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an introduction to PREDESIGN

an introduction to PREDESIGN

by Naresh Shah with Prasad Anaokar

Copyright Š Naresh K. Shah 2015 All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright here on may be reproduced or used in any form by means - graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrival system, without the permission of the copyright holder in writing. Disclaimer All photographs and text used in this book have been provided by the authors. Views expressed in this book are of the author and do not necessairly reflect those of the editors or publishers. First published in India in 2015 by National Institute of Advanced Studies in Architecture (The Academic unit of the Council of Architecture, New Delhi) Second edition. Published by Price: Rs. xxx Editor and research: Prasad Anaokar Computer graphics: Prasad Kulkarni Layout design: Ameya Athavankar Freehand graphics and cover design: Naresh Shah Printed at: Padmarekha Arts All reasonable attempts have been to trace, clear and credit the copyright holders of the images reproduced in this book. However, if any credits have been inadvertently omitted, the publisher will endeavour to incorporate amendment in future editions.

If there was one serious art which should always be the slave of reason and common sense, then that art is architecture. Eugene Viollet-le-Duc

If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend fifty-five minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the solutions. Albert Einstein

Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design. Charles Eames

To Aai, Bappa and Aai

Foreword by Professor Uday Gadkari President, Council of Architecture September 2014

I met Ar. Naresh Shah and Ar. Prasad Anaokar an year and a half ago and they had already a lot to talk about predesign. The necessity of ‘Predesign’ to precede the design process was well articulated by them. They have been conducting workshops on this topic for young teacher-architects through NIASA. The response and inquisitiveness has been overwhelming and has encouraged them to come out with an introductory book on PREDESIGN. In most of the schools, while introducing the design problem after a small introductory speech, the design brief is given in printed form and students are asked to carry out case studies. This task usually ends up with irrelevant & non-contextual studies of typologically-similar buildings, to the convenience of all. Choosing of the site is also done in casual manner resulting into a unrealistically flat & rectangular site with road on one or two sides. The site is thus chosen without even bothering to know what exists in and around it. Showing ‘North’ in site plan is made a default requirement, devoid of its implications of in terms of wind flows, sun path, shadow, heat, glare etc. Thus the ‘Design-brief’ is created & distributed as if it is the full and final religious ritual book from which the students need to start designing. Not knowing how to process the given information majority of the students remain clueless about how to begin.

Students’ unawareness of programmatic & rational elements of design is apparent in final juries of the architectural design projects. Most juries focus on issues related to locations of individual functions, quality of space for different functions, relationship of the different activities, spaces etc., instead of focusing on design elements like space, proportions, structure, fenestration, etc. The authors have successfully addressed these issues in this book. The predesign process has been articulately illustrated with crisp notes making the book an interesting learning experience. The constituents of architectural predesign viz. the design-program, site-analysis, scheduling and budget are well illustrated and explained in simple language. In fact the whole book is presented as a matter of common sense where the predesign process is demonstrated as a collection and analysis of huge data which goes into rational decision-making. The glossary and bibliography acts as additional research material for furthering the understanding in this field. This book shall be of immense use for all would-be architects and young professionals. I am sure the day is not far when the “predesign process” will become an integral part of curriculum of architectural schools across the country. I congratulate the authors for this splendid endeavor.

The importance of being rational an introduction by Chirstopher Benninger

The journey of the human race over the millennia has been a search for order, predictability and a more secure life. One of humanity’s most profound discoveries was that to manage anything, it must be measureable, and to find security on this precarious earth one must have an empirical method of testing what is seen to be true, against what is thought to be true! It is through such a search for innovation, design, and yes, creativity that mankind has informed itself with procedures and methods that yield solutions that work towards the creation of a world order; an order in the little things and in the big things; an order in our civic life and in the things we make! We have come to realize in our human relations that recognizing our emotions, allows us to filter them through our rational minds, and only then act rationally. This has proved better than the “cave man approach” of hitting a friend over the head because he disagrees! In our daily lives we recognize people as considerate and articulate who apply this simple procedure in their dialogues, and we begin to realize that the truly smart people apply logical methods and rational procedures even in their day to day thinking processes. Thus, good architecture and town planning should be grounded upon, and advanced through, the simple

