Oct 18

Architecture – Apartment models designed by me

Are you architect or real estate builder / developer and need custom floor plans, elevations, 3D perspective, etc?
I offer design services via internet for anyone in the world!
Provide your project requirements via LIVE CHAT or leave a comment and let me do the best floor plan for you.

Are you student? Get inspired from my projects and contact me for free consultation! But do not request me to do your university project if you cannot pay my time, also is your job to learn. Or, you can purchase DWG files.

Most projects shown on this page are designed in 2009-2012 for study and artistic purposes. Since 2012 I turned towards designing for customers, and most of them want single-family homes, not apartments!


2011 design
CentralLiving Rectangle street view CentralLiving Rectangle floor plan CentralLiving Rectangle aerial view

An original concept “Made by Teoalida” with no inspiration from any existing building, named for centrally-placed living room (but also for central courtyards, circular corridor and perimeter apartments). 4-Room (126 sqm) and 5½-Room (156 sqm) apartment plans, arranged to form a beautiful continuous facade with paired bedroom windows, also featuring an entrance hallway not seen in my previous projects.

Idea came in November 2010 when I designed Rectangle floor plan, 3D design added in 2011, a Triangle floor plan was also designed but never published, then giving by the positive comments from friends, in 2015 I redesigned both Rectangle and Triangle versions, both floor plan and 3D, in a more beautiful mix of neoclassic and postmodernism.

Other floorplans are possible, such as U-shaped with 6 or 8 units per floor.

2015 redesign
CentralLiving Rectangle floor plan CentralLiving Rectangle street view CentralLiving Rectangle aerial view
CentralLiving Triangle floor plan CentralLiving Triangle street view CentralLiving Triangle aerial view

“Making of” video

Small apartment block in Nigeria

4-unit apartment block designed at full details, for a customer rather than as hobby. On a plot size of 18 x 36 meters in Lagos, he originally built a single-storey semi-detached house at back and now is building a two-storey block with four 2-bedroom apartments measuring 16 x 10 meters. To save space I designed an one-flight staircase with different position of apartment doors on each floor.

Small apartment block Small apartment block Small apartment block

Apartment blocks for small lots

I designed 3D models of BIG buildings but I missed the SMALL ones that most real estate investors may be looking for! The blocks with 2 apartments per floor, but unlike the segmented blocks composed by multiple staircases, they are designed to be individual buildings so windows can be placed on side walls.

The 14 x 10 m was designed in 2013 for a customer desperate to build a walk-up block with 10 apartments on a lot intended for one-family house. Same for 16 x 10 m one.

In same 2013 I designed from personal interest, a block 18 x 15 m with 4-room, a masterpiece in apartment planning efficiency, offering privacy for bedrooms despite of minimal hallways (you can invite guests in living room and they cannot see through bedroom doors). In June 2015 I improved floor plan, extended living room balcony over bedroom and also designed a 3D model in Art Deco architectural style.

Art Deco apartment block Art Deco apartment block Art Deco apartment block
Small apartment block with 2-room flats Narrow apartment block with 3-bedroom flats Small apartment block with 3-room flats

The narrowest apartment block

In 2014 a Indian left this comment looking to build an apartment block on 5 x 12 m lot, including lift. Impossible! In 2016 another Indian asked me to design an apartment for a 4.8 m wide lot, with kitchen in front for Vastu reasons, which turned impossible. This time I am also publish there a drawing to show you what is minimum land required to build a block having on each floor a 2-bedroom apartment: 5 x 15 meters.

5-meter wide narrow apartment block

About me

I started studying architecture in 2008 by designing a virtual city with high-quality apartments, imagining being president of a country or manager of a housing corporation, to offer quality housing for at least half of population… like a public housing. Apartments are designed with mind to high-density, average 100 square meters apartment size and 30 sq m per person (virtual city – because I am not a developer, I do not have capital to build them).

Most projects shown on this page are designed for 3D artistic hobby in 2008-2012. In 2012 I stopped the hobby, to concentrate on designing for customers, who wants houses and not apartments, leaving few 3D models unpublished. Anyway, this page became too long, too many images.

2008-2013 projects use black floor plans and 3D design at 2048×1536.
2014-present projects use colorful floor plans at lower resolution, and 3D design at 1920×1080 or 1440×1080.
Starting from 2015, floor plans will be converted to colorful style, one by one, when I have free time.

For pre-2013 works, apartment size indicated in floor plan is net floor area (not including walls and balconies).

House & apartment design statistics (Excel file with all my house and apartment designs, one per row, showing room size of each room for calculating gross floor area and compare different apartment models).

The conception stage is a hard job and is finalized with the drawing of AutoCAD floor plan. The 3D design stage is sometimes easy job but takes long time. and I do it only when the floor plan is fully optimized. I do not draw every block in 3D, due to lack of time and inspiration for making distinctive architectural styles! I take more care about technical part rather than artistic part, so the 3D models may contain some errors, usually inside so not visible. Some textures may appear wrong because of AutoCAD perspective bug.

Comparison of different layouts from my apartment block models

2015 compilation (published January 2016)
All floor plans redesigned in metric system, with 10, 20, 30 cm thick walls

2011 compilation (published January 2012)
All floor plans designed in binary metric system, 12.5 cm internal walls and 31.25 cm thick external walls

Extremely small apartments from / for Philippines

These floor plans are based on sketches done for real customers. They customers were not interested in a complete project so I finished floor plan as hobby and posted there.

Philippines have the smallest apartments in the world. Room sizes are comparable with Hong Kong, but instead of 2/3-bedroom apartments, in Philippines you can see huge condos dominated by studios and 1-room, for example http://www.smresidencescondo.com/myplace-plan.html with units ranging from 16 sqm studio to 40 sqm 2-bedroom.

