One of the most important elements to the overall design of a house is what we architects call the “massing.” By that we mean the basic sculptural form – the shape of the house and its roof considered together. The massing determines the character of the house and is intimately tied to the style. Is the house a simple cube with a pitched roof, a low rambling affair, high in the center and low on one side, or a complicated Victorian extravagance with many competing rooflines?
The floor plan or layout of a house is very important. It dictates how each room flows into the next and determines the feel of the interior; but a perfect floor plan may result in poor massing, and therefore an unhappy exterior expression. Often, we find that arriving at the optimal roofline is the hardest part of the design; once we arrive at an ideal shape for the roof, we then adjust the rooms to fit underneath. We are constantly working back and forth to balance the competing needs of the interior flow and the exterior appearance to arrive at the design that feels “just right.” Once the massing and plan are correct, materials, textures, colors and details can be used to reinforce and animate the overall exterior design.