Drawing Board: Houses that Flow
Learn about two fundamental design consideration to add flow to a floor plan
What is it that captivates us about houses we love? I imagine that most people would identify abundant daylight, interesting views, nice details, and inspiring yet comfortable spaces. I suspect that eventually folks also would comment on how well the house flows.
Although often unsung, flow is a fundamental design consideration. Flow is largely a function of circulation patterns—how people routinely move through a space. However, good circulation is more than just defining a logical path through a house. By regulating daylight, views, and the relationship between spaces, good circulation improves the comfort of the house.
A corridor with light and views is inviting. Improve flow by allowing people and daylight to move easily between the hallway and individual rooms, In the drawing, the relatively porous wall allows the hallway to borrow space from adjacent rooms, and for the rooms to borrow views and daylight from the hall. Although the hallway feels like it overlaps with the more private rooms, it does not intrude on them. If noise is an issue, use French doors and interior windows to preserve a sense of openness.
There are two primary circulation patterns: linear and circular. Linear circulation is best suited to rectangular or elongated floor plans. It creates an easily navigable house because rooms, or spaces, are arranged along a line. Although linear patterns risk seeming overly long, the distance from one end of the line to the other allows for a progression from public to private spaces along its path.
Axial circulation through adjoining rooms is the most efficient form of linear circulation. Movement is through rooms rather than through hallways. This layout requires less square footage and can give the home an intimate feel. As you move from interior space to interior space, room attributes, details, and furnishings change, making…