premises that there are rational procedures that one follows, taking us on a logical journey, step by step, towards problem solving! Unfortunately, bad, yet famous, designers have mystified architecture. There are charlatans who say, “Listen to the clients, and then do what you want; look at the land, and then flatten it; study your heritage and then build a glass tower!” This approach will lead you to frustration and your clients to the courts! Architecture is a curious craft wherein most designers start an inquiry with an odd shape or a curious form in their mind, rebuking the history of empirical thought, and emphasizing their self-importance as creative geniuses. They think that a few photos of their weird follies will put them on Page 3 along with strip tease dancers and drug addicts! This “upside-down” approach is based on the wrong starting point that great architecture is “different,” and to be great we must design something really crazy! This misconception has been nurtured through decades of misguided teaching, by frustrated little Michelangelo’s, all thinking that the secret of success lies in that eureka moment of creative inspiration, in which a building that looks like a duck is revealed as THE SOLUTION!

Beginning points in architectural design are not sitting under a tree awaiting for an apple to fall on your head, but are in exciting explorations into the client’s brief and how it converts into a building program; studying the site and listening to how it tells you what to do and not to do; searching out available craftspeople, local materials and the kinds of technologies that marry these two resources into a construction process; and finally studies of the relevant precedents of similar problems and how others have solved them. Thinking of the budget and the schedule right in the beginning is what responsible professional do! These kinds of beginning points and initial studies are what inform one’s mind about the nature of the animal one is trying to create. Looking around us we see a lot of bad architecture in the form of strange stunts, thrown out on the streets like garbage out of the window, by notorious self-aggrandizing personalities whose only purpose in life seems to become famous. What they are achieving is notoriety in the same manner criminals and corrupt politicians do! What I request of young architects is to be humble innovators, following simple procedures. What will surprise you is that within rational processes you will begin to develop an instinctive link between your mind, your pencil holding hand, and blank sheets of paper onto which truly insightful ideas flow! The two lobes of your brain will be functioning in tandem, one following the steps and moving forward, and the other teasing you to rearrange and rediscover things. Only a rational design process can unleash this amazing phenomenon. Naresh Shah, with Prasad Anaokar, has written An Introduction to Pre-design, so you don’t have to fumble

around in your searches for solutions. It helps you become a rational, empirical innovator. It makes it clear to you that you are a professional in pursuit of truth, and that truth lies within each project-problem you encounter.






What is predesign

18 20 22 24 26 28

Predesign dynamics Predesign is NOT design Analysis vs. Synthesis What makes a predesigner? The predesign team

30 32 36 38

Collect data Analyse data Make decisions

The predesign process

The documentation process


Architectural programming

42 44 50 52 64

Goals and Objectives Define Users Functional Requirements – Qualitative Functional Requirements – Quantitative

Site Analysis

72 74 82 90 98

Establish Budget 100 Establish Schedule 101 Balance Predesign Elements 102 Establish Design Criteria 104 Conclusion 106

Notes and References 108 Bibliography 116 Photograph Credits 118

Context and Vicinity Project site Site program Site selection criteria


A few years ago, at a Design Jury I noticed that the majority of comments by the jury were directed not at the design, but at the building functions and site plan. The comments were made on the size, locations and orientation of individual functions, their proximities with each other and overall circulation patterns. Similarly, comments were made on the building placement, orientation, locations of other site elements and relationships with each other. It was clear that most of the students had spent little or no time and effort to understand the building requirements or the site potential. As a result, the whole discussion was ‘short circuited’ due to glaring mistakes that could have been avoided prior to starting the design. At another instance, students were designing a performing arts project, well into concept designs, pregnant with symbolic form making, when about half of them had never been to any live performance. Apparently nobody thought that it was necessary. At another college, the design brief had built in contradictions that were obvious, but were never clarified. The students had taken the brief as their ‘marching order’ like obedient soldiers, never questioning it. None of this would have happened if the students had tried to understand the problem that they were supposed to solve. They could have used the design brief as a ‘starting point’ and validated it further by 14

doing a bit of research, visual observations, case studies etc. They could have visited the site and the vicinity, analysed the site characteristics and gauged the site potential. All of this, and more, is covered in, Architectural Predesign (1). It is nothing complicated, but rather a matter of common sense. All it does is provide a framework for many things that students are already familiar with. It tells them what steps are to be taken, when and why? Building requirements (architectural program), site plan (site analysis) along with schedule and budget constitute Architectural Predesign (termed as simply predesign, going forward). This is a problem definition by analysis, which is prerequisite to design solution by synthesis. Design and Predesign are two different and distinct activities, requiring different mind-set, different skills and different processes. Predesign, variously known as, space analysis, architectural program, needs assessment, requirement analysis, global specification and design brief, is, comparatively, a new development in professional practice that separates designer from predesigner. In the U.S., predesign is taught in architectural colleges as a separate subject and is included in the professional registration examinations as a separate

