- Aesthetic Challenges
- Aesthetic Opportunities
- Facility Performance Evaluation (FPE)
- Life-Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA)
- Mold and Moisture Dynamics
Account for Functional Needs
Last updated: 10-26-2011
Within This Page
Programming should begin with a clear definition of the activities to be performed and the people who will use the space. Accounting for functional and psychological needs is a primary purpose of the planning process that defines an owner's functional and physical requirements for each spatial element in a building or facility. This process seeks to:
- state the problem;
- establish goals;
- collect and analyze facts;
- establish functional relationships;
- uncover and test concepts;
- and finally state the problem to direct a course of action.
Primary Systems diagram of the Wieden + Kennedy Ad Agency building—Portland, OR
Courtesy of Allied Works Architecture
Adequate programming performed in the project planning phase will clearly delineate in-use requirements and relationships of occupant activities and spaces required for all supporting building systems and equipment. Effective programming will include all pertinent stakeholders to ensure "Whole Building" functions and needs have been identified. Conducting programming and design charrettes with these stakeholders is an effective means of enhancing integrated functionality and mutual agreement on a design approach.
See WBDG Architectural Programming for a more detailed explanation of how architectural programming helps the project team achieve a well-functioning high performance building.
However, a truly functional building will require a thorough analysis of the parts of the design problem and the application of creative synthesis in a solution that integrates the parts in a coherent and optimal operating manner. 'Whole Building' design is characterized by a design solution that functions well from an occupant activity and building systems point of view.
There are several key steps in the development of project requirements that fully describe the design problem. They are:
- Understand how the work processes support the mission and purpose of a facility;
- Define spatial requirements for occupant activities and equipment;
- Understand functional relationships among the programmed spaces;
- Anticipate installation, Operations & Maintenance (O&M) practices, spatial change, and replacement of building equipment;
- Accommodate information technology (IT), communication, and other building systems equipment; and
- Consider serviceability (clearance) requirements.
Understand How the Functional Needs Support the Mission and Purpose of a Facility
- Determine facility use, occupancy, and activities to be housed.
- Consider the functional needs in the context of all the other design objectives to ensure a balanced and integrated design.
- Balance the owner's and users' needs and goals for space, quality, budget, and time.
- Set owner's design objectives in the early planning stage.
- Reference building type guidelines. See also WBDG Building Types.
- Look beyond the facility to understand the role the site plays in meeting the functional needs in support of the mission and purpose of a facility.
Define Spatial Requirements for Occupant Activities and Equipment
- Consult all pertinent stakeholders for their requirements.
- Consult planning guides and specialists on programmed activities.
- Document all regulatory requirements, such as building codes, accessibility laws, anti-terrorism/force protection (ATFP), etc.
- Explore the possible necessity of making spaces flexible to accommodate changes in business practices, work activities, and technologies.
- Consider building operations and maintenance activities in the design of spaces.
- Look beyond the facility to understand the role the landscape plays in defining spatial requirements for occupant activities and equipment.
Understand Functional Relationships Between Program Spaces
- Engage user groups in facilitated discussions to brainstorm solutions.
- Examine patterns of activity in facility programs and consider how those patterns create spatial relationships.
- Account for physical security requirements in the layout of space planning.
- Consider impacts of building systems and engineering needs on spatial relationships in indoor and outdoor occupied and unoccupied spaces.
- Leverage opportunities for quality environmental aesthetics such as natural light, spatial volume, views, connection to the landscape and nature, texture, and materials. See also WBDG Aesthetic Opportunities and Aesthetic Challenges.
- Look beyond the facility to understand the role the site plays in the functional relationship between spaces.
Vontz Center for Molecular Studies—Cincinnati, Ohio. This 150,000 gsf., $35 million interdisciplinary research center is designed to accommodate neuroscience and cancer research. It includes core science research labs, offices, support areas, and seminar rooms with fully accessible mechanical, electrical, and support spaces between the main laboratory floors.
Courtesy of BHDP Architecture
Anticipate Installation, Operation, Spatial Change, Reuse, and Replacement of Building and Equipment
- Incorporate structural and mechanical systems as integral parts of early design concepts.
- Account for structural loads (dead and live) of building systems and equipment.
- Ensure that mechanical system equipment and furniture, fixtures, and building equipment (FF&E) can actually be installed, operated, and replaced.
- Consult facility O&M personnel in the programming and early design stage.
- Plan infrastructure for flexible spatial modifications or "churn" and repurposing of the building.
Accommodate Information Technology (IT), Communication, and Other Building Systems Equipment
- Determine the owner's goals and needs for spatial and mechanical support of the organization's IT program.
- Incorporate IT system needs as an integral part of the design concept.
- Design for configuration flexibility within workspaces that promotes occupant productivity. See also WBDG Accessible—Plan for Flexibility.
- Accommodate network support and servicing requirements in the design of spaces.
Consider Serviceability (Clearance) Requirements
- Design for vehicular clearances in the site design (e.g., drives, gates, ramps, parking).
- Design for vehicular clearances in building design (e.g., doors, docks, obstructions).
- Design for proper equipment access for maintenance and removal and replacement of equipment and/or major components, such as filters, boiler tubes or piping.
- Design for durability.
- Design for maintainability (including housing of maintenance equipment).
- Consult facility O&M personnel in the design process.
- Computer-based space programming applications
- Appropriate accommodation for the changing nature of work (flexibility and productivity)
- Virtual workplaces and increased use of "Hoteling" for work space
- Building Information Modeling (BIM) (defining object functionality for facility life cycle)
- Adaptability for possible change of building needs and function over time.
- Though today's emphasis on sustainability and green building, maintain a balanced perspective with the other key design objectives.
Relevant Codes and Standards
- Functionality and Serviceability Standards: Tools for Stating Functional Requirements and for Evaluating Facilities. Paper published in Federal Facilities Council (FFC) Report #145.
- International Building Code
- International Energy Conservation Code
- International Green Construction Code
- A Handbook for Planning and Conducting Charrettes for High Performance Projects (PDF 2.09 MB) by Gail Lindsey, Joel Ann Todd and Sheila J. Hayter. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), 2003.
- Interior Graphic Standards, 2nd Edition by Corky Binggeli, Patricia Greichen, New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010.
- Problem Seeking: An Architectural Programming Primer, 4th Edition by W.M. Peña and S.A. Parshall. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001.
- Professional Practice in Facility Programming by Wolfgang Preiser. New York: Van Nostrand-Reinhold Co., 1992.
- Programming for Design: From Theory to Practice by Edith Cherry. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1998.
- Time-Saver Standards for Building Types, 4th Edition by Joseph DiChiara and Michael Crosbie. McGraw-Hill, Inc., 2001.
- American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
- The American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- American Society of Interior Designers
- American Society of Landscape Architects
- International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction
- International Interior Design Association
- National Charrette Institute
- National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)
- Union of International Architects
- CCB documents and publications (for Building-Type Design Guides)
- Compendium of Lessons Learned CD, Volume I by General Services Administration. July 2001. Contact Office of the Chief Architect, GSA Public Buildings Service.