Primary building elements Print

Design Outcome

Desi​gn Checklist​

  1. ​​​​​​​​The detailed parts of the house contribute positively to the overall design

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​It is important to design the building and all façades as a whole, not forgetting about the details. 
The detail can let the building down if not well considered in relation to the character of the local context, and to the principal design themes for the development. The scale and proportion of the doors and windows are extremely important in defining the overall appearance. This section discusses specific elements of the building façade - and how these individual components can be integrated as part of the whole to create a positive contribution to the street. This section also provides help on the issue of entrances and how to design these so that they are safe, secure and welcoming.​​​

Better Design Practice

Porches and Entries

Design porches and entries as an integral part of each house and ensure the entry is clearly visible, addresses the street or driveway/accessway and provides shelter for people entering the house. 

Make front porches deep enough to be functional, allowing them to accommodate a person with shopping and/or a pram, as well as providing a suitably generous space for meeting and greeting.

Doors and Windows

Locate doors, windows and balconies in a manner which minimises overlooking towards adjacent properties. Principal outlook from an upper level balcony should face either internally (towards the back garden or communal open space) or towards a public street or open space. 

Design doors and windows and align them on the faç​ades to develop a coherent pattern and rhythm. For coherence, these should be considered as a ‘suite’ of related shapes and sizes that are used throughout the development. Relate the size, location and number of windows to the overall scale and proportions of the house, as well as providing daylight and controlling solar access to internal rooms.


Integrate material selection with the overall façade design and aim for low maintenance, robust materials that will weather well. Materials are an important element to consider in responding to character and reinforcing or establishing sense of place. Use a materials board, including colours, to illustrate materials, choice, and how they work together. 

Consider how materials selection and use of colour can reinforce and tie together the primary building elements of the house. Utilise durable materials which ensure buildings maintain their appearance and integrity over time. Provide a varied but co-ordinated palette of materials where appropriate.

Rules of Thumb

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