Author Archives: Severn Clay-Youman, AIA, NCARB

Sample building massing diagram

I came across this morning – it’s a perfect example of what we’ve been talking about in terms of a diagram explaining massing choices. Take a moment to look at line weights, what is shown and not shown, how changes are indicated.

The whole project (a school in France) is here:

How to Iterate


Since I know that coming up with iterations is challenging, here’s a suggestion:

  1. Choose an architectural problem that your building needs to solve, such as:
    • How does the building negotiate the slope?
    • How can I make the building a link for the public between the sidewalk inland and the walk along the water?
    • How do I maximize the view to the water, while minimize the view of the power plant on the other shore?
    • How can I make this building as flexible as possible, both day-to-day but also for the future?
    • How do I reconcile public space, community space, and service spaces?
  2. Make a form iteration that solves this problem, and then think about how the program might be arranged within it.
  3. Repeat.

Remember, you have a lot fewer size restrictions this time, so be bold.

I would rather that you come up with a proposal that doesn’t quite meet the restrictions than a physical embodiment of the restrictions – we can work together and make a good proposal fit.

Mid-review Order

Ok, here is the order for the review this afternoon:


We have just about eight minutes per person, so really concentrate on making your opening statement concise, covering what you feel are the important parts of your design. Remember, your boards and model should describe everything so you don’t have to.

Make sure you have everything ready at the start of class (this will be part of your grade) – to keep things moving, we will try to have people pinning up while other people are presenting. If you aren’t pinning up, it is really important that you give your attention to your classmates!