Interior Design & Space Planning

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  • 0:04 Space Planning in…
  • 1:48 Programming & Pre-Design
  • 2:58 Diagramming & Space Planning
  • 4:17 Block Planning
  • 5:01 Preliminary Design &…
  • 6:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ela Poursani

Ela has taught college Architecture, Interior Design, and Culinary Design and has a doctorate degree in architecture.

Space planning is fundamental to interior design. In this lesson, you'll learn why space planning is important, what it means and involves, and how the process works within the phases of design.

Space Planning in Interior Design

Imagine that your company is growing and finally moving into a larger office. You know the role and importance of efficient use of space in workplace productivity, but you need help with it. Who do you go to?

Interior designers assist in enhancing functionality and many other qualities in interior spaces. They provide building design services to create comprehensive solutions for specific intended purposes or uses called 'programmed interiors.'

Space planning is one of the services of interior design. Actually, it's the most important aspect of the profession; because space planning makes new buildings or, like in your case, existing ones, perform at their best for the special needs and requirements of clients or users.

Space planning is to plan a space with its allocation, divisions, arrangement, and organization to accommodate the functional, spatial, and occupancy requirements in the form of space layout and final planning. This involves creating a space plan, a drawing that shows the arrangement of functional elements within a space.

A space plan is developed by solving many design problems. But space planning is not like mathematics or physics; there is no single correct answer to the problems. Nonetheless, interior designers seek the best working and practical solutions in meeting the required criteria.

As no single answer is correct, there is no single step solution in space planning; it is a process of many phases. This means the planning of your new office space will go through a systematic series of actions, iterations, and decision-making between the phases of pre-design, preliminary design, and design development. Let's look at these in more detail now.

Programming and Pre-Design

At the pre-design phase, the intended purpose for a project is presented to the interior designer. Typically, this presentation includes the program and the site, such as the floor plan of the existing building. The program defines the client's or user's needs and spaces with the square footage required for each function. For example, if you encourage your employees to pedal to work, the program designates bicycle storage as a space need.

The analysis of the program and project requirements is called programming. Programming involves research, data gathering, and qualitative and quantitative analysis of user needs and spaces including the site. In programming, the criteria matrix shows program requirements and spaces in a grid system.

Programming serves as the primary guide for space planning because programming determines the range of functions, use, and activities and standards for space allocation, configuration, and layout (such as ergonomics and codes) to be used in planning. Thus, it's the analysis phase of design where the parameters of design are established.

Diagramming and Space Planning

Space planning begins when programming is completed and the site or the existing building is analyzed. This is marked with diagramming, which also takes place at the pre-design phase. Diagramming involves diagrams as analytical tools and techniques for space planning.

A bubble diagram is one of the graphic abstractions of the program information. Here functions and spaces of your office are illustrated in form of freehand placement of circles on paper. With bubble diagrams, functions are analyzed, interpreted, and arranged through their space needs and relationships. For instance, the break room and office yoga at your office have similar needs as private employee spaces but also different requirements because one is a loud space, the other quiet.

Another technique in diagramming is the adjacency diagram, or relationship diagram, which represents adjacency and proximity relationships between spaces with graphic elements such as arrows. Adjacency diagrams describe the common needs of functions, working spatial relationships, and arrangement of access and circulation between spaces. For instance, when adjacency is considered, the meeting room at your office is planned and diagrammed close to workspaces and distant to the break room.

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