2019 Semester in Sustainable Design/Build - Parti

September 20, 2019
By Madi Visser, Semester Program Teaching Assistant


Written by Lily Hammerling - Week 5 of our design build semester and everything is in full swing. We spent the last week finalizing our drawings for the Design and Review Board (DRB) of Waitsfield. This consisted of a lot of discussions, practice drawings, and revisiting the concept of our building par ti. What is a parti you ask? Not a late night get together after hours, at least not in the design world. According to Julio Bermudez, a parti is “the most basic organizational principle that expresses

your architectural design”, which to some of us non-architectural minded folk, this definition doesn’t help much. The article continues to explore the meaning of par ti and how it translates into the entire design process. 


One of our design charets consisted of coming up with our own personal parti for the building and sharing with the group. Many of us expressed the feelings of openness, welcoming, light, airy and natural. The idea of a par ti could be so simple and yet have so many complex characteristics that it was difficult to pin down exactly what we wanted our building to represent. We continued to work through our floor plan which we had narrowed down to two concepts which we dubbed “the barbell” and “the axis”. Both plans had their pros and cons, and it felt like our team was split between the two. We thoroughly explored the par ti that each plan represented and what that meant for our building; the barbell par ti expressed a strong position of movement throughout the plan from public areas being open and welcoming to a more private reclusive area. The axis par ti expressed a more communal area with limited walls and conjoining common spaces. We ended up voting and the building to come will represent the barbell par ti.


Now that we have a (mostly) concrete design, we’ve been able to go on field trips and start laying out the building on site. This coming week we’ll be learning about the specifics of construction drawings, material choices of insulation, interior walls, and the construction process. I personally am very excited to start building, and seeing as we only have 12 weeks left I think everyone is itching to start the construction process.