Philippines tiny apartments Philippines tiny apartments

European Apartments

Specific rules of apartments in Europe: unlike Asia and America, there are many hallways, typical you enter in a hallway rather than in living room. In some apartments, usually smaller ones, you pass through living room to get in bedrooms. Day and night areas are well separated. Window for bathroom is not mandatory. En-suite bathrooms are uncommon in Europe, usually 3-room apartments have one full bathroom and a WC, 4-room apartments have one bathroom and one WC with shower, but there is no exact rule. The bathroom is always placed in night area, while the WC is usually in day area. Most important rooms are facing south, stairwell can be on both south and north facades, due to this I have no idea how to make all apartments with entrance in day area… is impossible! If you are from Western Europe or have knowledge, please give me some info!

This is inspired mostly from North Europe (Sweden, Norway, Finland), Germany boost a ratio of 42 sqm per person and only 2.2 persons per dwelling unit. However apartments are smaller, having 2 to 4 rooms, I have no info about average apartment size, many families own both houses and apartments. I heard that 5-room apartments exists, but I never saw them.

In 2009 I was criticized by a British architect, saying that my “ideal city” looks outdated like 1960s social housing. Well, now I really wanted to design something in style of 1960s-1980s European public housing, both capitalist and stalinist-communist. Planning started in 2010 with lack of knowledge. 3D design done, published in March 2012 together with European Landed Houses that have up to 6 bedrooms.

Housing estate with linear and tower blocks Housing estate with U-shaped blocks
European linear floor plan, 2, 3, 4 room apartments Short Rectangle Tower floor plan Long Rectangle Tower floor plan Rectangle Tower floor plan

The apartment complex shown in 3D design contains low-rise blocks with 40 apartments and high-rise blocks again with 40 apartments, in 120×56 sqm of land there are 2 low-rise and 1 high-rise block, containing 24 2-room, 64 3-room, 32 4-room. Average apartment size 80 sqm. 179 apartments per hectare.

Linear Small

Linear Small (formerly called Old Generation) is the cheaper pair of Linear Large, livingroom is facing to common corridor, which made me to call it a Class C project. Designed in 2009.

Short version, 64 meters length, 8 units per floor of 2-, 3- and 4-room. Long version, 76 meters length, 8 units per floor of 3- and 4-room. And of course, other versions. The floor plan and 3D model shows half of short version and half of long version.

Corridor-style blockCorridor-style block floor plan

Linear Large

Linear Large (formerly called New Generation) is the pair and opposite of Linear Small (formerly called Old Generation), all livingrooms and (almost) all bedrooms are facing opposite common corridor. 8 standard types of apartments ranging from 84 to 133 sqm, plus other custom types for non 90° joints, placed along a common corridor, can form various shapes. The 104 sqm 4-Room Middle is “base”, most common apartment, made me to classify as Class B block, even if the 3-Room Angled apartment is bigger, due to big livingroom caused by block regulated facade. Designed in 2009.

Shape examples: 61 by 48 meters L-shape with 8 units per floor, 4- and 5-Room; 88 by 48 meters S-shape with 16 units per floor, 4- and 5-Room; 64-meter diameter Octagon with 16 units per floor, only 3-Room, or other more complicated shapes.

Corridor-style block floor plan, 3-room to 5-room apartments Linear Large S-16 floor plan
Linear Large L-8 Linear Large O-16
Linear Large S-16, aerial view Linear Large S-16, detail view

Linear Maisonette

Linear Maisonette (Formerly named Maisonette Generation) is a Class B project, 14-meter width block with flat facades. Floor plan shows version with 8 units per floor, 60 meters length, the 3D model shows version with 12 units per floor, 88 meters length, at 28 meters apart. 140 sqm apartments of 7 meters width, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, walk-in wardrobe for master bedroom. Maisonette (sometimes misspelled Mansionette) is almost a worldwide term which means two-storey apartments. Designed in 2009.

Linear Maisonette, street view Linear Maisonette, aerial view
Linear Maisonette floor plan, 140 sqm duplex apartments

Singapore Corridor 3/4-Room

Formerly called Sharpback Small, Class C project inspired by the most common apartment blocks built in Singapore between 1975 and 1990: New Generation with 3-Room (67 / 82 sqm) and 4-Room on endings (92 sqm). Model A with 3-Room (75 sqm) and 4-Room on endings (105 sqm). These are gross areas (includes wall areas), not net areas (usable areas), for comparison, my gross areas are 76 / 90 / 104 sqm. I improved it by inverting kitchen with master bedroom and re-proportioned it in a non-equal livingroom and bedrooms widths, to form a livingroom – master bedroom ratio of 3:2 and a smaller kitchen, rather than Singapore equally-sized livingroom and kitchen.

The great 14-meter block width and narrow apartment plan means a high land usage efficiency, the block length is variable, and the proportions obtained from 7/8-metre apartments with 3/4-metre rooms creates a beautiful facade, BUT… what do you think about the floorplan?

2010 design
Sharpback Small I-12 floor plan
Sharpback Small I-12 Sharpback Small I-12

2015 minor redesign
Corridor Block

Singapore Corridor 4/5-Room

Formerly called Sharpback Large, Class C project inspired by the blocks built Singapore between 1985 and 2000, but due to combination of different floorplans, like this, this and this and many modifications, it is barely similar with any Singapore block. Can be built in many shapes, I, U, L, also the corners of Sharpback Large can be combined with the middle of Sharpback Small. BUT… what do you think about the floorplan?