subject. Professional contracts stipulate that client provide predesign package to architect at the outset. There are architects who provide this service as specialists, or have a division within the organization for providing that service. Practice of Predesign is not prevalent in India, but the benefits derived from this method for a better and functionally effective design for students cannot be overstated. Granted, that schedule and budget considerations are not critical in academic field, but architectural program and site analysis will go a long way in preparing the students for the design challenge. This will take them halfway there and possibly “demystify� the design process.

In this light, we are extremely gratified by the interest shown by the Council of Architecture in Predesign. Their encouragement and support for student seminars, faculty training and publication of this book lead us to believe, that we can answer those questions from the students, more positively, in future.

The basis for this book is our seminars and workshops for students. We hope that this book will generate more interest in the students to study this subject further. We are often asked by students during our seminar why this subject is not a part of their curriculum. We are also asked by the students if they could pursue further studies on this subject. As pleased as we are with the questions, we have no answers for them. There is good body of reference books (see Notes and References section), on this subject. We believe that sooner or later, the need of Predesign will be felt, both by clients and architects, resulting in Predesign finding its’ way in the Architectural curriculum. 15


Although I teach predesign, I must confess that I am neither a teacher, nor a “predesigner”. During my 35 years of career in the US, I have done a lot of design, construction documentation, project management etc. like most architects. In mid-seventies I was working in the facilities department at a college campus. We had a division of planning and programming. That was the first time I was exposed to architectural programming. But I did not know truly, what architectural programming was till I came across the book “Problem Seeking” written by William Pena (2). Since then I had my share of writing programs both as an architect and also as owner’s representative. But I have mainly used programs as prelude to my designs extensively throughout my career. Earlier, through the writings of Christopher Alexander (3), F. Buckminster Fuller (4), Victor Papanek (5) and Charles Eames (6), I was exposed to a new way of looking at architecture and design. I had the good fortune of attending lectures by Fuller and Eames, while still in Mumbai. It was my classmate, Prof. Uday Athavankar, Emeritus fellow, Bajaj Chair Professor at Industrial Design Centre - IIT Bombay, who coaxed me gently out of retirement and pointed me towards architectural programming. 16

During a stint as a visiting lecturer, along with fellow lecturer, Prasad Anaokar we tried to introduce the concept of predesign, but the results were mixed. We both felt the need for introducing predesign to students outside the academic set up. As a result, we developed a seminar / workshop for students, with no guarantee that any college would host our seminar. This book is largely based on those seminars, which have undergone revisions based on interactions with students. Prasad brings, along with his enthusiasm and commitment, a scholarly base to the subject and has already done a considerable research on “Innovation through Predesign”. These seminars led to our formation of “Yojaka”, a group dedicated to education, promotion and practice of Predesign. My schoolmate, the eminent scientist Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar, encouraged our effort and advised us to “scale this up” if we wanted to make any impact. His concept of “Gandhian Engineering” (less for more, for more people) was an ideal model to follow but difficult achieve. The help in “scaling this up” came from Prof. Uday Gadkari, President of the Council of Architecture, who was familiar with our seminars and wanted to spread the awareness of predesign nation-wide.

Prof. Jayashree Deshpande, Director, NIASA (7) provided the logistical support and guidance for student seminars as well as faculty training programs at NIASA. This book is a logical extension of the Council’s continuing support. The production team for the book consisting of Prasad Kulkarni and Ameya Athavankar headed by Prasad Anaokar gave the final touches for the ‘print ready’ file for the book. Prof. Gaurish Chandvarakar of I.E.S College of Architecture, Mumbai gave us permission to use the ‘Art Centre’ project used during the predesign seminar for the faculty, as the basis for “Community Arts Centre” as an example project for this book. I am overwhelmed by the support from various sources in the past six months, and would not have imagined that I would be writing this book. For that I am grateful to all. I hope that this book helps the students who are struggling with their designs.


