3-D Home Kit: Design Basics
Houses often have two major areas: one for public spaces -- for example, living room, family room, and kitchen -- and one for private spaces including the bedrooms. Each design here shows an example how you can arrange these major areas into a variety of basic building shapes and styles. Details and a selection of roof types and materials are added to enhance the designs. Think of the possibilities.

Roof Design & Types
The design of the roof is one of the most distinctive features of a house. To properly design the roof you should consider climate, use of the upper floor area, natural lighting, and overall aesthetics. For example, a steep roof slope is ideal to shed snow; a gambrel or mansard roof can add to usable upper floor space; and skylights and dormers can add natural light. To make the roof fit, you may have to modify your floor plan. The models shown demonstrate the most common types of roofs. (Click thumbnails to enlarge.)

Flat roof & shed roof: simplest designs (flat roofs have slight slope for drainage); ideal for roof deck and clerestory windows
Gambrel roof: similar to the gable roof, but slope is broken into two angles; lower slope is steeper than the upper slope
Gable roof: two slopes which meet along the ridge; triangular shaped upper wall section is called a gable
Saltbox: similar to gable roof with one longer roof section; house has two stories on one side and one story on the opposite side
Mansard roof: slopes on all sides, with each side having an almost flat upper slope and an almost vertical lower slope. Developed by Architect Francois Mansart (1598-1666) to maximize the use of the enclosed space.
Hip roof: all sides slope from ridge or point; provides low profile with protective overhang on all sides
Scale
You can use the 1/4-inch scale grid on the back of the kit's sheets to determine many of the dimensions on the models shown here. First, count the number of shingles, clapboards, bricks or other details along the edge of the piece you want to measure. Then, mark the same number of items on the kit sheet of the same material. For example, mark the length of 24 roof shingles. Since each grid box equals one foot, you can determine the actual size by counting the number of grid boxes on the back of the sheet.

Printable guides and problems
Design + Math (756k)
Hands on design (116k)
Design and builder problems (284k)
Isometric grid (216k)


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