There are several variables to balance here:
- The program area (assignable net square footage) such as an executives office.
- General Circulation (shared square footage) such as hallways.
- Other non assignable square footage but necessary to a building's operations like mechanical and equipment areas.
Number of Floors
- Program may require several floors.
- Zoning Requirements - May limit the number of floors or set backs which could change the base footprint.
- The floor area ratio balance changes the base footprint. The FAR controls how large a building can be based on the size of the property.
- First floor, mezzanine, equipment, penthouse, and rooftop floors will differ from the others.
- Unique site factors such as a dramatic slope, marshland, or toxic soil may change a building's footprint.
- For a site in the Northern Hemisphere an orientation between 5 and 25 degrees east of south best achieves the balance of summer and winter heat gains.
- Site access may dictate entry and exit locations as well as deliveries.
- Topography and micro climate are important factors like winds, location of trees, and distance to water.
- Views are often a concern in areas such as the Hollywood Hills or in Santa Barbara
- Utilities and Infrastructure
- Sun Angle
- Climate (Macro and Micro-climate)
Cost and Value
- The higher the perimeter to floor area ratio; the greater the unit cost.
- The greater the floor area; the lower the unit cost.
- Maximizing square footage of a lot may be a priority of the client. This is common in highly competitive markets.
- Earth berm shelter - creates energy savings
- Waterfront Views - Value of land may necessitate its use
- Podium for parking (Theaters) or commercial business (mixed use)
- Iconic forms such as the Ordos Museum have a unique footprint.