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Where Does Design Begin


Where does design begin? An architect will give you many different answers depending on what you are looking for. Is there a program? A set number of spaces that are intended to be inside and/or outside. There could be a desire to create a building that is unique, sustainable or another goal to achieve with the final product. Ultimately though, all design starts with the SITE!


The location of the property determines a great deal of what the building can become. The site dictates what can be on that property, heights, sizes, number of structures, and many other aspects that you might have to abide by. One main aspect is what the property is zoned for. Each city or county, referred to as AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction), provides a zone for all land. This zoning is intended to facilitate growth in that area and attempt to keep similar uses together or blend in order to contribute to the overall community.  Here is a link, for those in Boise, to understand what a city is trying to achieve: https://www.cityofboise.org/departments/planning-and-development-services/planning-and-zoning/


Commercially, zoning can impact what type of development can be placed on that property. For single family residential, this zoning might impact the size of your house, if you can have a basement or a detached shop / garage in the back as well as if that shop / garage can have living quarters, ADU (Additional Dwelling Unit). It is important to research a property’s zoning to understand all the restrictions that might be placed on this new building.

Once the type of zoning is identified, then we can start to understand how the building will fit on the site and this is where planning brings the project to life.


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