Alex Coppock

The fundamentals of design: access

by 20th Jul, 2018

The most successful changes to your space take into account the things you cannot change.

There are only a few things that cannot be changed, but they are all fundamental and your design needs to take the best advantage of them. It is our belief that putting the right things in the right places is generally not any more expensive than putting the wrong things in the wrong places, but the costs of getting them wrong are dramatic.

In this series of three articles, we’ll take a look at the fundamentals you cannot change and examine how to use them to their best advantage.

In this third and final article we’ll look at the question of access.

Where you enter a site is one of the most fundamental considerations of architecture and it is really important to understand how the access to your site and the entrance to your home set up an entire choreography or journey. Think of it as the opening scene of a play or the first page of a book.

While there may be many doors into and out of your house, it is inevitably the case that the first door one arrives at after coming on to the site will become the most used door. If it isn’t already, it is important to think about how to make this the main door. There is nothing more frustrating than walking around a house trying to understand which is the front door and how one enters.

Most of the time, the entrance to the site will be a given, but it can be useful to question whether this really is the case. On larger schemes, we have changed the entrance to the site, which has completely transformed the way that people approach the building. Often this involves entering the site from further away or from a different road entrance, where it is possible to gain glimpses of the house before arriving at the house, or seeing the house against an amazing backdrop, rather than just arriving at the site and being presented with the front door straight away without being able to appreciate the house’s setting.

So, although unusual, before embarking on a larger project it is always worth considering: is there any opportunity to reframe how we approach this house in order to make it more successful?