2010 design
Sharpback Large U-8 floor plan
Sharpback Large U-8, corridor-style block with 4-room and 5-room apartments Sharpback Large U-8

2015 minor redesign, apartments shortened by 50 cm
Corridor Block

Singapore Segmented 3/4-Room

Combination between Sharpback Small and Sharpback Large apartments in Segmented style block. Sharpback is a nickname invented by me for the Singapore blocks having slits on the back facade for kitchens or bedrooms.

2011 original design vs 2015 redesign
Sharpback Segmented 18m Sharpback Segmented 21m Segmented block

Zig-Zag / Linear-H

Simple and most common block plan found on all continents. Originally designed in 2008 as Class A project with 84 sqm 3-Room apartments same used in Trapeze Tower, was redesigned in 2011 as a Class C block with 70 sqm 3-Room and 93 sqm 4-Room apartments.

H-shaped block with 70 sqm 3-room and 90 sqm 4-room H-shaped block floor plan with 4 units per floor H-shaped block


Segmented Mixed

Class A project with only 2 apartments per floor, it have one of the highest land usage efficiency due to great building width. Design inspired from the 5-Room Improved slab blocks built in Singapore between 1975 and 1985, having living + dining + 3 bedrooms, around 120 sqm. I improved the design by pushing master bath to inside, formed a bigger L-shaped master bedroom, added balconies to kitchens, and other small dimension changes which slightly enlarged the apartments. Then I derived the 5-Room End and 4-Room Angled. The 3D model shows the version with 6 of 4-Room and 2 of 5-Room at endings, 96 metres length.

2009 designSegmented Mixed floor plan Segmented Mixed aerial view
2015 redesign, dimensions reduced a bit
Segmented block

New Segmented

New layout inspired from… hmm, can’t decide! Staircase-style block are very common in South Korea, but with a different layout, longer and thinner. Some day I will make 3D design too.

2011 design vs 2015 minor redesign
Segmented 24m Segmented 24m

Triangular blocks

Two triangle shaped buildings based on a 4 meters grid made in early 2009 and classified as Class A, 10 meters width, all living rooms and bedrooms are facing to outer facade and all kitchens are facing to inner courtyard.

Small version with 9 units per floor, 44 meters facades @ 18 meters from centre, 3D design not adapted to the new rules yet.

Large version with 12 units per floor, 48 meters facades @ 22 meters from centre and 8 meters facades @ 30 meters from centre.

The small version have advantage of bigger apartments and disadvantage of centrally-placed livingroom, but this disadvantage made possible to design a regulated symmetrical block with odd number of apartments per floor!

Triangle block, perspective view
Triangle block, small version Triangle block, large version


This is my most complex project so far (formerly called Freedom Generation), started in late 2009. Design inspired from 2000s housing projects built in various Asian cities, a variety of apartment plans of different classes, from 1-bedroom to 4-bedroom units, 50 sq m / 550 sq ft to 130 sq m / 1400 sq ft or over, are joined in pairs on wings, linked with a central core (staircase and lifts) by bridge-corridors. The freedom of shape variations is nearly unlimited. Some kitchens are facing inside.

Freestyle Y-8 Freestyle standard unit types Freestyle T-6

U-shaped 472

After designing numerous individual blocks during my first year, I planned to design a condo-like project in November 2009. I choose a U-shape composed by 7 blocks each with 3 wings of 2 apartments, that apparently makes entire complex to look like a single building, and a multi-storey carpark in the middle.

I considered it ugly, having a single building and too monotonous facade on other side, so I never finished it, I never wasted time trying to connect carpark to blocks. I rather decided to abandon it and to start a better, second condo project: Freestyle Linear 1024!

Freestyle U-shaped apartment complex

Linear 1024

This project is not only a masterpiece in Computer Aided Design, but also a fully functional condominium featuring one of the best layouts possible!

After designing the Freestyle U-Shaped 472 condo having apparently a single ugly block and varying roof line, I planned to design a modern condo with exactly 1024 apartments, and uniform design dominated by long linear blocks with facades with continuous horizontal lines. Full-height windows were a later idea. The development is composed by six 100-meter long blocks and four 60-meter long blocks provide a mix of 384/320/320 units of 3/4/5-room apartments, and proportional sizes (73 / 96 / 122 sqm net floor areas). The 5-rm units gets the best views, but some 3-rm and 4-rm also get direct pool view!

Distance between blocks: 30 meters between main facades, 20 meters between side facades, and 60 meters across pool. Land size: 6.45 hectares (288 by 224 meters). Density: 158.7 dwelling units per hectare.

All blocks are oriented in same direction (east-west), typical in equatorial countries like Singapore and Malaysia to minimize sun inside apartments, while the oversized olympic pool is oriented north-south to get sunshine all day long between blocks. There are 4 spaces between blocks, usable for more pools, tennis courts oriented north-south (as they should be), barbecue pit and other facilities. Clubhouse rooftop is used as basketball court. The single-storey basement carpark spreading over entire area of apartment complex provide space for parking about 1040 cars and a large amount of greenery. Drop-off porch and covered walkways are not necessary, you can drive through carpark and stop at just 16 meters from each lift.

Freestyle Linear 1024 apartment complex, blue version Freestyle Linear 1024 apartment complex, white version

For all curious guys who ask how much time took me to do this big project, I can say that designing spread over one year, starting in early 2011, I cannot estimate actual time of working, because I let it waiting until new ideas came in my mind.
Due to few customers and paid projects in 2012, I had to delay such hobby/artistic projects.

The drawing is still not finished, but decided to publish it in August 2012 because I no longer have TIME to continue such projects, and anyway it looks complete. I may post later more plans and 3D photos.

