adjacency and massing

Architect 2d provided us with “massing models” and “adjacency diagrams” for consideration. The adjacency diagrams show the rudiments of our program (rooms we’d like) relative to each other, the lot, and the neighbor’s houses. The massing models show the rudiments of what the buildings look like. The key word here is “rudiments”: there’s still a long ways to go (aesthetics, windows, cat doors).

We presently have three schemes with two permutations for Scheme 1. Scheme 1A is a linear house plan oriented east-west that hugs the southern boundary of the lot. The front of the property has an abstract front wall with an outdoor entry offset from the actual entry. It’s an interesting concept with a simple (at this point) wall separating the inner world from the outer (the bride likes it). With the garage in the back, the outdoor space is divided into three parts: the “public” space at the front, the “living” (and hence shared with guests) space in the middle, and the private space with the garden, worms, and whatnot (including the “master bedroom” outdoor space) in the back.

I’m liking the layout, division of space, and relative privacy of the garage from the street, but I’m not so sure about the abstract wall (unfriendly?), the open driveway hole to the nether reaches of the property (burglary issue?), and the tunnelish entry sequence. I also recognize that each of these issues can be dealt with if we progress with this scheme. (Click images for larger versions)

Scheme 1B moves the garage flush with the “abstract” wall. That takes care of the “burglary issue”, but dissolves the division of outdoor space in the back (meet the worms!). Architect 2d notes that this is probably the most cost effective layout: linear house and minimal driveway.

Scheme 2 has the house massed toward the front of the lot in more of a north-south orientation. The garage is located toward the mid-rear (minimizing the street impact). The back yard is open to the house in a meet-the-worms kinda way (although garden walls could always be put up). Architect 2d notes that this scheme has the best street presence.

Scheme 3 uses a car court approach with a side-entrance garage and turnaround in the front of the property. The “public” spaces of the house (kitchen-dining-living) are separate from the “private” spaces of the house (bedrooms) and connected by the entry/hall. Given the “feature” stairway (it would have to be nice given its location) and the sprawling floorplan, Architect 2d notes that this is prolly the most expensive scheme.

Well, there you have it: three schemes. We meet with the architect soon to discuss. Let us know what you think!

[diagrams by Architect 2d]


  1. Hmmmmm - all good, but like 1a/b and 3 more than 2. I prefer a garage that is close and or connected to the house. Can't stand the thought of walking in the rain (not that it ever rains here anymore) with groceries to the house. However, getting the house fwd on the lot gives you a larger backyard the and if the the garage is further back it could act as a sound barrier from the compressors, so for that reason, 2 is good as well!

    Good luck with the decisions!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks for the comments, Rob. There are, indeed, pros and cons with all of them!

  3. I have no idea how I would choose if I were in your shoes. (It was so easy to find a front facade that we liked and then just go with the floor plan that went with it...with about a gazillion tweaks). Can't wait to see how it unfolds.

    BTW, you sounded very grown-up in the paper today. : )

  4. Thanks, Big D! Yep: hard to choose...

    (my boss likes it when I act growd up.)

  5. Someone mentioned to me yesterday that most of Burnet has been zoned for VMU. Not sure if that's true, but you might want to look into whether that's the case for the stretch behind you, and take that into account in deciding which rooms you would want visible from hypothetical third story apartments behind you (and what windows would be appropriate if that's likely to happen).

  6. Good point. It wouldn't surprise me if it has been zoned VMU (and really should be, truth be told...). I think we'll be OK since the house, at least in Scheme 1, is north-focused. Good for now (it ain't all that purdy behind the lot) and good for the future (in case there's VMU).