No homogeneous room, of homogeneous height, can serve a group of people well. To give a group a chance to be together, as a group, a room must also give them the chance to be alone, in one’s and two’s in the same space.


Make small places at the edge of any common room, usually no more than 6 feet wide and 3 to 6 feet deep and possibly much smaller. These alcoves should be large enough for two people to sit, chat, or play and sometimes large enough to contain a desk or a table.

… many large rooms are not complete unless they have smaller rooms and alcoves opening off them. This pattern, and several which follow it, define the form of minor rooms and alcoves which help to complete Common Areas at the Heart (129), Farmhouse Kitchen (139), Sequence of Sitting Spaces (142), Flexible Office Space (146), A Place to Wait (150), Small Meeting Rooms (151), and many others.

Give the alcove a ceiling which is markedly lower than the ceiling height in the main room - Ceiling Height Variety (190); make a partial boundary between the alcove and the common room by using low walls and thick columns - Half-Open Wall (193), Column Place (226); when the alcove is on an outside wall, make it into a window place, with a nice window, low sill, and a built-in seat - Window Place (180), Built-in Seats (202); and treat it as Thickening the Outer Walls (211). For details on the shape of the alcove, see The Shape of Indoor Space (191).

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 828high-confidence