Next things to do may be recolouring each block in own colour, redesign the clubhouse, add children playgrounds (although they will overload drawing for no reason, AutoCAD is already crashing due to drawing size), feel free to give new ideas!

Typical floorplan of Freestyle Linear 1024 apartment complex Freestyle Linear 1024 pool view

I already made in late 2011 plans and began a third condo, composed by 8 or 10 zig-zag shaped blocks arranged in 4 lines, varying height from 8 to 16 floors, probably 708 apartments… but, because since 2012 I concentrate time on PAID work, I am doubt if I will ever have time to finish it.

Rectangle Small Tower

Class A project mainly based on 4-meter grid. 4-Room apartments (livingroom, 2 bedrooms, and a smaller studyroom) and 5-Room duplex penthouses at the top. The floorplan is my idea, no inspiration from any real building. Can have 2 versions: 32 by 20 meters (shown in floorplan) and 28 by 24 meters, the single difference is position of core with staircase and lifts, the size of apartments or core is the same. The 3D models shows both versions.

Designed originally in December 2008, redesigned 2010.

Rectangle Tower ground view Rectangle Tower aerial view
Rectangle Tower Floor plan

Square Towers

Class B projects, not inspired from any real building in the world. Designed in May 2009.

Small version, 26 by 24 meters, 100 sqm 4-room apartments, concurrent for Rectangle Small Tower.

Large version, 28 by 28 meters, 135 sqm 5-room apartments and potential for 200+ sqm 6/7-room penthouse, concurrent for Squares Tower (there is a name conflict here!).

Are they better than Rectangle Small and Squares Tower, or not?

Squaree Small Square Large

Trapeze Tower

Like all my 2008 projects, this is another Class A block based on 4-meter grid, designed in AutoCAD with no inspiration from any real building. Two 24 meters wide wings @ 14 meters from center (3-Room apartment) and one 28 meters wide wing @ 20 meters from center (4-Room apartment).

Trapeze tower, floor plan Trapeze tower with 6 units per floor

Squares Tower

Tower block inspired from the point blocks built in Singapore between 1970 and 1985, which are 26×26 metres and have 117-125 sqm 5-Room flats (living room, dining-family room, plus three bedrooms).

Designed in December 2008, enlarged to 28×28 metres and, like all my 2008 projects, was based on a 4-metre grid, then one room was split to form dining and study rooms. This creates a more versatile layout, the study room can become walk-in-wardrobe for master bedroom, or can be enlarged to a full bedroom if the other bedroom is merged with the dining to create a big 8×6 metres piano concert room.

Square tower floor plan, 130 sqm 5-room apartments Square tower with 4 apartments per floor

In 2011 I designed a second version closer to original floor plan of Singapore blocks but never published it. I redesigned in 2015 in colorful floor plan and published there.

Square tower floor plan, 130 sqm 5-room apartments

Triangle Tower

Probably one of my most beautiful early projects, with 4-Room apartments and 5-Room duplex penthouses, classified as Class B due to size of smaller bedrooms. The wide floorplan and enormous staircase core with space for 4 lifts allows it to be built up to 32 storey skyscraper. It eliminate a previous project named Hexagon Tower. There are a lot of triangular towers around the world that are more or less similar with my design, including Bishan Loft (no floorplans available).

Designed in May 2009, redesigned 2010.

Triangle tower with 6 apartments per floor Triangle Tower Block Triangle Tower with 6 apartments per floor
Triangle tower with 6 apartments per floor

Linear Studios

Linear StudiosThis is the FIRST apartment block designed at someone’s request, in early 2012. An Indian developer asked me to design 20-30 sq m low-cost studio apartments, for slum clearance. I have emailed him 3 proposals, asking to choose with which one to proceed, he replied that will come with a detailed answer next week, but this never happened. Hope I did not disappointed him by not giving a complete project, but in the same time he shall PAY if wants a complete project.

In my Virtual City I would not build apartments with less than 2 rooms, but another 3 visitors of website asked me for studio apartments. So in 2013 I decided to post here one of the 3 block proposals done originally for the Indian developer, now enhanced with 3 apartment types (normally I give confidentiality, I do NOT post customer projects, but this deal never leaded to a complete project).

Floor plan is inspired from Singapore rental blocks built since 2008 to present, having 1/2-room units, all with separate doorless kitchen, and toilets accessible from kitchen is a tradition.

Linear 2/3-Room

Formerly called Linear Studios, designed in 2011, this is a Class B project similar with Singapore all-Studio blocks built after 2000, which have 35/45 sqm 2-Room Studio flat, but for my project I added 3-Room flats for corners, then the floorplan have some inspiration from Japan, with open kitchen. Can be designed in many shapes, I chosen a U-shape with 12 units per floor.

2011 original design vs 2015 major redesign, apartments downsized.
Corridor-style block with 2/3-Room apartments Corridor-style block with 2/3-Room apartments

Hong Kong series I

Hong Kong architects are masters in space optimizing and crowding people. So I spent 3 months studying it (January-March 2011), to create my own 6 projects inspired from it, but finally I realized 8 projects.

Who the fuck needs a 100 square meters apartment? Now I prove that with a good design, a family of 4 can live comfortable in a 60 sqm apartment. With this occasion, I also fully designed the structural elements and I added dimensions on floor plans, as requested by fans (website visitors).

The Harmony, inspired from the public housing blocks with same name, with 16 units per floor, mixed 2-room to 4-room, designed to be the cheapest of all projects, so is similar in size with the real block, But was improved with curved facades and a very nice color scheme.

