Design, Education, Preliminary Design Stage Series

Episode 3: Site Selection Criteria

The selection of a site for any project is one of the most important decisions made during the preliminary stage. All buildings need a location or site on which they are to be built. Majority of projects and buildings done locally have a site chosen before the commencement of the project, meaning architects are hired after the site has already been selected. However, students are giving the task to choose an appropriate site for their given school projects or designs. This is usually to equip them with certain skills which include the ability to analyze and evaluate certain features which improve the performance of the proposed building.

Site selection criteria simply means the certain standards or measures followed in the selection of a site. Depending on the nature of the project, you can have several criteria to base the selection of your site on. Before discussing how to properly identify the criteria of site selection, here are some mistakes generally made by students when reporting the criteria they use for selecting a site:
• Accessibility: Majority of students have accessibility written under the criteria for site selection. Accessibility plays a major role in any site selection which means all sites must be easily accessible and safe during and after construction. Making accessibility a criterion is a bit vague unless you are targeting a certain group of users.
• Electricity: This falls under building services and every building needs certain services to make that building functional. You cannot just report that you chose a site based on electricity.
• Water: This is similar to the above point. Human beings need water to survive. All buildings need water to operate.
• Climate: Climate is the weather condition of a place over a long period of time. When a project is given out, it usually falls under a certain state or region. You are expected to allocate a site within that state or region, which already has a certain climate. Implying that a certain site was chosen because of its climate shows that the person is not familiar on how to choose a site properly.

How to choose criteria for site selection

Criteria for site selection can be developed through the previous step we discussed which is case studies and literature review. The information obtained from that step should include the location of the building type in the city where the case study originated, or online sources or books might specify what to consider for the location of that building type. For example, a house is usually found in residential areas. Different types of houses may require different locations. Private residences like mansions or villas may require remote areas which are quiet, spacious, and lightly populated. Apartments may be found close to the Central Business District (CBD) as its users are considered to be from the working class and it eases movement to their place of work.

Below is an example of a site selection criteria sheet which I developed for a proposed iconic tower which is to be built is Abuja:

Site Selection Criteria for Iconic Tower

From the image above, I chose 4 criteria in which I used for the selection of a site. The criteria are unique to my project and by using them I was able to identify two possible site locations.

Site Evaluation

After identifying possible locations for a site, the next step is to evaluate the sites. This simply means to look at certain features the site has and to identify which site among the two is the best option for the project.

Site Evaluation for Iconic Tower

The image above shows how I evaluated the two sites so as to identify the best option for the project. From the evaluation, Site Two emerged as the best option for the project.

Site Justification

This is the final step, which simply a conclusion on which site you chose and why. Below is an example of a site justification sheet.

Hopefully, we now have a better understanding on site selection criteria. Stay tuned for the next episode of this series. Thank you for reading!

(NOTE: My designs were done before the establishing of Quif Studio. These current blog posts are written in line with research, my experience and through consultations. Any mistakes, omissions etc. that have been noticed in my designs, were made a few years ago. The sole purpose of sharing them is to give you an idea of what each and every step should look like)


3 thoughts on “Episode 3: Site Selection Criteria”

  1. All your criteria there are generic: nothing peculiar to your design. A better way to do it is to look at the different functions your iconic tower will accommodate and then develop criteria for each function. Whole Building Design Guide is a US government website that provides helpful ‘building attributes’ that can be used as criteria for assessment of buildings.
    You admitted that your design was done before the publication and is therefore susceptible to major errors; please stop using your previous designs inorder not to misguide your readers. All in all, it’s a good attempt. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

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