In architecture school one of our first projects was creating an abstract design of "solid and void" cubes and we built the models by gluing together sugar cubes. Imagine a toy Rubik's Cube, but with some of the 27 cubes that make it up (if it were solid cubes all the way through) being pushed in or out in some spaces, so the whole was not a smooth-sided 9 x 9 cube, but was instead deconstructed, added to, or changed in some way.
The point of this project (I think!) was to learn about what architects call "massing". Massing is the three dimensional shape of things. When I first start to think about how to add to an existing house, the massing of walls and roof shapes and how/where it makes sense to add new enclosed space from the exterior is the first item on my agenda.
A big part of figuring out what will work is by planning the roof. Here in the northeast (with traditionally-styled residential architecture, anyway) we usually have pitched roofs to allow for drainage, and we often have gutters along the eaves to collect rainwater or snow melt and carry it away from the building. That is the probably the most pragmatic aspect of what I think about when laying out a new addition.
For the Blue House Next to the School, the kitchen addition has a small footprint and extends an existing reverse gable roof line just six more feet into the back yard. (or "garden" as my clients, who lived in England for years, charmingly refer to it.)
Click here to see the before photos in the previous blog post about the addition design for this house.
The other way the massing is going to change on this home is that the roof on the single-story Family Room area (left side in pic above) will be raised and reconfigured with an un-even pitch so that additional spaces (Master Bathroom and Dressing/Closet) can be located up there in what is currently a short, unfinished attic storage space. Adding on by "going up" can be economical since you don't need to put in a foundation. More on that next time...