HK Harmony 3D view HK Harmony HK Harmony detail

The Concord, barely similar with the public housing blocks with same name, because I mixed it with ideas from Flexi blocks, thus I eliminated the windows facing each other in 90-degree angle (unless you arrange them in L-shape, like in 3D photo), more than that, I also added balconies and bay windows with dark glass to make it looking like private housing. Apartments are 10% larger than real block.

HK Concord 3D design HK Concurd HK Concord 3D detail

Another 2 projects inspired from public housing, with 8 and 10 apartments per floor, these have exaggerated apartment sizes 10-25% larger than original ones. I am not planning any 3D design for them… yet.

HK Flexi HK Cruciform

The next 4 projects are inspired from most common private housing design, with 8 units per floor. The Elegance is similar for example with Sunshine City and Yee Fung Garden. The Grandeur allows various combinations of its 5 apartment types. 40, 50, 60, 70 sqm… I am working at 3D designs.

HK Square HK Elegance HK Grandeur

Sick of the apartment sizes?
You did not saw yet The Miminalist… my attempt to create the smallest possible apartments, this one is the truly similar with Hong Kong birdcage apartments. OK… hope nobody will built such 30 sqm shoeboxes…

HK Minimalist HK Minimalist 3D design

Thinking that you saw the smallest possible apartments?
You are wrong, check the dedicated page for Hong Kong real apartments, especially the Garden Rivera where 3-room apartments are only 242 sq ft / 23 sqm, including wall thickness (it inspired my The Minimalist). How people are living in such pigeon holes? Look on gohome.com.hk for floor plans and interior photos of Garden Rivera apartments, and imagine yourself.

Hong Kong series II

I halted designing of all Hong Kong-inspired projects until I will take a decision to design them more for fun/beautifulness or more authentic.

The Series I apartments were too big and not properly optimized. In January 2012 I redesigned 5 of them, now based on metric system, to match Hong Kong laws, gross floor area calculated from wall face rather than wall axis, apartment gross areas include full thickness of perimeter walls, except walls shared with other apartments which are half included. Bedroom size are 2×2.5 m rather than 2.375×2.625 m in Series I, 10 cm thick walls instead of than 12.5 cm, etc. I specified both gross (saleable) area and net area, to show you how much space is wasted in walls.

In 2015 I slightly improved the floor plans and redesigned in colorful style.

Hong Kong Minimalist Block Hong Kong Elegance Block Hong Kong Square Block Hong Kong Segmented Block
Hong Kong Concord Block Hong Kong Cruciform Block Hong Kong Harmony Block
Hong Kong Slab Block

Hong Kong Series with International-sized apartments

In October 2011 I redesigned 3 block models from Hong Kong Series, enlarging apartment sizes to approximately double value, to match my Class C standard (bedrooms 3×4 m, living room 4×6 m, etc), making them to be similar in size with Singapore apartments and most of world (~75 sqm for 3-room and ~100 sqm for 4-room), 1 toilet for 3-room, 2 toilets for 4-room.

Floor plans redesigned in January 2016 in colorful format and metric system with 10 cm thick walls instead of 12.5 cm. 3D models remains as designed in 2011.

The Cruciform floor plan The Cruciform 3D render The Cruciform floor plan
The Concord street view The Concord floor plan The Concord aerial view
The Square floor plan The Square

Low cost & High-density housing

This is the apartment version from the same family with the High-Density landed housing. Inspired from Mexico and designed based on 3-meter grid. I improved them by enlarging room sizes and placing a lot of green space. Block size: 42×18 meters. I propose 2 versions: 60×32 meters, with side parking and 14 m between block facades, and 48×40 meters with front parking, 22 meters between front facades. Both will have same density, 166.67 apartments / hectare. Designed in August 2011.


Split-level apartment block, one of most common block types in Brazil. I slightly enlarged the apartments to 50 sqm and 64 sqm and placed the blocks in Zig-Zag pattern to provide privacy and comfort rather than bedrooms facing on airwells, yet maintaining high density. The 16-apartments blocks have 17 meters width and 40 meters between street axles, resulting a density up to 235.30 apartments per hectare. Designed in January 2012.

H-Shaped Split-Level block floor plan, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments H-Shaped Split-Level block

Other block types inspired from same Brazil, with 46, 60 and 80 sqm. Designed in January 2012.

Rectangular block floor plan, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments Rectangular block, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments H-Shaped block floor plan, 3 bedroom apartments

Sick of apartment sizes?
Real Mexico apartments have only 3-rm apartments (50 sqm) and the bedrooms are small as 3×3 meters, while in Brazil there is some variations in apartment sizes but bedrooms are standard as 2.5×3.25 meters. in both countries the blocks can be close as 4 meters between facades and can have no green space.

Design services

The PNG floor plans posted on this page are intended to present the apartment layouts and to show my skills especially in designing efficient layouts. They are simplified to be able to be understood by people with zero architecture knowledge. They are NOT intended to be submitted to government for building permit or to a construction company. Anyway I don”t think that any government will accept them as they are not enough detailed.

If you are planning to BUILD something, I can design for you detailed construction drawings: fully-dimensiones floor plan, elevations, sections, 3D design. Contact me for price quote (is hard to keep a price formula for everyone, different customers request a different amount of drawings).

If you are looking for floor plans to give them to another architect/designer, and pay him to do the full project, you should reward me too for idea. I can design a new floor plan or customize an existing floor plan, and give you .PDF or .DWG files. This may save some time of your designer.

I aim to to design custom buildings for individual customers instead of selling standard pre-made projects that may not suit the laws or lifestyle of your country.

