What Is Massing Study?
Before coming up with drawings for an architectural project, there are several things you need to do or study. One of those steps is massing study. Doing a massing study is very important and helpful to the architect. What is massing study? And what is it needed for?
What Is Massing Study?
Massing study is the study of the general shape, form, and size of the project. It is often the starting point of architectural design. Massing study helps the architect see the project in terms of masses or blocks. Massing refers to the structure in a three-dimensional form. It also helps in determining the functionality of the structure.
What Is It Needed For?
Massing study is needed for all structures. The massing decisions depend on the specifics of each site and its goals. It can have a significant impact on the surface area of a building enclosure, the walls, ceiling, and foundation of the structure. It is also needed for the limitations of heights due to set back requirements, visual integrity of high profile areas, and to check out the overall design of the idea. Design plays a part in massing study by helping the architect see how the two elements will work together.
Massing Helps Control Energy
Massing uses the general shape and size of the structure to minimize energy loads and maximize free energy. It is an important factor in passive heating, cooling, and daylighting. Orientation of the building plays a big part in massing. The way the building is oriented can allow you to obtain free energy from the sun. The sun heats buildings and by designing the building in a way that soaks up the sunlight or reflect its in warmer times can help lower your HVAC usage. Buildings that have dark roofs or pavement soak up more heat from the sun. Reflective roofs or roofs with vegetation on top reflect the sunlight soak up more heat.
Below is an example from Auto Desk.com on how good massing uses less energy. Both buildings have the same area.
Image via www.sustainabilityworkshop.autodesk.com
Good massing allows the architect to determine the best size, shape, and orientation of the building. It also allows you to live comfortably based on how the sun rotates around the home. Massing is one of the fundamental steps to drawing up plans.