Building Systems for Interior Designers
eBook - ePub

Building Systems for Interior Designers

Corky Binggeli

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eBook - ePub

Building Systems for Interior Designers

Corky Binggeli

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The ultimate interior designer's guide to building systems and safety

Building Systems for Interior Designers, Third Edition is the single-source technical reference that every designer needs, and an ideal solution for NCIDQ exam preparation. Now in its third edition, this invaluable guide has been updated to better address the special concerns of the interior designer within the context of the entire design team. New coverage includes the latest information on sustainable design and energy conservation, expanded coverage of security and building control systems, and a new and expanded art program with over 250 new illustrations. Covering systems from HVAC to water to waste to lighting, this book explains technical building systems and engineering issues in a clear and accessible way to help interior designers communicate more effectively with architects, engineers, and contractors.

Professional interior design is about much more than aesthetics and decorating, and technical knowledge is critical. Before the space is planned, the designer must consider the mechanical and electrical equipment, structural system, and building components, and how they impact the space. This book shows you how to evaluate these complex factors, and how each affects your work throughout the building.

  • Consider how site conditions and structural systems affect interior design
  • Design functionally for human health and safety
  • Factor water, electrical, and thermal systems into your design plans
  • Examine the ways in which lighting and acoustics affect the space

The comfort, safety, and ultimate success of a project depend upon your knowledge of building system and your coordination with architects and engineers. Building Systems for Interior Designers, Third Edition provides the comprehensive yet focused information you need to excel at what you do best.

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Interior designers today work closely with other design and construction professionals to provide functional, sustainable, and healthy buildings. Sustainable design is supporting a holistic approach to building systems, and older territorial distinctions between various architectural and engineering disciplines are opening up. Existing buildings are valued for the materials and energy they embody, and many projects involve the renovation of building interiors.
Interior designers are increasingly working as part of environmentally aware design teams. Sustainable design involves interior designers observing the impact of a building’s site, climate, and geography on its interior spaces. Building interiors are increasingly open to natural settings and views, and the interior designer’s work may bridge interior and exterior spaces. Wise energy use dictates awareness of how sun, wind, and heat or cold affect the building’s interior.
While focusing on building elements that affect interior designers, Building Systems for Interior Designers, Third Edition addresses this multidisciplinary approach to building design. We begin our study of building systems in Part I by looking at the relationships among the environment, the building, and human health and safety.
  • Chapter 1, “Environmental Conditions and the Site,” looks at climate change, energy sources and consumption, and how site conditions affect building design.
  • Chapter 2, “Designing for the Environment,” investigates the building envelope and the role of insulation in heat flow. Energy efficient design, the building design process, and sustainable design are introduced.
  • Chapter 3, “Designing for Human Health and Safety,” addresses the interaction of the human body with the built environment and how building codes protect us.
A common thread … is the attitude that buildings and sites should be planned and developed in an environmentally sensitive manner, responding to context and climate to reduce their reliance on active environmental control systems and the energy they consume. (Francis D.K. Ching, Building Construction Illustrated (5th ed.), Wiley, 2014, Preface)

Environmental Conditions and the Site

Buildings evolved from our need for shelter. In addition to shelter, we depend on buildings for sanitation, visual and acoustic environments, space and means to move, and protection from injury.
A building’s form, scale, and spatial organization are the designer’s response to a number of conditions—functional planning requirements, technical aspects of structure and construction, economic realities, and expressive qualities of image and style. In addition, the architecture of a building should address the physical context of its site and the exterior space. (Francis D. K. Ching and Corky Binggeli, Interior Design Illustrated [3rd ed.], Wiley 2012, page 4)
We depend on the building’s site to provide clean air and to help control thermal radiation, air temperature, humidity, and airflow. Building structures rely on site conditions for support and to help keep out water and control fire. The site can also play a role in providing clean water, removing and recycling wastes, and providing concentrated energy.
Once these basic physical needs are met, we turn to creating conditions for sensory comfort, efficiency, and privacy. We need illumination to see, and barriers that create visual privacy. We seek spaces where we can hear others speak clearly, but which offer acoustic privacy. The building’s structure gives stable support for all the people, objects, and architectural features of the building.
The next group of functions supports social needs. We try to control the entry or exit of other people and of animals. Buildings facilitate communication and connection with the world outside through windows, telephones, mailboxes, and computer and video networks. Our buildings support our activities by distributing concentrated energy to convenient locations, primarily through electrical systems.
Finally, a building capable of accomplishing all of these complex functions must be built without excessive expense or difficulty. Once built, it must be able to be operated, maintained and changed in a useful and economical manner. The building should be flexible enough to adapt to changing uses and priorities. Eventually, the building’s components may be disassembled and returned to use in other construction.
The design of a building that incorporates all these functions requires coordination between building systems’ designers, builders, and users. The building’s environmental conditions and its site generate complex factors for architects, engineers, and other design professionals. They, along with landscape architects, examine the site’s subsoil, surface water levels, topsoil, and rocks with regard to excavations, foundations, and landscaping. Hills, valleys, and slopes affect stormwater drainage and soil erosion, and the location of roads and paths. Shelter from the wind or exposure to sunlight help determine where the building can be built and the type of landscaping. Nearby buildings create shade, divert wind, and change the natural drainage patterns; they can also result in a lack of acoustic and/or visual privacy.


In Chapter 1, we begin to examine the design of the building and its site. Interior designers benefit from a general understanding of both passive systems and mechanical systems that meet the environmental requirements of buildings. Awareness of building systems provides interior designers with the terminology and basic requirements to ask intelligent questions of architects, engineers, and contractors.
This awareness starts with a basic understanding of environmental and site conditions. Climate affects how buildings are designed in different places and how they relate to their sites. An understanding of energy sources and their history helps put their use in buildings in perspective. As interior designers seek to open build...

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