Purchase DWG files

If you do not want the full service of designing a custom floor plan for you, you can buy ready-made DWG files and edit them yourself.

Price: $20 starting fee + $20 for each block plan with 2-4 units per floor, $30 for 5-8 units per floor, $40 for 9-16 units per floor. The price formula is made to give discount for bulk purchase. If you want one DWG file with 4 units per floor you pay $40, if you want 5 DWG files you pay $120.

How to purchase: you should tell me the drawings you want to purchase, I will make them a ZIP archive and put it on server, create a product in Store so you can pay with PayPal or credit card and receive the files automatically in your email.

If you are student looking to download free DWG files, go on BiblioCAD.com and download what other people have uploaded there. Do not ask me for .DWG files because I am not giving MY projects for free.

Oct 16

Furniture & interior design

Feel free to contact me if you need 3D home plans with basic furniture, or furniture design itself. I am using AutoCAD so the drawings will be more technical than photo-realistic as professional interior designers are doing in 3D Studio Max.

I do NOT have enough knowledge to make detailed “working drawings” for contractors to renovate apartments. I am specialized in architectural design, making floor plans, elevations, sections, 3D design, etc… if you want to BUILD a house or apartment block.

The following image is an attempt to make a 3D design of fully furnished apartment, floor area 143 sqm gross / 133.60 sqm internal. Designed in 2011 for fun / artistic hobby (no customer).

I design furniture since ~14 years old, around 15 years old my mom employed in a furniture factory so we refurnished my room using my pre-made drawings. My furniture were designed in an own unit system that I was fascinated at that age, and due to arguing with parents, I cut bookcase at top, because my design was 3 cm taller than the height to the structural beam, instead of making it shorter (bad idea). Sorry for photo quality, we sold that apartment without taking a proper photo of furniture, all what I have is a photo with myself and some of my artwork hanged near ceiling.


The following kitchen interior design and a multi-purpose bedroom furniture probably useful for Hong Kong tiny apartments (sadly we may need such things in the future of Singapore), were designed in 2011.

But several people asked me if I can do interior design too, so I privately-showed some of above images, they praised me, so I decided to post them on website in March 2013, despite that I am still not confident that my interior design skill is high enough to have happy customers, as I have high skills in House Design and Apartment Design. At the moment I am posting this page, I had no customers other than my own family. Do you think that I am skilled enough to join the competition of interior designers or I need more training?

Oct 14

Architecture – Housing Design history

From a child play in AutoCAD to architecture business…

I started designing buildings in 2008, “Teoalida’s Virtual City”, originally a hobby of graphic design and 3D modelling in AutoCAD, but a fully functional housing system (virtual city – because I am not a developer, I do not have capital to build what I design). Dozens of apartment block models, constantly improved, imagining being president of a country or manager of a housing corporation, with mission to offer quality housing for at least half of population… like what does HDB in Singapore (I am fascinated especially by public housing around the world). Since 2010 I also landed housing complexes and single family homes.

Teoalida Housing Design 2008-2012

The architectural design hobby turned into a money-making business since 2012. The “Virtual City” especially the landed houses has impressed regular people but also architects, inviting me to collaborate with housing developers around the world, for my architecture services.

This page shows my early career, archive and scraped ideas, useful for students and friends to see how my hobby-business began. These projects may contain errors.

If you want to view my latest and BEST projects, look in House Design and Apartment Design instead, because the errors may be already repaired in newer projects. Do not say that these drawings are a piece of shit! I already know, these are shits compared with newer projects! You know… I never could design high quality housing if I not started with crappy housing!


May 2008, I imagined a virtual city with oversized apartments such as 105 and 115 sqm for 4-room (internal floor areas, excluding walls and balconies), 25 cm load-bearing walls (other walls 12.5 cm), 4×4 m bedrooms.

Late 2008, I decided to use Singapore’s HDB as main source of inspiration (notice that, like HDB downsize in late 1990s, I have downsized my apartments in the following years).

March 2009, I finalized first set of rules, switched to 12.5 cm walls, 3×5 m bedrooms, 3 classes (approximately 115, 105, 95 sqm for 4-room, similar with Singapore sizes) because I realized that my past projects had oversized rooms, and introduced 5-room apartments to keep average apartment size around 100 sqm.

August 2010, I designed first landed houses, beside apartment blocks. Inspired from Singapore, Malaysia, Europe and Mexico.

March 2011, I studied Hong Kong for 3 months and realized that people can live in apartments smaller than my ones. I designed few tiny apartments, for the first time I used decimal metric system instead of binary metric divisions.

Late 2011, I realized that my normal apartments are again oversized as the Singapore apartments are measured with walls and balconies too. Most of new apartments followed Class C size (95 sqm internal for 4-room, 3x4m bedrooms) but better than older bigger Class A / B apartments.

January 2012, I found software to chat with website visitors and this helped website visitors to contact me to ask for consultation or design services. Too bad that 90% of these people want free plans and are not interested in a full architecture drawing (and pay for it).

March 2012, I added a series of even smaller, low-cost apartments, inspired from Latin America (Mexico and Brazil).

August 2012, first paying customer… another hobby turned into a business! I lost the interest for the “Virtual City” so now I concentrate on working for customers. Most of customers are from Philippines, so during 2013 I designed many houses inspired from this country (first houses in decimal metric system and imperial system, instead of my binary metric system).

Late 2013, I decided to use decimal metric system for all projects including hobby ones, I remade all rules, 4-room being 90-100 sqm for normal projects, 60 sqm for low-cost ones suitable for Latin America, India or other third-world countries, now I will specify both gross and net floor areas to align with what most developers are doing.

