The shape of a building has a great effect on the relative degrees of privacy and overcrowding in it, and this in turn has a critical effect on people’s comfort and well-being.


In small buildings, don’t cluster all the rooms together around each other; instead string out the rooms one after another, so that distance between each room is as great as it can be. You can do this horizontally—so that the plan becomes a thin, long rectangle; or you can do it vertically—so that the building becomes a tall narrow tower. In either case, the building can be surprisingly narrow and still work—8, 10, and 12 feet are all quite possible.

… for a very small house or office the pattern of Wings of Light (107) is almost automatically solved - no one would imagine that the house should be more than 25 feet wide. But in such a house or office there are strong reasons to make the building even longer and thinner still. This pattern was originally formulated by Christie Coffin.

Use the long thin plan to help shape outdoor space on the site - Positive Outdoor Space (106); the long perimeter of the building sets the stage for Intimacy Gradient (127) and for the Cascade of Roofs (116). Make certain that the privacy which is achieved with the thinness of the building is balanced with the communality at the crossroads of the house - Common Areas at the Heart (129)

Reference for full-text of Pattern: p. 535medium-confidence