Overview of House Building Plans
General Principles. The plan of any building must depend upon the site, and only general principles which indicate special points to be observed can be laid down.
The first principle is that the sun should enter every living room at some period of the day, for it is just as important to the air of a room as water is to the human body, and no apartment can be considered healthy which is not periodically disinfected by its rays. It is indeed generally an easy matter to ensure this, and even old and badly planned houses can often be made healthy by the judicious insertion of windows to admit the sun's rays. Even in awkwardly situated rooms it is often possible to put in a small sun-window, which adds much to the cheeriness of the house, and affects in no small degree the health and spirits of the occupants.
Provision for Daylight. A sufficient and abundant supply of daylight should be provided for every room, the exact amount varying with regard to any obstruction which may be contiguous thereto.
Disposition of Windows. Much may be done by the skilful disposition of the windows; an odd number of windows in an apartment is generally preferred, in order to avoid a pier in the centre of a wall which would cast a shadow right across the room. No dark corners for the accumulation of dirt should be allowed, for "Out of sight, out of mind" is a saying which should be remembered in all matters of sanitary planning.
Prospect. The view to be obtained from the rooms and any special characteristics of the site must not be forgotten ; and, indeed, in the country they should be a factor in determining the general position of the rooms. The hygienic value of a view over a pleasing landscape should not be lightly disregarded.
It is evident that in many houses the points of the compass have not been properly considered. We must remember that the sun is south at noon all the year round, and that the rooms should in general be so planned as to trap its rays. In England northern and north-eastern aspects are cold, southern are warm, and north-western and south-western aspects are subject to boisterous winds, often accompanied by driving rain. The south-eastern aspect is dry and mild, and is perhaps best suitable for most of the living rooms, while a north-eastern aspect is best for the kitchen and offices.
Verandas. A veranda (or loggia) is a feature which in modern domestic buildings should be introduced with discrimination in the UK. Owing to our climate, with its comparative dreariness and absence of sunlight, it is usually best never to light a room solely by windows which have a covered veranda in front of them, for an apartment lighted only in this way will generally be dark and unhealthy.
Some of the plans of houses that we give show verandas, but in all cases it will be seen that such rooms are also lighted by other windows.
Corridors. Corridors should be well lighted and ventilated from the outer air, and planned with due regard to economy and efficiency. Compactness is necessary, so that the various rooms may be sufficiently close and not separated by long passages. The success of a plan depends largely upon the convenient disposition of the various rooms, and this we will now consider in detail.
Next: Aspect of Rooms.