Design encompasses the comprehensive scope of artificial and physical surroundings that constitutes the man-made society meant for living.
The process of designing a building involves the incorporation of different pertinent facts, prioritization, evaluation of their relationships and interlinked actions, and making a plausible blend that addresses all these stages. Buildings design involve putting the conditions and issues set by these different procedures and translating them into a three dimensional space.
Conventionally, building designs are influenced by the needs and characteristics of its users and the environment and climatic conditions. For instance, bamboo huts in tropical countries were created in order to allow better ventilation while Igloos in cold regions were made to trap heat in the dwellings.
The environment on the other hand, ultimately dictates the type of materials available for the buildings. With the growing economic interdependence of nations, the pressing concern over global warming and climate change, and the expansion of responsibility to the global society, the concept of sustainability had been adopted in practically all forms of human undertaking i.e. production innovation, energy generation and building construction in the modern age.
Sustainable development comprised of addressing the needs of the present without compromising quality, within the limited capacity of the environment to fulfill the needs of the future generation.
Client Requirements and Building Objectives
The crudest form to approach design is to address client requirements and building objectives. In its most elemental sense, buildings are constructed for a purpose or function, thus, arenas, office buildings, factories, schools, churches and ordinary houses are designed differently from each other.
These broad categories are further broken down to their specific specialization. For instance, factory for a car assembly is differently designed from a beverage production plant in as much sports facility for a swimming pool is obviously designed in another way from gymnastics facility.
Social and Economic Dimension
Building design cannot be isolated without consideration of its surrounding developments. Generally speaking, one does not construct a building in the middle of a nowhere.
Designers unavoidably needed to accommodate their design idea with the surrounding environment particularly human civilization on which it will be located. Aside from ensuring accessibility, transportation, communication, and interrelationship among other residents, the building actually becomes part of a larger regulated system called society and must therefore be in consonance to the objectives of the system which is to benefit and sustain human living.
Within the community, buildings function to support other entities or components of the community. In which case, building design partakes of social dimensions of sustainability which includes the health and safety of workers as well as its impact (both benefits and disadvantages) to the existing residents and their quality of life especially those who are underprivileged i.e. the displacement of the marginalized poor.
Because civilizations and human settlements are the marked attributes of economic development, the economic dimension of sustainability in building design must also be taken into account in order to ensure that people living in the community maintains their livelihood if not improve their means of living and thereby enhance quality of life.
This includes the potential for creating new markets and other business opportunities, reduction of cost in terms of optimizing efficiency in energy use or raw materials consumption, and finally the generation of added value.
Economic sustainability thus ensures progress, productivity and wealth redistribution. In a nutshell, an important aspect of building design must regard the social and economic consequences it will bring to its surrounding community (Lancaster, Plotkin, and Lerner, 2001)
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