Design, Education, Preliminary Design Stage Series

Episode 6: Site Zoning

Zoning is the process of dividing land in a given area (cities, municipals, local government areas, etc.) into separate uses such as residential, commercial, industrial, etc. This is done to separate functions which are incompatible with one another and also give regulations in any urban growth and development plan. Areas of land are divided by appropriate authorities into zones within which various uses are permitted, which gives a guide for proper site selection.

However, an individual site can also comprise of various zones, which makes it easier in identifying where various functions should be placed due to certain factors. For example, the zoning below is for a proposed international exhibition centre which is located in Kano. The zoning shows neighbouring activities and how the affect the zoning of the site.

Fig. 1 Site Zoning for International Exhibition Centre

Site zoning and bubble diagrams work simultaneously. The zoning of a site affects the bubble diagram which gives the overall functionality of a building. For an independent site, there are two types of zonings. There is the zoning of the site, and zoning of the proposed building. The zoning of the site determines the zoning of the building, but they both share the same criteria for zoning. The criteria are as follows:
• Noise: Noise generation occurs both on and off a site. Noise from neighboring buildings, roads will shape the zoning within a site. For example, in the design of a hospital, patient wards and operating rooms which are quiet areas will be placed far away from sources of noise like roads, parking areas, etc. Machineries and heavy equipment like generators within a site will be zoned to prevent noise pollution to neighboring buildings.
• Accessibility: There is a natural hierarchy within the accessibility of spaces both within the site and within a building. The main access to a site will have a smooth chain of accessibility routes to all public spaces within a site and a building. Service areas within a site or building are not necessarily accessible to the public, therefore they will not be placed in a public area.
• Privacy: This a key factor especially in residential designs. Spaces such as bedrooms, family lounges are meant for the occupants which makes these spaces private. Privacy and accessibility are inversely proportionate, which simply means the more accessible a place is, the less private it is, and vice versa.
• Security: In the design of commercial and institutional buildings, security plays a vital role. Buildings like banks and prisons zone most of their spaces based on how secure the space needs to be. This makes the spaces to be strategically placed in such a manner that only selected people know its specific location and how to access it.

Examples of site zoning for a residential design (Fig. 2), a flour mill industry (Fig. 3), and a multipurpose skyscraper (Fig. 4) are shown below.

Fig. 2 Zoning for Residential Design
Fig 3. Zoning for Flour Mill Industry
Fig. 4 Zoning for Multipurpose Skyscraper

From my designs, you can notice how I went from doing a simple box form zoning (Fig. 2) to a more detailed zoning (Fig. 4). I hope you are able to understand site zoning a bit better. Thank you for reading and stay tuned!

(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)