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Commercial design refers to the process by which the renovation or construction of a commercial space is created and supervised. Commercial design addresses the issues concerning the choices of building materials, plumbing and power systems, the layout and placement of interior walls, and the coordination of communications with the owners, construction professionals and the service providers. Residential design refers to the designing of people’s homes. The residential design fits the functions of a person’s home and also shows each customers taste and preference
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There are many differences between residential and commercial designs. The arguments of these differences can mainly be based on the designers (residential and commercial). For instance in residential design the designer plans and designs spaces in residential areas but in commercial design the designer plans and designs spaces for commercial businesses and places. A residential designer primarily works in home s and specializes on particular parts of residential design. For example it is very common for a residential designer to concentrate on bathrooms, kitchens, home offices, home appliances and custom furniture design. The residential design is much limited and it also requires a lot of innovation and creativity. This is because in most of the cases you will find that many people want their homes to reflect their personal individuality or to be the extensions of self. On the other hand the branch of field of commercial design is broad and vast. For example you will find many banks, schools, grocery stores and theme parks which have been created according to the design plan (whether professional or not ) by a commercial designer.
The other difference is that unlike residential design there are various specialization areas which are associated with the commercial design. For instance there are commercial designers who are specialists in entertainment works such as movies, theaters, theme park, clubs and arena projects. Other commercial designers focus on government work projects such as schools, courts, libraries, fire and police stations, public transportation terminals and other governmental buildings. There are other commercial design specialists who are specialists in health care design such as hospitals, examination rooms, nursing homes and waiting rooms. Other commercial designers focus on health and luxury projects such as bars, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships and country clubs. In residential design projects mainly involves the planning of a completely new construction or working in historic renovation or renovation of an existing space. Again the designers are not limited in the selection of the space’s furnishings or paint color. This is unlike commercial design whereby designers specialize in work and design to create work places which are totally utilized. The designer also creates a good appealing and a productive environment. Basically, the major difference that can be noted between this two design processes is their main objectives. This is because the residential design focuses on the meeting of a family’s needs for self expression and shelter. On the other hand commercial design strive to ensure that the building has been successfully integrated into the surrounding community and the surrounding neighborhood and also provide interiors and services to the tenant for explicit business purposes.
I can say that residential and commercial design is similar because the designers in both cases have to design and plan to make the space more appealing and productive. Another similarity is that these designs are done by professionals and they therefore ensure that they follow all safety regulations as stipulated. Another similarity can be based in terms of profit margins. This is because the designers whether residential or commercial have many clients and therefore they get huge profits which motivate them to do these kinds of activities. The residential and commercial designs have similar aspects in terms of plumbing and electrical fittings. This is because a designer whether residential or commercial has the ability to read blue prints and also understand building and fire codes. Again the designers frequently cooperate with electricians, architects and contractors of buildings to ensure that the designs meet construction requirements.
According to Arkkelin and Veitch (1995), commercial designers should base their layout according to the desires, wants, needs, and behavior the users of that particular space being designed. They also suggest that commercial designers should design a layout which considers the fact that the performance of any built environment mainly depends on physical characteristics and the interaction of the characteristics with the requirements and the needs of the users in that particular environment. The layout should also be based on the fact that most of the designed environments have multiple users whose requirements and needs may not be the same. For a commercial layout to be well designed there must be program development. This will involve the identification of the problem. The problem identification shows what is to be built, the user and its main purposes. For example in an educational environment the designer of a commercial layout should identify the main user who is the learner or student. He should also identify what’s to be built (learning institution or a school) whose main purpose is to impart knowledge.
A good layout should be based on the relevant information collected from the necessary people. For example in educational environments the commercial designer should consider the classroom behavior and performance and how they are affected by environmental conditions such as temperature, noise, light and crowding. The other step in making commercial design layout is evaluation. This means that the designer should define the desirable outcomes when the implementation of the layout is done. A good layout should show creativity or innovation. For example in educational environment a designer can choose open-space classrooms instead of closed-space. The open space class room is a large space which is only broken by plant dividers, portable partitions, book, shelves, desks and laboratory tables. This will be advantageous to the users because it provides flexibility and adds educational value. The flexibility is brought about by the lack of permanent walls because space can be divided, arranged and rearranged easily. Open- class will also promote interaction therefore increasing the education value. It is also cheaper to build, increases social interaction and improves thermal and lighting conditions. The designers should always ensure that there are various layouts from which the best is decided on. The designer should always evaluate how the layout will perform once implemented. Arkkelin and Veitch (1995) gives the criterion where he asserts that a good commercial design layout should be profitable .This is because it should consume lower costs in terms of maintenance and insurance. A good commercial design layout should be qualitative. For example in the hospital, the staff should find it suitable for their day to day activities.
