The Case Against ‘Open Concept’ Floor Plans
post by: Tyson Chamberlain
The Open Concept in today’s architecture has popularized expansive volumes of open area, devoid of interior partitions: eliminating walls and the separation of rooms in favor of large, common living spaces with as many windows as possible. I think that this approach is an overreaction to the perception that more traditional architecture is dark, claustrophobic, and uninteresting.
When a house is traditionally planned, not only are we providing a number of functional needs, such as privacy, security, and protection from the elements, but we are also enriching the human experience with a rational and meaningful connection to the exterior environment.
With our houses, the thoughtful arrangement and variety of spaces we create provide each client with a complex and refined experience. As you walk through the home, light and views are framed and focused in such a way to create character unique to each room. Each connection to the exterior environment is made deliberately for maximum effect of the space. The result is a chain of unique sensory experiences, throughout the progression of the house.
I have come to believe that the Open Concept philosophy can deprive us of the true artistic nature of architectural interiors. Without separation of spaces, the playful interaction with the senses that occurs along the path is non-existent and we are left with a series of uniform spaces that are conglomerated for no real reason but to be “open.” When basic requirements of both space and light for different rooms’ function are ignored, the result is a bland uniformity. Rooms that could and should feel or look different are now all within the same envelope and an opportunity is lost. The feelings evoked by passing through the varying types of spaces we design are the essence of the experience we as architects strive to create. Without variety and separation, the Open Concept is just a diluted trend toward predictable monotony.