However it’s unlikely to continue this hobby of designing the “Virtual City” anymore. Working for customers (house builders) who are paying me, plus other money-making projects, are priority!

2015, after 3 years of business, architecture still did not turned profitable, while my other hobbies did. So I decided to leave architecture and do new projects just occasionally.

The childhood

House that I designed at 13 years oldHow architecture popped in my life… remains a mystery even for me.

My dad was working in AutoCAD since long time ago and I learned AutoCAD since I was 9 years old by watching him mechanical drawings (he did not taught me, I learned by watching). Nobody in my family or friends is working in architecture or construction.

I started designing own buildings in 2001, when I was just 12 years old, with no friends or internet connection, I had very limited source of information. In 2001-2003 I had an idea to make buildings without any type of cement or concrete, with standardized metallic pieces like LEGO bricks, joined with screws and other things, this would allow to built a block in several days and change internal layout everyday, also allows to disassemble a house and move to another location. I designed both landed houses and high-rise apartment blocks, but all was simple and monotonous. Example: a 7-bedroom house designed in 2002 (photo).

Between 2005 and 2007 I gained some interest for housing in my country (Romania), I explored nearby cities in real life, by walking around, also explored other cities from former communist countries via internet, I gained some architectural knowledge, and I made maps and floor plans of many existing blocks. Still, no interest for design my own housing models!

In 2007-2008 I practiced my urban planning talent in The Sims 2, where I built some nice looking cities but with non-functional blocks.

In early 2008 I had a dream to design myself a functional city using AutoCAD, with 4 and 9 storeys blocks. I made several floor plans in Paint, most still inspired by Eastern European architecture, and several 3D experiments in AutoCAD. No finished project.

The early 2008 architectural designs

Starting from May 2008 I study architecture of various cities, exploring the world using Google Earth, and make random searches on Google Images like “apartment floorplan“. I became fascinated by Asia where are many of apartment buildings with one row of identical apartments placed along a balcony-corridor. Or crazy-shaped buildings with identical apartments mounted on a variable shape core.

I noticed the advantages of corridor-style: could be made various block shapes with various number of units per floor without risking to have rooms stuck in middle of block, without ventilation. No more limit of max 4 units per floor due to central staircase like in the previous european-communist designs.

The New Generation in Teoalida’s Housing just began! Apartments were modern with entry directly in a large living room, semi-open kitchen, one large common bath and one small bath for master bedroom, and other modern ideas, also for the first time I designed with mind to furniture placement… so were different from my previous projects inspired from Eastern Europe.

The floorplan is based on a 4×4 meters grid, so overall is very nice proportioned and versatile. Identical types of 2-Room Middle, 3-Room Corner, and 4-Room Corner End, placed in a row along a common access balcony, can form various block shapes. All livingrooms and bedrooms have windows on outer facade. A 4 roomer have a built area of 128 square meters, exactly double than a 2 roomer. The internal area is in fact more than double, because the balcony eats same amount of space regardless of the apartment size. The usable space is built area minus 4 sq m (balcony) minus 12% (walls area). Let’s try a 72 by 32 meters S-shape with 16 units per floor on one single staircase…

S-shaped block with 16 apartments per floor

Other projects included a square tower block with 4 units per floor, with 3 and 4 rooms, had advantage of windows for all bathrooms. Later was derived in a trapezoidal block. I also wanted a triangular tower block with 6 units per floor, but I not succeeded a good floorplan.

Maisonette Alternate – WEIRDEST block designed by me

In august 2008 combined three ideas: double-storey 5-Room apartments, external access corridors, and alternating (mirroring) the floorplan every two floors, to create the weirdest project in my career. Despite of crazy-looking with weird layout of windows, is fully functional, on each floor 2 apartments shares a single pipe column for kitchens and bathrooms, but the layout is not efficient (much space is wasted). Later called Maisonette Alternate and redesigned in Trident shape for a surplus of craziness.

Maisonette Alternate version 1 Maisonette Alternate version 3


In September 2008 I tried again to design a triangular block, but with 12 units per floor and 3 staircases. In fact, I merged three Trapeze-like blocks around a central courtyard, to create another weird shaped building. Two different types of 3-Room, closed kitchens with blocked views, service balconies at kitchens (for the first time), but no windows for bathrooms.

Little & Simple

Meantime, I concentrated on improving my first project, I criticized myself for incorrect flat size proportions, 2-room being smaller than half of the 4-room. I tried to design other versions with increased block width to 12 meters.

So in September 2008 I launched the successor, called Little & Simple. Three standard versions: I-4 (32 by 12 meters), L-6 (36×26 meters), U-8 (40 by 26 meters), can be joined to form various shapes, for example a S-36 (36 units per floor) in 132 by 52 meters, pictured here. Due the block layout, the two-room units always represented 50% of total number of units.

Designed as walk-up block, staircase integrated inside, open kitchen design and better relation between flat sizes: 2-Room Middle (70/72 sq m), 3-Room End (96 sq m), 4-Room Corner (120 sq m), gross areas.

TriTrapeze-12 Little & Simple S-36

Regulated facades for enhanced aesthetics

Everything was careful calculated to gave nice visual proportions on facades in AutoCAD 3D renderings. Floor plan follow a 4-meter grid, and by having 4 meters frontage for each room and 3-meters floor-to-floor, a nice 4:3 ratio was created. Windows are tall like half of floor height, and width 1.5 meters for kitchens, 2.5 meters for bedrooms, and 3.5 meters for livingroom-balcony. Bedroom windows are grouped two with two, and are separated by a 0.5 meters column, 0.5 meters beams are also placed on basement and roof, so will remain 1.5 meters of vertical wall between windows, 1 meters of horizontal wall between windows and columns, and also between first and last storey window to horizontal beam.

