Design and Architecture Schools

There is a great website that features weekly schools of design and architecture programs around the world.

You can find it here. 

Below is an example of a student project in the Cinematic and Videogame Architecture program taught at the The Bartlett School of Architecture in London.



The “Program”

You hear that term a lot in an architect’s office. “What’s the program?” or “Do you have the program yet?”.

And no, it’s not a software program or the description of a concert, it’s what we use at the beginning of a project to understand in terms of square footage, how a space or building will lay out. It is the basis of your challenge in terms of usable space and circulation between spaces.

Of course, with this comes the consideration of views and orientation to the sun and prevailing winds but that will be in the back of your mind as you first work out what the needs will be in terms of space and proximity of one area or function to another.

Programming begins with a meeting with the client and possibly meetings with groups who will be using the space to understand their activities and needs. Will you need a copier? If so, do you need a copy room or just a stand alone copier on a counter? What teams work closely together? You also need to understand the hierarchy, the culture of the company, if it is a business, and the values of those in charge.

These factors and more are included in what will be the final program.

After asking a lot of questions and understanding how a family, restaurant or hotel functions, along with their needs and goals. Then you set about calculating square footage for each workstation, the size requirements of a kitchen based on its essential function and/or the requirements of a private office space.

As a designer, you get to know how much space is required for any use but there are also reference books available that can guide you with everything from stadium seating to the size of a dining room buffet. These reference books, by the way, are just fun to look through from time to time.

Once all your square footage is calculate, you put together your list in a spreadsheet.

Original Program

From there you begin to look at proximities, what function needs to be next to another space. For instance, is the head of the company’s office preferred right off of reception or will it be a corner office at the end of a corridor? Does everyone have access to business supplies or is it the responsibility of a few people who need to enter the room frequently?


When you have a clear understanding of adjacency needs, you can then do your bubble diagram. This should be done by hand because it’s faster than having to deal with the intermediary of a computer. Just begin to form your bubbles, some bubble sizes will be smaller than others based on square footage requirements, ad think about what needs to be next to something else.

At this time, you are also aware of views and begin to consider issues like how the building or house is oriented to the sun, shade and prevailing winds.

Once the bubble diagrams are completed and approved by the client, these meetings with the client, by the way, can be done informally and revised diagrams may be drawn during the meeting, you are on to the initial steps of space planning.

Whether it is a building, an office space or house, these steps are always done and in this order.

It is highly recommended to color code different areas of a building or a house once the bubble diagram is done. This helps you and everyone else understand adjacencies and square footage requirements…and they look cool.


program 5


BIG Architects programming for the Phoenix Observatory

From there, you will begin drawing your space plans to ensure the furniture fits, circulation works and there is a flow between spaces and functions.

During this entire process you also begin to get an idea of what the space, house or building should look like, the overall design, the character of the building or space.

That leads you into conceptual design which can only happen once you understand the requirements and goals of the client.

-Dora Taylor

Winter Celebrations Around the World: A Holiday Village

For a celebration of winter and the holiday season, I am offering a class as an introduction to how people around the world celebrate during the winter season, how the seasonal celebrations are similar and what makes them unique.

After an introduction to the ways people celebrate the season, each student will have the opportunity to draw and create a model for the Holiday Village.

Each student will take a photo of their model and I will make a collage of the village street to share with the families.

Class Time

This group class will meet for one hour Monday through Thursday beginning on December 27th.

My students are from around the world so we will have an interesting exchange of traditions and ideas.

The class time is based on your location. For example:

9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time

12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

5:00 PM Western European Time

If you have a question about the time of the class in your time zone, please contact me at

Class Fee

The fee for the class is $155 USD or the equivalent in all other currencies. I use TransferWise and the transfer will be free of additional charges.

Materials needed are:

*A pencil, an eraser and paper for drawing.

*Poster board or cardboard from cereal or similar boxes or any paper that is the thickness of index cards, scissors and tape for making a model.

*Extras can be markers, color pencils, scraps and pieces around the house to use as decoration. For example: used gift wrap paper, clear plastic, toothpicks, modeling clay, straws or PlayDough, paper towel or toilet paper tubes that are ready to be recycled and anything else that may be useful.

*Glue can be used but patience is required for allowing it to dry.

If you have any questions or are interested in signing up for the class, please contact me at


Santa Barbara architect Barry Berkus explains his design strategy for re-building New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.


Architecture Term


An amphitheater is a building type first designed and used in Greek and Roman architecture.

Amphitheaters are designed with a circular floor plan where the base acts as a stage area and seating is provided around the stage moving upwards. Amphitheaters were used for sporting tournaments and other activities. Now we use them for plays and music events.

Below is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus amphitheater in Greece.

Greek theater

And this is the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California:

Hollywood bowl

Building the World’s Tallest Structure: The Dubai Creek Tower

Dubai Creek2

The proposed Dubai Creek Tower

Dubai Creek Tower will be mainly used for observation decks or sky gardens. And there will be 20 floors occupied by hotels and restaurants as well, and even residences. The antenna on the peak will be used for broadcasting.

Dubai Creek

The Dubai Creek Tower was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava.

Dubai Creek Tower will have ten observation decks inside the oval-shape structure which is near the top of the tower, these observation decks offer 360-degree views of the cityscape of Dubai from a perspective of an unprecedented height.

The observation decks will be decorated like gardens inspired by the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon.


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