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  1. Sclavus

    Sclavus Active Member

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    Architecture

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Sclavus, Oct 6, 2017.

    How do you lay out a building in your story? I've borrowed the layout of a building I know well to create my homeless shelter for my story, but I'm not sure it makes sense. I seem to have trouble creating a clear mental picture of where things are placed within the building, and consequently I have difficulty moving my characters through the building.
     
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    I'm assuming that, for a homeless shelter, it'll be a largish building, perhaps an old hotel...so Google is your friend...see if any of these take your fancy?

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=floor+plan+hotel&safe=strict&rls=com.microsoft:en-GB:IE-Address&dcr=0&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjb3-yX39vWAhUlKMAKHatdCAsQsAQIJQ&biw=1440&bih=808

    ETA: Don't forget that the ground floor would probably be mainly restaurant, bar, kitchens, reception, etc. - and if it's in a city, it may have to be an odd shape to fit around the existing buildings
     
  3. Sclavus

    Sclavus Active Member

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    It's actually an old church, two stories, about 90' X 175'. It only houses 25 guys, though it could hold 75 or so.

    I guess my problem isn't so much the architecture as much as where to put the beds, the kitchen, the offices, the showers, etc.
     
  4. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    https://www.google.co.uk/search?safe=strict&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-GB%3AIE-Address&dcr=0&biw=1440&bih=808&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=floor+plan+church&oq=floor+plan+church&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0l2j0i30k1j0i8i30k1.352296.353506.0.353895.6.6.0.0.0.0.114.618.2j4.6.0....0...1.1.64.psy-ab..0.6.613....0.C_b8Kg-cn90#imgrc=HjuuomhodcOsMM:&spf=1507284553273

    Most churches are typically large, open-plan buildings...pews, if still extant, would provide basic beds...you'd have the private offices of the vestry, etc., confessional booths if it's RC...pulpit, font, lady chapel, choir stalls, raised altar at the Eastern end.

    I'd suggest Googling church architecture to ensure that when you use these terms you know what you're talking about.
     
  5. Sclavus

    Sclavus Active Member

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    It's an old Baptist church where I was a member for eighteen years, the librarian for a year, and the custodian for six months. Here's a write-up I did, modified slightly for public understanding:

    The main entrance opens to the foyer. To the immediate left are the main doors of the sanctuary, renovated to serve as the mess hall and a kitchen. Going forward from the church's main entrance is a narrow walkway ending in a T-junction. To the left is a hallway at the back of the sanctuary, with entrances to the sanctuary on the left, and the pastor's and secretaries' offices on the right. The pastor's office is the largest, so it serves as the custodial office and bedroom for the general manager (Vincent, my main character, is the custodian/general manager). The entrance to the attic and steeple bell tower is in Vincent's office.

    Going right at the T-junction will lead to the nursery, renovated to hold the owner's office and a "guest room," where the owner's daughter will stay. The other nursery rooms across the hall have been renovated into the shelter library and quiet room. The guest room has its own bathroom and shower. The owner's office also doubles as a security hub, which is to say that's where the security camera monitors are.

    Going back to the main entrance, we have a staircase against the wall across from the sanctuary's main entrance. The staircase leads straight down to the basement, which is--in effect--one large room. To the immediate right of the stairs as we come down, there are shower rooms. The "boiler room" with the hot water heater and other utility controls is located under the stairs, in a "cupboard under the stairs Harry Potter" fashion. The rest of the basement holds a lounge area, with accordion partitions that can be moved to mute the sound of the lounge area from the two columns of bunk beds, where residents sleep.

    There are emergency exits located by Vincent's office, Padre's (the owner's) office, an antechamber in the mess hall, and in at least three points in the basement.
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    How much of this is for the eventual audience, and how much is just for yourself?

    If it's just for yourself, I'd sketch it out for quick reference. If it's for your eventual audience - ask yourself if they'll really care. The more detail you put in, the more room there is for confusion/contradiction. You can have a character "lead the way to the showers" without detailing the exact route taken.
     
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  7. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    I'd echo @BayView - sketch it out in plan form for yourself, and don't sweat the details for your readers - unless the fact that something is 100 yards away will affect how long it takes to travel there and THAT will impact upon the story, nobody's going to care about going through the sacristy to reach the crypt...

    Certainly, I've read books that had a similar "picture this scene" description of the layout...my eyes glaze over after a couple of sentences...especially as you've given us sanctuary mess hall/kitchen, pastor's office custodial office/bedroom, etc.
     
  8. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Senior Member

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    [anecdotal evidence]
    Most Catholic churches are open-plan, I think. I've been Protestant all my life, and I don't think I've ever walked into a lobby-and-chapel Protestant church, let alone the seven-by-ten 'foyer' my grandparents' Catholic church has in front of the sanctuary.


    Even the smallest Protestant churches in the most run-down, white-people-ghetto towns (that I've been to) have had hallways worth of classrooms in addition to a gym (or what passes for one) and some sort of rec room. Next to Chicago is Gary, Indiana. Next to Gary is Hammond--my family is from a town in southern Indiana that looks a lot like Hammond, minus the murder rate.
    [/anecdotal evidence]
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Back when I used to play Call of Cthulhu, almost every floor plan I ever used came from Villas and Cottages, by Calvert Vaux.

    So maybe a book of floor plans would be useful.

    (Edited to add: Assuming you care. I had to care for playing a roleplaying game, because people would map things. For the HFN, I know roughly what's upstairs and what's downstairs.)
     
  10. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    If it's not important to the story and plot, my eyes glaze over the layout of the rooms. I'm dyslexic, so the relation of the rooms to each other means nothing to me. I'd get lost if I was there! :D:eek:

    For a piece I have on the backburner in which the plot necessitates the MC going from room to room in her home, I "borrowed" a floorplan from a house online that looked similar to what I had in mind.

    Real estate listings are extremely helpful for this, even for some vintage homes. Many have virtual 360 tours and video tours.

    For my current WIP, I got the description of their summer rental from real estate listings in the town where the characters are renting.
     
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