What are the principal advantages of creating a conceptual design model using masses before diving into the detailed design and building element modeling?
There are a lot of advantages to starting a design with masses. First of all, it's really easy to change things and put floors, roofs, and walls into the building. Second of all, it's really nice to be able to see how much square footage your building has without having to create an entire room schedule, and allows for more flexibility in the beginning of the design process. Finally, you can create buildings with complicated and unique shapes.
Should all buildings be modeled first using conceptual masses?
The masses were really helpful with the large building, but for a small house, I'm not sure it would be necessary. It doesn't take as long to create all of the elements of a small house in comparison to a large building because of the number of levels and size of the building, so it would be equally easy to create all of the elements for a small house normally or by using masses. I think that for any building that is as large (or even a little smaller) as the engineering project that we did last week, the process would be simpler if masses were used to "sketch" the building.