What is Predesign Predesign dynamics Predesign is not design Analysis vs. synthesis What makes a Predesigner? The Predesign team

In the architectural development process, the clients are supposed to get what they want (architectural program), where they want it (site), when they want it (schedule) and for a price they can afford (budget). Development typically starts with clients communicating their needs to the architect, the architect communicating with the contractor through design, contractor constructing the facility to confirm with the design and finally, the client occupying the facility. The problem lies with first two activities, wherein the architect continues defining the client’s needs through the design process. This requires multiple sets of revisions throughout the design process as the information from the client keeps trickling in. Its impact on schedule and budget cannot be ascertained till the design is finalized. Any adjustments required due to these two constraints result in time consuming and expensive re-design.

The predesign process eliminates this problem by balancing the client’s needs with the site, scheduling and budgetary constraints. In a way, it simulates the design process to uncover all such issues ahead of time at a little cost. In business parlance, this acts as the most effective risk management tool for development projects. Thus, the predesign process precedes the design process and as such, is the first step in the overall architectural development process.

Development Process

Development Questions

Predesign Elements 19

The Predesign process Collect data Analyse data Make decisions

Pre-design process consists of three steps, namely Data Collection, Data Analysis and Decision Making. These decisions are then documented to produce the Pre-Design package which acts as the basis for the design.

In design project the end result of the research and analysis is not as detailed as the thesis but a pre-design document that is brief and precise. In addition to the client’s needs, this document has all the necessary information that a designer needs.

The pre-design processes for thesis project and design project are similar, except for sequencing and the degree of detail due to availability of time. In thesis project, students have to do a detailed research and analysis for the given subject, which could be generic or specific. The end result of their efforts is a thesis that lays out a context and culminates into selection of a project for design. This is the additional work they do prior to selection of the design project. From here on the pre-design process for thesis and design projects is the same.

In case of design projects, due to the scheduling constraints in the academic calendar, not enough time and attention is given for pre-design. The amount of time to be allocated for the pre-design varies between projects of different complexities. However, it needs to be proportionate to the total time available for the design. A 15% to 20% time should be adequate for pre-design. The Pre-Design Seminar/Workshop, which is the basis for this book, was created to address this issue.

The workshop lasts for three to four days where the students are “immersed” in the subject of pre-design. Although this exposes students to pre-design process, its duration is too short to make the real difference, especially if it is not followed through in the design studio. In our subsequent workshops for architectural faculty, this issue gets discussed very often. There seems to a consensus that pre-design should be a part of the curriculum sooner than later. In the meanwhile, there should be recognition that the time spent on pre-design will result in a better design within the same time-frame for design project. One of the ways of saving time is by dividing some tasks of data collection among students. In this case, different groups do the data collection and make presentation to the class. This encourages discussion and debate in the class, leading to analysis and ultimate consensus.

Similar, group methodology can be used effectively in analysing functions, relationships between functions, where each group assumes identity of users, management, owner and other stakeholder. The success of this type of group methodology depends largely on the coordinator. A faculty member, acting as a surrogate client is an ideal choice for this. A coordinator controls the debates, maintains time limits, questions the assumptions, plays devil’s advocate, allows discussion of all views and steers the debate towards conclusion. Despite this, certain activities are to be performed by individuals and not by group. These include initial presentation by the “surrogate” client, site visits to existing facilities and the documentation. The rigours of quantitative and qualitative analysis help students to understand the building and the site, which aids them in design.


The documentation process

As noted earlier, documentation is both a working tool and a final product. As one progresses, one learns more and more about the project, which is recorded in the documents with subsequent revisions in other documents. It is crucial to observe the sequence of documentation as listed ahead. They start with Architectural Program, followed by Site Analysis. This completes the architectural and site program. Next two documents are about budget and schedule, which do not apply to architectural students, but are included for reference. These four sections constitute the pre- design elements and they are balanced in the next section. In professional practice none of these four elements are final till they all are in sync with each other. It should be noted that these documents are means of communication with the client during the predesign

process. Much of the data is easily communicated in graphic form, as indicated. Graphics help convey ‘qualitative and quantitative’ data much more effectively. Once finalized, these documents become the basis for subsequent design.

Data collection and Documentation Matrix 41

Architectural programming Goals & Objectives Define Users Functional requirements- Qualitative Functional requirements - Quantative

Architectural program originally meant what Predesign means now (25). It included site analysis, budget and schedule. In this case, it refers only to the functional requirements of interior spaces without any reference to site, budget and schedule, since they are the other three elements of Predesign. This section starts with Goals and Objectives, which form the basis for developing the program (See Note #16 for different programming processes). Their role cannot be underestimated. One of the objectives is the construction of a facility (26). It describes the facility with major functions. The program describes all the functions. This is followed by the qualitative and quantitative analysis of functional requirements.

