Building Cost Planning for the Design Dana House - Paper Example

Published: 2021-08-18 11:22:20
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Boston College
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Research paper
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Designed and built Ulrich Franzen, Dana House is one of the complete beauties of its kind. The house sits on a 5,500 square feet of space. Since 1963, the structure has undergone little changes to its design making it the most well-maintained and most complete work of Ulrich Franzen. Still maintained in the original house are the white oak fittings, glass doors, windows and light panels. The house boasts of typical Prairie style which is featured on the outside by low horizontal roofs, rows of ribbon art windows, and vast overhanging attics. On the inside, the house is described by centralized fireplace and hearth, raised main living partition, and open floor plan.

In conceptualizing and developing a building, a design brief and initial concept a critical element that determines the success of the process. These two aspects are affected by various factors which are inseparable from the design and construction processes. Among the leading factors are circumstances philosophy, abstraction, and typology (Keeler, Marian, & Prasad, 113).


Studying climatic characteristics of an area is essential when considering sites for building construction. The specific conditions to consider are sun, clouds, wind, temperature, humidity, and precipitation. Climatic conditions considerations ensure that the occupants of the house enjoy a thermally comfortable setting with minimal auxiliary heating or cooling. In developing the design for Dana House, Franzen worked with the prevailing climatic conditions rather than against them. Franzen took into considerations the climatic conditions of Connecticut while designing the house. Connecticut enjoys a moderate climate with average January temperatures of -3 degrees Celsius. These low temperatures were catered for in the initial design of the building which was fitted with a thermal system for heating and cooling purposes. With the vast glass window to allow maximum light ensured that the interior of the house is well lit (Keeler et al., 110).

Building characteristics

Dana House has several walls made of glass facing the New Canaan Nature Center and Trust. It is a five bed-room house consisting of lower living room, inner brick walls, wood joists and hardwood surface covering. It is constructed on nine acres of lawns, meadows, orchards, and woods giving the surroundings an exotic feel (Keeler et al., 110). The building has a unique design whereby the private rooms and services spaces in the masonry towers are organized around the central living area making a marquee for the family to leisure. Above the dining room, there is a bedroom and a bath. Still, on the first floor, there are more bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a powder room. Overlooking the rear property is the second deck that extends from the living room and opens through a full glass partitioning.

Site characteristics

In architectural, site design is devoted to the study of climate, legal, historical, infrastructural context and the geographical location. It analysis the topology and the environment in which the building is constructed. There are three sections involved in designing a site. Firstly, the research phase whereby the problem is defined and the resolutions are identified. Secondly, the analysis phase which is based on the site programming and the user analysis and lastly the synthesis phase which oversee the program development and the cost estimate (Keeler et al., 110). During the construction of Dana House, New Canaan, CT, the designer considered the location whereby it is located 15 min walk to the railway station. Based on the neighborhood, it is situated near myriad attractive center and restaurants. It is highly spacious surrounded by human made features and the pleasant climate. The building is secured by Canaan Nature Center and the New Canaan Land Trust.


Geometry refers to the scientific order of building materials. Geometric forms, figures, and transformations dimensions of the element of architectural designs constitute of the primary components of geometry (Marchant & David, 80). Architectural plans are heavily reliant on geometry. Combining the concept of symmetry with the notion of harmony in architectural designs generates a wide range of models that buildings can assume. The architectural space is dependent on the geometrical space, especially in the creation process.

Planning Systems

Planning during construction is a vital but challenging action during the organizing managing and execution of construction schemes. Investing in planning systems will aid in the design and actual development phases by assisting in the preparation of construction plans. Planning systems encompasses the selection of technology, defining work tasks, the approximation of the essential resources, and duration of individual tasks. A well-prepared plan forms the basis for mounting the budget and the programme of job assignments (Gocer, Ozgur, Ying Hua, & Kenan, 64).

