DSGN 341: Project 2 – Nova Scotia Cottage

0 Commentsby   |  09.22.11  |  Assignments, DSGN 341


Design a small cottage located on the shore of Moshers Bay in Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia, Canada. (Potential sites for the cottage will be provided.) Before beginning design, a fundamental understanding of the context is imperative. The context is determined by the people and the place, which are represented through history, culture, geography, landscape, vernacular buildings, local materials and building techniques to name just a few. Since we cannot visit the site for this project, you will need to gain as much information and insight as you can from the resources presented in class and your own research.


  • Understand context and its ability to inform a design project
  • Analyze site conditions (topography, wind, sun, natural forms/elements, views, access)
  • Continue to explore the relationship between space and form
  • Explore material culture and its influence on design
  • Understand fundamentals of building construction
  • Continue experimenting with tectonic expression
  • Explore drawing composition
  • Develop design process
  • Develop technical skills including model-building and sketching
  • Utilize digital tools for design and visualization
  • Increase visual and oral communication skills

Design Requirements:

The cottage should not exceed 650 square feet (interior space) and must include the following spaces:
  • Living/eating/relaxing space
  • Sleeping space (x2)
  • Bathroom
  • Kitchen
  • Storage closet(s)
  • Porch (1 min.)

Design Process:

Here’s how we’re going to do this thing.*

  1. Gather relevant contextual information. Print and organize this information so it is easy for you to access. Surround yourself with it and bring it to every class meeting. Seriously, this information is very important.
  2. Develop a parti (organizing concept) that relates the building to the site.
  3. Further develop the parti to address the spaces within the building – still thinking about the connection to the site.
  4. Translate the parti into building drawings (plans, elevations and sections to scale). This is a fluid process which requires you to constantly go back and evaluate your original parti and adapt as needed. Remember, the parti is really a starting point for design development. The building may end up looking much like the parti, but not necessarily.
  5. Build a small study model to better understand massing, fenestration (openings), form and daylighting.
  6. Think about structure. Draw building sections and important details. Don’t be scared, just do it. (I’ll help.)
  7. At this point you are probably tired, but encouraged by all the great progress you’ve made. Also, you should not have touched the computer! (Okay, maybe you used the computer to gather information, print images and possibly a site plan to work from. Other than that, you don’t need it yet. Trust me.)
  8. Now that you have developed a definitive direction, you can use the computer to refine your drawings.
  9. Put together a comprehensive presentation that represents your building’s contribution to the context. In other words, don’t just show drawings of a building, but paint a picture of a specific place.
  10. Build a presentation model.
  11. Sleep.

* Throughout the process, please remember to stay adequately hydrated and nourished, get fresh air and listen to the birds, and look for inspiration everywhere.

Reading, Writing + Sketching

  • Reading: Basics Design Ideas, pgs. 39-62, Basics Design and Living, pgs. 9-52
  • Writing: 1 Blog Post and 2 Comments (see Writing Requirements)
  • Sketches: 25 min.

Final Deliverables

Presentation sheet(s) that contains the following:

  • Precedent and other inspirational visuals that informed design decisions
  • Parti (sketch)
  • Floor plan*
  • Elevations*
  • Building Sections* (2 min.)
  • Exterior perspective view (Composite image w/SketchUp model, 2 min.)
*Final drawings completed by hand using digital info. as underlay. Include scale figures in elevations and sections.

Note: Size of sheet and scale of drawings TBD.

Scale Model:

  • Scale: 1/4″ = 1′-0″
  • Make sure it is finely crafted! (Keep a sharp blade and use your drawings as templates.)
  • Use chipboard, illustration board or museum board – NO FOAM CORE
  • You can also use basswood. Especially useful for smaller details (such as window frames).
  • Create a base for the model that shows topography

Process Documentation:

  • Photocopies of sketches (place in report binder or folder w/your name on it)
  • Study model
  • Writing (post to blog on specified date below)

Digital Files:

  • Upload the presentation sheet (saved as a high quality PDF*) to your drop.io site.

*Prefix each file with your ACU username followed by an underscore (ex: bly95s_project 2.pdf)

Schedule + Deadline

Week 1

  • Thurs., Sept 22: Introduce project, discuss context, watch McKay-Lyons video

Week 2

  • Tues., Sept 27: Continue discussion of context, work day
  • Thurs., Sept 29: Work day, desk crits

Week 3

  • Tues., Oct 4: Work day, desk crits
  • Thurs., Oct 6: Small group critique @ beginning of class, work day

Week 4

  • Tues., Oct 11: Mid-Project Critique (bring everything you have)
  • Thurs., Oct 13: Begin drawings and model for presentation

Week 5

  • Tues., Oct 18: Work on presentation materials
  • Thurs., Oct 20: Work on presentation materials

Week 6

  • Tues., Oct 19: Print presentation for review (fit to page on 11″ x 17″ sheet) @ beginning of class
  • Thurs., Oct 21: Project due @ beginning of class (including blog post*) – Final Critique

* Comments to classmates’ blog posts are due by the next class meeting Tues., Oct 27.

Grading Criteria

Project = 30% of final course grade

Link to Grading Criteria


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