It is important to follow the prescribed sequence. Quantitative analysis should always follow the qualitative analysis. Area requirements for the spaces should always be determined after understanding the activities and the way they are conducted. The development of the program is the most important element of predesign. The size of the facility, its’ footprint on the site, its cost and the schedule for construction is all contingent upon the program. And if the program is not validated by the other elements, it is subject to revisions in order to conform to these elements.


FUNCTIONAL/ SPACE RELATIONSHIP DIAGRAM Sometimes referred to as “Bubble Diagram” this is a graphic summary of all relationships explored in previous documentation (31). Each bubble represents a space, connected by arrows showing the relationship. The user relationship can be shown by colour coded arrows or colour coded spaces as shown. For complex relationships, it is customary to break down the spaces into smaller groupings and do two levels of diagrams. In the first level, each bubble represents a group, while as in the second level, each bubble represents spaces within that group. Additional information such as, visual contact or privacy, audio privacy, desirable exterior view, natural light, separate entries and exits are also added. The diagram on the opposite page can illustrate the overall circulation patterns for users very effectively. Students have to remember that the relationship diagrams go several layers deep. Each layer acts as a ‘system’ in itself & each system is connected to other systems to complete the picture. One needs to go back-and-forth between the relationship diagram and the relationship matrix many times till all stakeholders agree on the final ‘systems’ design (32).


EXAMPLE: Community Art Centre - Performing Arts Theatre - Functional relationship diagram


Site Analysis Context and Vicinity Project Site Site program Site Selection Criteria

Site Analysis is the second of the four elements of Predesign. Site analysis is an evaluation of the site with reference to architectural program as well as budget and schedule. It is our experience that in academic design projects site is either completely ignored or relegated to the status of a mere background for the building (34). It needs to be clearly understood that building does not exist in a vacuum. Building design is influenced as much by the site characteristics as it is by the architectural program. If one considers the basic function of architecture, namely, providing a shelter for human activities, the shelter is for protection from inclement weather, which is a site characteristic. Majority of the site features along with the climate influence the building design. These include contextual factors like zoning, building regulations, traffic pat-

terns, and physical characteristics like shape, area, presence of water bodies, rock outcroppings, wooded areas, adjoining buildings and so on. In the tight urban sites, locations such as island site, infill sites, corner sites and their shapes influence the building design, sometimes more dominantly than the architectural program. “Wedding Cake� architectural Style of old skyscrapers in cities like New York, Chicago etc. are good examples of building codes dictating architectural styles. In this case it is a result of increasing setback lines required at higher elevations (35). Site Analysis, as an element of predesign, validates the adequacy of the given site to accommodate the architectural program (building footprint) and other necessary site improvements.

I never design a building before I’ve seen the site and met the people who will be using it. Frank Lloyd Wright

Secondly, it analyses the site to understand its’ character, its’ opportunities (positives) and its’ issues (negatives) A good design will enhance the positives by using the opportunities, and by mitigating the issues. A great designer will convert the issues into opportunities and making it into design feature. In the name of expediency, flattening the problem site by bulldozing it is the norm, but there are many examples of “problems” such as steep slopes, water bodies, rock outcroppings and irregular shapes becoming design features. From Falling Water House by Frank Lloyd Wright in Pennsylvania, East Wing of National Gallery of Art by I. M. Pei in Washington D.C. and Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species by Shirish Beri in Hyderabad, the examples span decades and continents (36).


Establish budget

Budget is the third element of Predesign that has limited scope for academic field, but has great significance in professional practice Following information is provided to students for reference purposes only.

surances, accounting and administration costs (soft costs) are included in the budget. Site acquisition costs are sometimes included in this at clients’ discretion.

All costs relating to development have to be justified on the basis of “return on investment� (44). A business plan for development establishes the budget. Predesign is supposed to validate this budget, or, if not established, then develop a budget.

A pre- design contingency is added to allow for the fact that this is a projection of construction costs of a building that is yet to be designed.

