from what the building should look and feels like to which are the environmental and cost implications of these selections. Environmental and cost implications also affect these selections. This inside out design philosophy takes into account the carbon footprint of the building, bridging the conceptual theory of how good design impacts us emotionally but also environmentally.
Beautiful concepts are only ideals until they are realized through labor and ingenuity. This process is inherently intimate. For inanimate material to become animated through the labor of construction, it takes rigor and attention to detail, patience, and good communication skills. The details of design are equal to the strength of the original concept. Here, the inside out philosophy is expressed in knowing the uniqueness of the materials that are being employed. Understanding what makes materials work independently and in concert with other materials of the project.
The process is not linear but cyclical, with many overlaps that question previous decisions as a means to circle back and continue to reconnect the inside motives and intent with the outside sequence of the construction process. It’s an invigorating dance between a party of stakeholders, all aiming for the same conclusion: an inspiring well-built project.