Q: How do you approach a client’s brief?
Part of the original brief for one project was to build a front porch. The clients envisaged a brick and glass enclosure with a glazed roof.
As space was limited to four square metres I asked if the reason for the porch was to keep the heat (and dog) inside when they opened the front door. Local planning departments set limits on this type of extension – the function of a porch is primarily to limit heat loss.
The reason the client wanted the space was to park bikes, get more storage and to have a place for their dog when the family was out.
We discussed what could practically be accommodated in the space and warned that a small south facing glazed porch is not an ideal place for a dog.
I suggested a bespoke dog kennel as part of the brief. I drew up a sketch there and then to help the clients visualise, understand, and consider the advantages to this new approach.
The porch and kennel worked out be the same cost as a garden office/summer-house to the back garden would have been. This strategy provided ample space for bikes and scooters, storage, and a comfy space for the family dog. We included a dog-flap out to the garden.
The added bonus to this approach was it created home office space, slightly removed from distractions of family life. It opened up to the garden as a place the family can gather and enjoy.
The new proposal increased the value of the property more than the original porch idea, although that was not the motivation.
Discussing and questioning a set of problems and parameters in this way, while establishing a brief helps to design creatively while offering greater value for money.
Chartered Practice Architects
0208 743 9535
159 Askew Road, W12 9AU
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