|Proposed Site Plan|
|Open Meadow by the Road|
The man-made features on the site include a old farm path leading up the hill, a rudimentary stream crossing (which did not meet current standards and needed to be upgraded), meandering old stone walls at some property lines, and utility poles along the edge of the road. These features are all shown on the survey as well. In a neighborhood or a smaller site, neighboring buildings would be taken into consideration, so the placement of the new building fits in (see NHND post showing a site plan in a village HERE ) but on this site, we have no "context" like that that we need to be sympathetic to.
The physical conditions, like soil type, were looked at by the engineer to determine the design of the SDS system. He also determined the volume of water (design is always for the worst case - the 100 year flood) that will be coming down that hillside so as to design proper drainage for the driveway, and around the structures. This helps set the finish floor elevation and the garage slab elevation so that the building is up enough to be dry, without having its foundation sticking out too much. It also helps us figure out the grading into the garage for a car and setting that so that we don't need an excessive amount of steps between garage and house.
|Correctly designed overhangs let in winter sun and block summer sun|
One of the most important things I look at during the site analysis is the solar orientation. Following the track of the sun across the sky helps layout what rooms might go where and informs the orientation of the long axis of the building. When at all possible, it's best to have the long axis north-south with an eave overhang for shading in summer. Creating a diagram of the height of the sun in winter (when we want to let the sun it the house) and summer (when we want to shade the house from the sun) informs the size of the roof overhangs.
|Site Analysis informs design of house|
The SDS system and it's expansion area were placed where the soils could handle the percolation required. The house site was decided to be on a level-ish area not-too-far up the hill in the woods with the house oriented such that it's long axis faces south for ideal solar advantage. A walk-out basement recreation room could be incorporated in the northwest corner where the grade slopes down toward the pond. The garage could be tucked behind on the north, not blocking light or the view of the beautiful house as one approaches. (us architects always want to hide the cars/garage) The south/front of the house can have the porch my clients want while also functioning as the entry, and the west side- near the pond- can be the place for the screened porch. Now we are starting to get into program analysis - and that can be the next post.