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The Basic Rights & Rules of Dwelling

July 30, 2013

The author’s new book:   The Shape of Things that Work: The Fourth Architecture

The Rights

I. Freedom from Interference:

Every dwelling shall provide isolation between neighbors and neighborhood.

The dwelling entrance shall afford privacy, in accord with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Right, Article 13: (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence” Further to this Right is the potential for expanded surveillance of all members of society by military and civilian intelligence gathering organizations. The mere fact of surveillance diminishes the enjoyment of Dwelling in a free and undisturbed state of being.

II. Establishment of Personal Space:

Every person shall a space to him/herself; a shared bedroom does not suffice.

Such a space may be an alcove with a drape, a corner of a garage, a niche off of a kitchen, or a contained room, but in all cases shall be visually separated from common-use spaces.

III. Access to the Sky:

No less than one Juliet balcony per dwelling, or one garden room, one patio, one semi-enclosed deck

IV. Availability of Daylight:

Every occupiable space shall be illuminated by daylight to the greatest extent feasible. Measures shall be taken by the architect to ensure this Right. Further to this Right, artificial illumination shall be integrated with daylight sources, so that no harsh contrasts are created, day or night whilst within the Dwelling.

V.  Promotion of Economy:

The life-cycle of a Dwelling far exceeds the life expectancy of its original owner. It is the duty of the Designer to incorporate as great a level of energy efficiency in the Dwelling as feasible – as an obligation to the greater good of the Community.

VI. Promotion of Efficiency:

Convenience shall be regarded as more than a nicety. Kitchens, bathing rooms, sleeping rooms and common rooms shall be efficient. 

The Rules

1. The Rule of Entering Amenity

No dwelling shall be entered directly from outside; all dwellings shall be entered by way of a foyer, an alcove, an entrance hall. See Right I.

2. The Rule of Rightness of Size: enough floor space, and not too much:

No less than 500 sq ft per person, no more than 1,500. This is a Rule of CB Wayne.

3. The Rule of Cross-ventilation:

Every sleeping space shall have at least two ventilating exposures. This is a Rule of Christopher Alexander.

4. The Rule of bathing light and ventilation:

Every bathing room shall have a window.

5. The Rule of View:

Windows without a view shall have ornamental glazing. This is a Rule of Frank Wright.

6. The Rule of Playful Materials:

Materials and finishes shall play well with sunlight; thus, in south-facing rooms, floors shall be wood so as to reflect a play of warm light. This is a Rule of CB Wayne.

7. The Rule of Roofs:

Roofs shall respect the site climate; no flat roofs in climates where it snows or rains extensively. No roof shall have gutters, nor leaders. This is a Rule of Duo Dickinson.

8. The Rule of Vertical scale:

Ground floor ceilings shall be no less than 9 feet, nor higher than 11 feet
Upper level ceilings shall be no less than 7’6” nor higher than 9 feet
Attic areas shall be no less than 7’6” high throughout. This is a Rule of CB Wayne.

9. The Rule of Ascending:

No stair between dwelling levels shall have a straight run; all stairs shall have at least one landing. Preferably the landing shall have a seating place and a window. This is a Rule of Lou Kahn.

10. The Rule of The Right Window:

Some windows are for ventilation, some for daylight, and some for view. The purpose of a window should be self-evident, and its shape should be optimized for its differentiation and purpose. This is a Rule of CB Wayne.

11. The Rule of Personal Storage:

For each person living in the dwelling, there shall be no less than 10 linear feet of closet space at least 25” deep, with 10 linear feet of hang rod and 10 linear feet of 12” deep shelving above the rod. Additional shelving above the minimum shelf is desirable. Wherever possible, dressing drawers and cabinets shall be incorporated into the thickness of walls to obviate moveable dressers and miscellaneous storage furniture. This is a Rule of Christopher Alexander and Frank Wright.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 30, 2013 1:09 pm

    lets give the book a plug and a link in the top paragraph, bigger font

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