A well structured commercial design layout should also be reliable in terms of performance meaning that the layout should have the ability to perform its designed roles to perfection. For example in hospitals the efficacy of a layout can be measured using the patients care. It should have a design which will succeed in making the location of nurses’ stations relative to the patients’ rooms. This means that the layout will bring nurses as closer to the patients as possible. Hospitals can also be designed to ensure privacy of nurses and patients when needed. Compatibility should also characterize a well design commercial designed layout. This means that it should fit in the surroundings of the space in which it is designed. A well designed commercial design layout should be competitive. This competitiveness can be brought about by the ability of the layout to characteristics which can perform similar or same function. Commercial design layout should be flexible. This means that it should be easy to modify in case of expansion. For example in the hospital environment when the numbers are overwhelming then the layout should offer room for those changes (Arkkelin & Veitch, 1995).
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When planning for a residential design layout, it is always very important to think of the house as a system which has several dynamic elements such as individual rooms, floor plan, exterior design, neighborhood, landscaping, community, culture and geography. Factors to consider when planning for the for a residential design layout include the appropriate degrees for both interaction with the others and privacy, daily cycles depending on individual members, promote peaceful co-existence between members and accommodate conflicting activities. Arkkelin and Veitch (1995), says that a well designed house is the one that services its purposes according to the plan. This means that it must have enough storage, adequate spaces of all activities, effective plumbing and lighting, expresses the personality of its owners and pleases the senses of its inhabitants.
The two authors have also recommended various features that are found in the residential design layout in both private and group residence. They talk about entertainment as one of the most shared use of space. For example in conversations there should be comfortable chairs which are arranged in a circular pattern within a seating area of 10 feet in total diameter (Arkkelin & Veitch, 1995). There should also be moderate intensity lighting. The tables or even shelves should be placed near the chairs to make it easier when placing objects such as tea and coffee cups. In viewing the television, seats should be placed within 60 degrees relatively to the screen, near the eye level as possible and low intensive lighting should also be applied. Arkkelin and Veitch also suggested a residential design layout in dining. For example the dining surfaces should be 30 inches in height. There should be a non-glaring light and the seats should be able to provide for upright support. The dining area should also have one side opening to another area of the house facilities so that it becomes easier for serving larger numbers during special occasion for example during holidays. They also describe the residential design layout in terms sleeping and dressing. A well designed bedroom facilitates sleeping, relaxing, reading and self reflection. It should also facilitates space for standing, turning, stretching, bending, counters for cosmetics and a full length mirror to be used for grooming. The bed should be long and wide enough for the occupants together with a bedside table, the control of natural light, a source of light near or over the bed and quietness. The layout and the number of bedrooms is however dependent on the defined needs of each inhabitant (Arkkelin & Veitch, 1995).
Arkkelin and Veitch also describe the residential design layout in terms of hygiene. For instance the state that a bathroom design should have a minimum size of 5.5 to 6 feet, a door that when opened will not hit another person at all times and will cover the toilet without exposing the full view when it is partially opened and sufficient light for grooming. He also says that private spaces should be located separately from the other parts of the house so as to promote private function by preventing unwanted and unnecessary intrusion. They have also discussed the residential design layout for support spaces which are kitchens and utility rooms and general storage. In the kitchens they suggest that the refrigerator center should either be placed first or last in the working sequence. Electrical outlets for small appliances, base and wall cabinets should be placed located in a closer proximity to the center.The serving center should be placed in between the eating table and the cooking center. Utility rooms include the laundry, sewing and workshop. Sewing area should be designed in a manner that it will facilitate the sorting, receiving and the preparation of clothing. The sewing area must be characterized by an upright chair, adequate storage, a cutting surface, a sewing machine table good light and many other types of equipment (Gravesham.gov.uk 1996).
- Gravesham.gov.uk. (1996). Residential layout guidelines. Retrieved from
Veitch, R., & Arkkelin, D. (1995). Residential designs. New York: Prentice-Hall Inc.
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