In establishing a budget, it should be for the entire development process, to include predesign, design, construction and fixtures, furnishing and equipment. To allow for escalation, projected prices at construction start or midpoint are used. In addition to site development and building construction costs (hard costs), other costs for design fees, permits, taxes, in-

Establish schedule

Schedule is the fourth element of Predesign and, like budget, has limited scope for academic field. Following information is provided to students for reference purposes only. For some building types schedule is more important than others. Building types such as schools and colleges, shopping malls, offices, factories etc. have deadlines to meet. For schools, opening days are important, for shopping malls, holiday seasons are important. For a large retail store, in addition to the building completion, they have to order supplies, hire staff, train the staff, order “long lead� equipment’s and launch an advertising campaign. Scheduling, similar to budgeting, has to cover the entire development process. Milestones are established for each activity based on the time (days) required to finish it. At each milestone, a client review and ap-

proval time needs to be added. The entire timeframe needs to be checked against the season in which the activities are scheduled. Excavations for underground utilities or building foundations, for instance, becomes very expensive and time consuming, if scheduled during rainy season.

Balance predesign elements

As stated previously, all four elements of predesign, namely, architectural program, site analysis, budget and schedule need to be balanced. In other words, they validate each other. At the start of the project, it is possible that three out of these four elements are given. In order to achieve a balance at least one of these four has to be a variable. In majority of cases, this variable is architectural program, since the site, budget and schedule are, most often, determined ahead of time. At the outset, very sketchy information about the building and its’ components is available. One has to go through the entire process to come up with an architectural program that provides tangible numbers both for area as well as cost. For the client, this is the first look at how large the

building is and how much it costs. This new information, now, needs to be validated by the site, the budget and the schedule. Let’s for example take a scenario where the program area is large. This will affect the budget. In order to bring it within the budget we may have to reduce the area. We know that gross area can be reduced by lowering the building quality (from luxurious to moderate) or, by reducing the net assignable areas. Both of these alternatives affect the quality and the efficiency of the program. The same program may be too large to be accommodated on the site. This may require accommodating other site functions such as parking, within the basement or the super structure. This may keep the program intact but will affect the budget due additional construction costs. This will

take more time than providing a surface parking lot. As can be seen, each one of these “balances” has ‘”pro and cons” that affect the program. For architectural students, even without the concerns for budget or schedule, the balance between the program and site is crucial.


Establish design criteria When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty, but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. Charles Eames

It is customary to include design criteria in the predesign document depending on the client’s preferences. For design competition it is a must, since the participants should know in advance how their design is to be evaluated. Including the design criteria in predesign section presents a problem for students, since there is no real client but a surrogate client. But this problem can be turned into an opportunity, by asking the students to develop the design criteria themselves. This has dual advantage. One is that in the class assignment, since majority of the documentation is done by the group, design criteria by individual student will lend individuality to the predesign. Secondly, in the transition period between predesign and design, this gives the students an opportunity to recall things that might have inspired then during the course of predesign. Design criteria expresses the desire of the client to

project certain image of the building consistent with their goals and objectives, the building type , the context of the neighbourhood, the nature of the business, their concern for the environment and so on and so forth. This is rendered in a general “broadbrush” style, without being too specific or detailed. Any one of these client’s desires may coincide with the student’s impressions gathered during the predesign process. And these impressions could be the inspiration for design. Students will find it extremely useful to jot down their thoughts in writing, and not in any graphic form. It can be a page or two, a paragraph, a sentence or even a word (generally an adjective). This is as close the students should get to design (in the predesign process), and no more. The last exercise helps pass the “baton” to the next level – the design process.


Know the building know the site then.. and only then design.

Architectural Programming


Site Analysis

Good buildings don’t just happen. They are planned to look good and perform well, and come about when good architects and good clients join in thoughtful, cooperative effort. Programming the requirements of a proposed building is the architect’s first task, often the most important. William M. Peña


Notes and references

1. A  rchitectural programming itself has many definitions. According to Palmer (1981), “it is an organized collection of the specific information about the client’s requirements which the architect needs in order to design a particular facility”. Pena (2001) defined architectural programming as defining the architectural problem process, while designing as the architectural solution’s process. Cherry (1999) defined architectural programming as the research and decision-making process that defines the architectural problem to be solved. Sanoff (1977) defined the architectural program as communicable statement of intent of the architectural design. Duerk (1993) defined architectural programming as a systematic method of inquiry that delineates the context within which the designing must be done as well as defines the requirements that a successful project must meet. Brill (1970) defined the architectural programming as method to describe range of specific human


requirements a building must satisfy in order to support and enhance the performance of human activities. Hershberger (1999) defined architectural programming as a definitional stage of design – the time to discover the nature of the design problem, rather than the nature of the design solution. Preiser’s (1978) definition of architectural programming focused on human behaviour and value systems. 2. A  rchitectural programming has its roots in the problem-solving process. Based on the initial efforts, William Pena and William Caudill published, in 1959, an article in the Architectural Record – Architectural analysis – a prelude to good design. Pena and Focke, in 1977, published a book called Problem Seeking, which became a textbook for generations of architects who saw programming as a way to clarify the design efforts (Cherry 1999).