For the Dana House, planning systems from the abstraction phase influenced the budgeting and task phasing elements. The architect utilized the prepared plans to come up with the budgetary cost for the whole building

Building archetype

Building archetypes are theoretical models constructions created by a composite of several features found within a category of buildings with a similar set of attributes. Stock modeling that is centered on patterns is taken as a promising tool for exploring the various designs that a house may assume (Marchant & David, 42). Climatic zone, period of construction and building type all influence the building archetypes to be used. However, there other parameters that require to be defined in order to develop the building model. The parameters can be categorized into four collections and they include geometry, construction, systems, and operation.

Building stocks demonstrates the necessary simplification of building models at their conceptual stage. Archetypes considers various levels of details in the classification of the building stock. An archetype is defined by construction parameters and average geometric features. A detailed categorization of a building archetype. For the Dana House, the archetype was categorically detailed in bold design sensibilities (Marchant & David, 56). It envisioned the prairie style residential archetype with flowing interior spaces, overhanging eaves, low-pitched roofs and a distinct horizontal emphasis.

Culture and traditions

In designing and constructing a building culture and traditions play a vital role. Designers ought to have an in-depth knowledge concerning the ways that human beings occupy and use their spaces. Incorporating culture indicates one's capability of recognizing the need for creating a feeling in a building. In definition, cultures refer to the way of life, material, intellectual, and spiritual beliefs of a given community (Smith, Jim, Jaggar, & Peter, 65).

In conjunction with climate, culture affects the way people utilize their space. These two elements are inherent in designing buildings that will serve people well in the specific setting. Despite the dependencies between the two factors, the relation is not linear and straightforward (Marchant & David, 69). Architectural designs are a result of various socio-cultural factors seen in their broadest terms. A building structure that makes a beneficial use of this information has a high probability of to adapt well to the surrounding cultures and climatic condition of the area while it creates a peaceful coexistence with social practices and anticipations of its users (Smith et al 65).

Architectural designs of a building echo the culture in every society integrated with structural specifics, economic, political, historical, and social features of the community.

Dana House reflects the interest in organic architecture and Japanese aesthetic which were expressed in Japanese prints. Dana's dream was to show the world that her city is an epitome of progress and culture (Gocer et al, 23). A visitor walking through the domed entrance with its glare of mental butterflies experiences the splendor of wild sumac recreated in stained glass windows. The prairie architecture which is done in a bold and distinctive manner is drawn from the study of nature and the aspiration to bring out its magnificence in form of a building (Baker, Nick & Koen, 71). Dana specified that the housing outlook should envision the way of life of the Fairfield. In essence, the house places particular interest in the value of art and beauty the people of Fairfield had in their lives.

Ulrich Franzen while designing the Dana House looked at several factors that could have influenced the design brief and the initial concept of the house. Among the relevant factors were building characteristics, site characteristics, geometry, building archetypes, and planning systems. Building characteristics were influenced mainly by the culture and traditions of the surrounding societies. The climate of the area also impacted on the overall outlook of the building. Conditions like wind, cloud, sun, and precipitation were catered for in the initial design. On the part of sunlight, the building is fitted with enormous glass window for maximum lighting conditions. For the hot and cold season, the house has a thermal system installed for regulating the room temperatures depending on the season. Dana House archetypes heavily dictated the building design geometry in that; the latter was formulated in strict adherence to the preferred archetypes.

Works Cited

Baker, Nick, and Koen Steemers. Daylight design of buildings: a handbook for architects and engineers. Routledge, 2014.Gocer, Ozgur, Ying Hua, and Kenan Gocer. "Completing the missing link in building design process: Enhancing post-occupancy evaluation method for effective feedback for building performance." Building and Environment 89 (2015): 14-27.

Keeler, Marian, and Prasad Vaidya. Fundamentals of integrated design for sustainable building. John Wiley & Sons, 2016.Marchant, David. "The design brief: requirements and compliance." Journal of Information Technology in Construction (ITcon) 21.22 (2016): 337-353.

Smith, Jim, D. M. Jaggar, and Peter Love. Building cost planning for the design team. Routledge, 2016.



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