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What is the definition of Architectural Programming?

Architectural Programming refers to an important early part of the design process, where you identify and organize the architectural, functional, aesthetic, operational and budgetary needs of your client.

This information (often put into a written document called a "Program") is then used to help guide your decision making process in the design of the building.

If done correctly, Programming can ease the design process and improve the final result.


Name five phases that are performed during programming?

1. GATHERING DATA: Site surveys, existing conditions, desired use, building type, applicable building codes, zoning requirements, budget, schedule and project team information are all collected and organized.

2. ESTABLISHING GOALS: The Architect interviews the Owner to identify the primary design goals and potential issues.

3. MAPPING FUNCTIONS: Functional and spatial requirements are listed with their approximate size, important adjacencies and relationships to one another.

4. SETTING PRIORITIES: The uses and functions are listed in order of importance based on the budget, including where the attention and budget should be spent.

5. RESEARCHING REQUIREMENTS: Detailed technical requirements are collected for any required equipment, systems, operations and performance.


True or False:

Programming and Architectural Design are completely independent of one another.


During PROGRAMMING, the problems of the project are sought out and documented.

During DESIGN, these problems are discussed and adequate solutions are developed.


What four items should be considered during programming?


Building FORM

Project BUDGET



Describe the programming process.

Step 1. Discuss the goals of the project with the Owner.

Step 2. Organize all project specific information (codes, existing site conditions, building users, etc.)

Step 3. Determine building hierarchy of spaces.

Step 4. Determine priorities of the Owner.

Step 5. Develop problem(s) that must be solved through building design.


If done correctly, Programming should ...
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1. Clarify the Owner's intentions.

2. Set a mutually agreed upon direction for the design.

3. Reduce change orders during construction.

4. Minimize disputes between Owner and Architect.

5. Establish a basis for resolving differences of opinion.

6. Minimize redundancy from wasted spaces or poor relationships.


What is an aquifer?

An aquifer is a layer of water flowing underground, sometimes referred to as an underground stream.

The presence of an aquifer could supply fresh water to the building, or limit the depth of the foundations.


What is Soil Load Bearing Capacity?

Bearing capacity refers to the maximum amount of pressure a foundation soil can bear without harmful settlement.


Name four soil types and their capacities.

Bedrock: 10,000 psf

Well graded gravel or sand: 3,000 psf

Compacted sand or fill: 2,000 - 3,000 psf

Silt or Clay: 1,000 - 4,000 psf


What is a ground water table?

A Ground Water Table is the layer below the surface soil when it is saturated soil. Sometimes this watertable is 2' below the surface, sometimes it is 200' below.

The depth of the watertable will determine the type of foundation you can use, if you will need expensive waterproofing, or if a basement would even be possible.


Soil types are classified based on:

The sizes of the particles of the soil.


Name the soil types.

GRAVEL: well drained and able to bear loads (+2 mm)

SAND: well drained and can serve as foundation when graded (0.05 - 2 mm)

SILT: stable when dry, swells when frozen, do not use when wet (0.002 - 0.05 mm)

CLAY: must be removed, too stiff when dry and too plastic when wet (<0.002 mm)


Which soil type is considered the best to build on?


GRAVEL: 2mm or greater; drains well, able to bear loads.

SAND: 0.05mm - 2mm; drains well, good foundation when graded.

SILT: 0.002mm - 0.05mm; stable when dry or damp, not wet. Swells when frozen.

CLAY: <0.002mm; plastic when wet, stiff when dry.

ORGANIC: contains peat, leaves, grass, etc. Must be removed.


What is a percolation test and when would it be used?

A Percolation Test is used to evaluate the rate at which soil will absorb water on a site.

This test is necessary for septic draining or leach fields.


What is a proctor test?

A Proctor Test is used to calculate the maximum density that is required for the soil on a project site.

This test evaluates the native soils in both dry and wet conditions to determine the potential negative qualities of the soil.

It is performed by dropping a hammer on a sample of soil several times and then dried for a period of time.


Name the four different levels of soil.

LEVEL A - Topsoil: Essential for the growth of plants and takes a long time to develop.

LEVEL B - Minerals: Lies below the plants' roots and supports life.

LEVEL C - Weathered and Fractured Rock: Little biological activity.

LEVEL D - Solid Bedrock.


Can soil bearing capacity be increased?

If so, how?


Soils can increase bearing capacity by: fill, compaction, or surcharging.


Define compaction and surcharging.

COMPACTION: Compressing soils to release air trapped between the grains. Creates higher bearing capacity.

SURCHARGING: Adding soils to a site in order to increase the weight of the soils and aid in compaction. Lengthy process could take 6-12 months.


Why is the location of the frost line important?

The frost line indicates the level where soil freezes.

The top of footings should be at or below the frost line, which avoids damage to the foundation due to moisture changes throughout the year.


Describe the Angle of Repose.

The Angle of Repose describes how soils form mounds when loose.

Sand and gravel are stiff soils and will have steeper angles of repose as compared to soft silts and clays.


What should you do if you discover large quantities of organic soils on a site?

This soil will likely need to be removed and replaced with an appropriate fill material.

Otherwise, foundation piles would need to extend through to the solid bedrock or bearing soils.


Define Safe Bearing Capacity.

The Safe Bearing Capacity is the ultimate bearing capacity of the soil divided by a safety factor of 2 to 4 times.

This ensures the site will not endure the full ultimate bearing capacity and helps to avoid structural failure.


Define Ecology.

Ecology is the science of the relationship between an organism or community and its environment.

The community comprises of all the living plants and animals occupying a given area.


What are 6 strategies to reduce energy use?

Install solar panels

Increase the amount of insulation in the walls.

Use insulated windows.

Orient building to sun to control heat gain.

Install light colored roof.

Use efficient light bulbs.


What are 5 strategies to reduce water use?

Use drip irrigation system for landscaping.

Use low-flow or waterless toilets.

Use native species and drought tolerant plants.

Collect gray water from showers and laundry and reuse to water yard or flush toilets.

Collect rainwater for reuse.


Describe how to determine the grade or slope of a site.

Vertical Rise / Horizontal Run

Convert to percentage


Name 4 general rules of thumb for site grading and what they are best used for.

0 - 4% slope is considered flat and suitable for all activities.

4 - 10% is moderate and requires some effort to climb or descend.

10 - 50% is steep and suitable only for limited activity.

50% + is considered very steep and is subject to soil erosion or collapse.


What is the maximum slope allowed for an accessible ramp?

1:12 (1' rise for every 12' run) = 8.3% slope


45 degree translates to what percentage of slope?

100% slope as rise over run is 1:1


Why is solar orientation important when laying out a site design?

The more perpendicular the sun's rays are to the site, the greater the amount of solar radiation received.

It is important to note the amount of solar radiation received in order to design a building that maintains a consistent internal temperature.