3. C  hristopher Alexander (born October 4, 1936 in Vienna, Austria) is an architect noted for his theories about design, and for more than 200 building projects in California, Japan, Mexico, and around the world. Reasoning that users know more about the buildings they need than any architect could, he produced and validated (in collaboration with Sarah Ishikawa and Murray Silverstein) a “Pattern language” designed to empower anyone to design and build at any scale. Though “Pattern Language” became his most famous contribution towards development of a design process, an often overlooked book was a pre-cursor to Pattern language “The Synthesis of Form”. First published in 1964, in the “Synthesis of Form” Alexander discusses the process by which a form is adapted to the context of human needs and demands that has called it into being. 4. R  ichard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller, (July 12, 1895 – July 1, 1983)[1] was an American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, and futurist. Fuller published more than 30 books, coining or popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth”, ephemeralization, and synergetic. He also developed numerous inventions, mainly architectural designs (inexpensive shelter) & transportation, and popularized the widely known geodesic dome. 5. V  ictor Papanek (22 November 1923, Vienna – 10 January 1998, Lawrence, Kansas) was a designer and educator who became a strong advocate of the socially and ecologically responsible design of products, tools, and community infrastructures. He disapproved of manufactured products that were unsafe, showy, maladapted, or essentially useless. His products, writings, and lectures were collectively considered an example and spur by many designers. Papanek was a philosopher of design and as such he was an untiring, eloquent promoter of design aims and approaches that would be sensitive to social and ecological considerations. He combined all

this thoughts in the book “Design for the Real World”. It was first published in 1970 & later translated in 23 languages. His voice, like that of his contemporaries Buckminster Fuller and EF Schumacher, inspired design professionals the world over. His words are more relevant now, if not more so, than when first penned. 6. C  harles and Ray Eames are among the most important American designers of this century. They are best known for their ground-breaking contributions to architecture, furniture design (e.g., the Eames chair), industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts. The Government of India had asked for recommendations on a programme for training in Design that would serve as an aid to the small industries; and that would resist the then rapid deterioration in design and quality of consumer goods. Charles & Ray Eames visited India for three months at the invitation of the Government, to explore the problems of design and to make recommendations for a training programme. The Eames toured throughout India, making a careful study of the many centres of design, handicrafts and general manufacture. They talked with many persons, official and non-official, in the field of small and large industry, in design and architecture, and in education. The report emerged as a result of their study and discussions. Following the report, the Government set up the National Institute of Design (NID) in 1961 as an autonomous national institution for research, service and training in Industrial Design and Visual Communication. 7. National Institute of Advance Studies in Architecture (NIASA), an academic Unit of Council of Architecture, was instituted in July 2005, as the first institute of architecture initiated jointly by the Council of Architecture (COA) and the Centre for Development Studies & Activities (CDSA). It is a national level institute of excellence that facilitates advanced research in the various fields of architecture, to teachers of architecture, professionals 109


1. A  merican Institute of Architects; The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice; John Wiley and Sons, NJ; (2008)

The Behavioral Basis of Design, EDRA proceedings, Stroudsburg, PA; Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross Inc.; (1977)

2. C  ross, Nigel; The coming of Post-Industrial Design; Design Studies; IPC Business Press Ltd.; (1981)

7. F arbstein J; The definition and description of Activity; Journal of Architectural Research; (1974)

3. C  herry, Edith; Programming for Design: From Theory to Practice; John wiley and Sons, New York; (1999)

8. H  ershberger, Robert; Architectural Programming andPre-design manager; McGraw-Hill, New York; (1999)

4. D  uerk, Donna; Architectural Programming: Information Management for Design; John Wiley and Sons, New York; (1993)

9. H  arfield, Steve; On design ëproblematizationí: Theorizing differences in designed outcomes; Design studies; (2007)

5. D  avis, S.; The Form of Housing; Van Nostrand Reinhold, New-York; (1981)

10. Kumlin, Robert; Architectural Programming - Creative Techniques for Design Professionals; McGraw Hill Publications, New York (1995)

