Fitting Everything In

Welcome back! I hope that everyone had a good holiday break. Work on the Mt. Eccles Projects has been proceeding at full speed and some exciting things are happening.

I’m talking about Projects in the plural because we have divided the work into two major parts—the Renovation of the existing Mt. Eccles school and the Addition of the new Gym. Our plan is to finish the design of the Gym Addition so construction can start right away this summer. Then, the plans for the Renovation will be finished about 3 months later so that construction starts about the time everyone is back in school next fall.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been working to fit all the needed rooms into the two Projects. During the very first part of any Architectural project—the Pre-Design Phase—we make a list of every room needed in the building. This list gets pretty long and detailed since we have to list everything from big rooms like the Commons right down to every Janitor’s Closet and Rest Room. This list of rooms comes from discussions with the people who use the building and it is important to list everything.

Once this list—called the Program—is complete, then we try to fit all the rooms into a building. If we are designing a new building we sometimes cut out colored paper rectangles in the shapes of all the rooms and try to arrange them into different configurations. In this case, we knew that we had to fit most of the rooms inside the existing walls of Mt. Eccles school, so the overall shape couldn’t change that much. It is sort of like fitting together a puzzle—but one that has many different possible solutions.

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