Exercise One

A site survey in detail

In the final projects of this unit I am going to design and communicate a new piece of fitted furniture for a space and purpose of my own choosing. The first step is to find a room, space or location where I would like to install a piece of fitted furniture. I have chosen a space in my own home and made a thorough site analysis and documented my findings.

In my loft converted bedroom I have an ensuite bathroom. When my husband and I converted the loft we were so glad that we chose to add a shower room in the space. Our children were very little at the time, ages 8, 5 and 1 years old, so the important factors for us were that we needed a clean practical space to shower and use the toilet. We were fully aware that we would be covering a beautiful element in the loft, a double breasted red bricked chimney wall, but at the time we needed to have our practical heads on. Almost 15 years later, we feel that it is now time to uncover this wall, we will remove the ceramic tiles, re-point the red brick chimney area and seal it. The space that sits between the two chimney’s joining is currently housing a sink and pedestal. It’s very undesirable, but again was a practical choice with having three young children. I will design a piece of furniture for this space, it will need to house a sink and storage area. My design will compliment the red brick chimney breast, I will look to design a functional, stylish piece of furniture which will have some historical reference to the original date the house was built. For more context, the house was built in 1905. It is mid terraced house with red brick exterior, stone mullions around the wooden sash windows. I am excited to take all of this information and design a bespoke piece of furniture that the room deserves.

Once I had chosen the space I made a list of what to include in my site analysis.

  • Assess and record the site, what’s adjacent to the site and any other relevant information
  • Any historical and cultural information
  • Site materiality and vernacular architecture
  • A personal response – mapping, observing, soundscapes, material, touch, smell, emotions

Whilst surveying the site, I sat on the floor in my bedroom looking towards the bi-fold doors with the sink area directly in front of me. The ensuite bathroom is tiled mostly, ceramic floor tiles and wall tiles with a plaster boarded ceiling. The shower cubicle to the left, is also tiled with travertine mosaic tiles in various shades of green and grey, surrounding a stone shower tray and accessed via bifold glass doors.

There is no natural light within the room, there is 3 artificial spotlights in the ceiling alongside an extractor fan. The WC sits opposite the shower to right with a thin wooden shelf above that, on the wall that houses various items such as a reed diffuser, an air freshener and a shaver. The sink is sat on a pedestal, with hot and cold taps. On the floor to the left of the pedestal is a basket container with cleaning bottles and materials in. The sink and pedestal sits inside a recess that effectively is the part between the two chimneys. It’s an oblong shape that tapers to a triangle. The tiles are of a light grey colour and feel cold to touch. The room is directly off the main bedroom in the loft area, which houses a king size bed and cupboards that sit under the eaves on the both sides of the room. There are two Velux windows on the opposite wall to the bed, the bed backs on the original beam running through the house. It is a very quiet space in the house. If the Velux windows are open in the bedroom you can hear the birds singing, the train running past a few houses down and the neighbours chatting in their gardens. If the shower is being used then you hear the running water, the squirt of the shower cream bottle and the occupant singing a happy tune. If the sink is being used you can hear the running water and the electric toothbrush buzzing. The flushing of the toilet can be heard and the extractor fan all the while extracting the steam until you turn off the light, then both the lights and fan stop working.

I sketched in elevation and plan and noted my thoughts on sounds, material, smell and emotional feelings about the bathroom. I also sketched ideas on how to layout my presentation using Indesign.

The smell of citrus comes from behind the WC in the form of a reed diffuser. The smell of lemon, vanilla and hemp oil can be found when the shower is being used amongst other smells from the hair and body products. All of these smells give me nostalgia and offer me a sense of belonging. My physical senses towards the space are that it is functional, practical and clean. Whilst I was analysing the space I was sketching the elevations and plans and show these alongside photographs in the site analysis document.

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