6. Farbstein J; Assumptions in Environmental Planning;


11. Palmer, M. A ; The ArchitectĂ­s Guide to Facility Programming; Washington DC: The American Institute of Architects; (1981) 12. Pena, William and Parshall, Steve; Problem Seeking: An Architectural Programming Primer; John Wiley and Sons, New York; (2001)

21. Simon, H A; The structure of ill-structured problems; Artificial Intelligence; (1973) 22. Sanoff, H.; Methods of Architectural Programming, EDRA proceedings; Stroudsburg, PA; Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross Inc.; (1977)

13. Pena, William and Focke, John; Performance Requirements of Buildings and the Whole Problem, National Bureau of Standards; (1972) 14. Pena, William; Programming Management and Techniques, Conference notes from a national colloquy: Emerging Techniques of Practice Management, Penn State; (1969). 15. Preiser, Wolfgang; Programming the Built Environment; Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York; (1985) 16. Preiser, Wolfgang; Facility Programming, Stroudsburg: Dowden, Hutchinson, and Ross Inc.; (1978) 17. Preiser, Wolfgang; The habitability framework: a conceptual approach towards linking human behavior and physical environment; Design Studies; (1983) 18. Perkinson, Gregory; An information Framework for Facility Programming; MasterĂ­s Thesis, The Pennsylvania State University - College of Engineering; (1991) 19. Rittel, H W J and Webber, M. M.; Dilemmas in a general theory of planning Policy Sciences; (1973) 20. Robinson, J. W.& Weeks, J. S.; Programming Design, Journal of Architectural Education; (1983)


Photograph credits

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Naresh Shah has a B.Arch from Mumbai University (1966). In his career spanning 35 years in the U.S.; he was certified by NCARB (U.S.) and was licensed to practice architecture in about 10 states. He was also member of the American Institute of Architects. In India he is life member of the Indian Institute of Architects. Naresh is the founder member of Yojaka-Predesign and Alumni association of Sir. J.J. College of Architecture (AJJA).

Prasad Anaokar has a G.D. Arch from Mumbai and M.Arch and M.S.I.S from U.S. He is member of the Council of Architecture. In his career spanning 22 years, he has worked as an architect, urban-designer & planner in several countries all over the world. He is actively involved in teaching design in several colleges in Mumbai, where he is focusing on alternative teaching methods for the lower classes. He also consults with the Industrial Design Center (IDC) at IIT-Bombay on several design & innovation related project. Prasad is the founder partner of twobythree - an innovation focused enterprise.

Naresh Shah, with Prasad Anaokar, has written An Introduction to Pre-design, so you don’t have to fumble around in your searches for solutions. It helps you become a rational, empirical innovator. It makes it clear to you that you are a professional in pursuit of truth, and that truth lies within each project-problem you encounter. From introduction by Christopher Benninger

This book shall be of immense use for all the would- be architects and young professionals. I am sure the day is not far when ‘pre-design’ process becomes a part of architectural curriculum of schools across the country. From Preface by Professor Uday Gadkari, President Council of Architecture

Yojaka Predesign - 2009 to Present email: Yojaka Predesign, founded in 2009, is an informal group of architects engaged in introducing the concept of Predesign in India. Its primary focus is on education and promotion of Predesign to architectural students, faculty, professionals and their clientele. As for the Education, Yojaka Predesign has conducted Predesign seminars in colleges, in Maharashtra, Goa and Odisha since 2009. Yojaka Predesign has also conducted Predesign seminars for architectural faculty organized by N.I.A.S.A (the Council of Architecture, India).This book was first published by The COA in August 2015 and distributed to over 400 architectural colleges throughout India. The book is currently out of print, and this e-book edition is an attempt to make it available readily and inexpensively, to architectural faculty and students alike Yojaka Predesign is planning future seminars for architectural professionals, facility planners and institutional clients. It has also created a Facebook community to provide a platform for exchange of news, ideas and initiative being taken to spread the word of predesign.

An introduction to Pre design  

The practice of pre-design is not prevalent in India, but the benefits derived from this method for a better and functionally effective desi...

An introduction to Pre design  

The practice of pre-design is not prevalent in India, but the benefits derived from this method for a better and functionally effective desi...