PROGRAMMING Basics Of architecture,

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The experienced, creative designer withholds judgment, resists preconceived solutions and the pressure to synthesize until all the information is in. He refuses to make sketches until he knows the client’s problem....Programming is the prelude to good design. (Peña, Parshall, and Kelly, 1987)

Programming, also known as predesign or strategic planning, involves detailed analysis of the client’s (or end user’s) needs, requirements, goals, budgetary factors, and assets, as well as analysis of architectural or site parameters and constraints. Information gathered about the user’s needs and requirements is often documented in written form, whereas architectural or site parameters are often communicated graphically through orthographic projection. These two distinct forms of communication, verbal and graphic, must be brought together in the early stages of design.
 Some firms employ professionals to work as programmers and then hand the project over to designers. 
It is also common for project managers and/or designers to work on project programming and then continue to work on the design or management of the project. It could be said that programmers and designers are separate specialists, given the distinctions between programming (analysis) and design (synthesis). However, many firms and designers choose not to separate these specialties or do so only on very large or programming-intensive projects. In practice, programming varies greatly from project to project. This is due to variation in project type and size and to the quantity and quality of information supplied by the client (or end user). In some cases clients provide de
signers with highly detailed written programs. In other situations clients begin with little more than general information or simply exclaim, “We need more space, we are growing very fast” or “Help, we are out of control.

” In situations such as the latter, research and detective work must be done to create programming information that will allow for the creation of successful design solutions. It is difficult to distill the programming process used in a variety of projects into a brief summary. Clearly the programming required for a major metropolitan public library is very different from that required in a smallscale residential renovation. It is important, therefore, to consider what all projects relating to interior environments share in terms of programming. All projects require careful analysis of space requirements for current and future needs, as well as analysis of work processes, adjacency requirements, and organizational structure (or life-style and needs-assessment factors in residential design).
 Physical inventories and asset assessments are required to evaluate existing furniture and equipment as well as to plan for future needs. Building code, accessibility, and health/safety factors must also be researched as part of the programming process.
 In addition to this primarily quantitative information, there are aesthetic requirements. Cultural and sociological aspects of the project must also be identified by the designers. All of these should be researched and can be documented in a programming report that is reviewed by the client and used by the project design team. 

When possible, it is important to include a problem statement with the programming report. The problem statement is a concise identification of key issues, limitations, objectives, and goals that provide a clearer understanding of the project.
 With the programming report complete, the designers can begin the job of synthesis and continue the design process.

Residential projects generally require less intensive programming graphics. 
Programming is a significant element of the residential design process; however, the relationships, adjacencies, and organization of the space are often simplified in relation to large commercial and public spaces. For this reason the following discussion focuses primarily on commercial design, where a significant amount of visual communication of programming information is often required. Clients, consultants, and designers require graphic analysis as a way of understanding programming data and information. Diagrams, charts, matrices, and visual imagery are comprehended with greater ease than pages of written documentation. 
It is useful to develop ways of sorting and simplifying programming information so that it can be easily assimilated. Successful graphic communication of both the programming process and the programming report can help to create useful information from overwhelming mounds of raw data. A sample project created to illustrate the drawings and graphics used in the various phases of the design project is referenced throughout this chapter. Figure 2-2a contains written programming information regarding the sample project. Figure 2-2b is a floor plan indicating the given architectural parameters of the project.

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