The colors were not randomly chosen, the choice was not to enhance realism but to provide maximum contrast. For windows I choose cyan because reflects the sky, the small elements like windows sills or balcony frame and glass were cyan-blue, while balcony backwall be yellow to be in contrast, walls uses the remaining light color: green, while for columns and beams I choose magenta to enhance contrast. Later I eliminated balcony backwall color, all external walls became yellow.

Other projects

I had more projects, at least sketched (wall axes). Some did not followed the 4-meter grid rule and dimensions with decimals. Some were influenced by Eastern European apartments, with entry to a central hallway rather than to living room (what a waste of space!), some were influenced by Japanese apartments, with one bath per apartment but separate toilet and shower, some were influenced by South Korea, China, or Hong Kong… But the 4-meter grid-based designs proved that are still the best!

The late 2008 development boom

After researching architecture from countries like Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, and Hong Kong, I recognized Singapore as the best city of the world, mainly because of the HDB public housing programme and urban planning. So I choose to follow Singapore laws and lifestyle of HDB flats.

The average apartment size should be around 100 square meters, 4-Room should be dominant, hallways must be reduced at the minimum, even eliminated, the living room may be placed centrally, and every bath should have window. Also I decided to make all bathrooms with bathtub (stupid rule). This caused a boom of new projects for the next 3 months.

New Generation

My first modern project was again improved and re-launched on October 2008 as New Generation, 12 meters width, now 3-Room and 4-Room were dominant, staircase is well integrated inside block, external glass lifts. Bigger apartments with closed (but easily to open) kitchens, opposite to previous versions. In the first version bathrooms still not had windows. In November 2008 I adapted it to the new rule with bathroom windows, but the 4-Room Corner (105 sqm), became badly shaped, so I tried several reshaping until in December when I decided to use for Corner same apartment type 4-Room End (115 sqm).

On the first version I created a new, linear facade design with full-width windows (left photo). I had a dream several days before with a block with horizontally continuous windows that made me to love this design for a moment. Later proved that was the ugliest block, so I switched to more regular design like the one seen in Little & Simple (as in lower photos). In December I experimented a new facade design (right photo), inspired by some 1990s blocks from Singapore (Taman Jurong blocks).

New Generation U-8, linear design New Generation L-6, enhanced design
New Generation U-8 floor plan New Generation U-8 floor plan

Beside the standard versions (I-4, L-6, U-8), in November 2008 was also designed a crazy version with 26 units per floor on 4 staircases (lower photos). The 3D design is not finished, ground floor and lifts are not added.

New Generation Crazy-26 front view
New Generation Crazy-26 floor plan New Generation Crazy-26 side view

In fact, this was first block named New Generation, and with it I created the naming system: Model – Shape – Number of units per floor. Previous, all projects were considered “The New Generation of Housing” and were named only by shape and dimensions, for example U-block 64×24, S-block 72×32, Square block 24×24.

Other projects November 2008

Square Small – 4 adapted easily to the new rules, can have 2 versions, one with four 3-Room and one with two 4-Room on one half.

Little & Simple cannot be adapted to the new rules, so I returned to its own predecessor, now called New Generation Narrow, only 10 meters width, improved with windows at all bathrooms.

Trapeze – 6, a tower block with non-equal wings, 3- and 4-Room apartments developed by mixing the horrible Trapeze – 4 with the never-finished Triangle – 6 that will had only 4-Room apartments.

Other projects December 2008

Old Generation, designed in classic asian style with living room facing common corridor, block width 14 meters, 8-meter width 3-Room apartments, bathrooms on airwells, and 4-Room apartments on endings. Was simple, very ugly monotonous facades, and had a lot of problems. But the land usage efficiency was good.

Polygons where somewhat circular blocks with internal courtyard and unfortunately had only 4-Room apartments.

Zig-Zag Large – 4 and Rectangle Small – 4, tower blocks with only 4-Room apartments but one room is smaller than a regular bedroom, like a study room.

Square Large – 4, was inspired by the 25-storey point blocks built in Singapore between 1970 and 1985, I designed it as soon as I saw a floor plan of these blocks, it was my first block with real 5-Room (4 bedrooms) regular apartments (non-penthouse). .

Other projects January 2009

Rectangle Large – 4 had the biggest apartments, separate living and dining plus three bedrooms.

Triangle Small – 9, my first symmetrical block with odd number of apartments per floor.

Later I derived it into a Triangle Small – 12 and a Triangle Large – 12.

A new Maisonette Generation was designed.

Polygons and Square Small
Circular-polygonal apartment block Square tower

Rectangle Large
Rectangle Tower floor plan Rectangle Tower 3D design

The era was closed with this AutoCAD masterpiece (February 2009)

Teoalida Night City View

The 2009 high quality housing design

Because of deeply research of Singapore housing, I realized that my projects are badly designed. Walls are too thick, apartments are too big and will be even bigger with thinner walls. I need to design new apartments with smaller but more rooms. I imagine families with 2 parents and 1 children could not afford a New Generation 87 sqm 3-Room apartment (including walls would be 96 sqm, which is average size for 4-room in Singapore), some 3-person families wants 4 rooms, one extra room for study.

I started to review every rule… in march 2009 I finished a full set of new basic rules for ideal housing. The biggest changes were: walls must be 1/8 meters thick, 4-meter grid is eliminated so the rooms can have more variable sizes, master bedroom must “grow” like living room, depending of number of rooms, common bedrooms will be better to be 3 by 5 meters rather than 4 by 4 meters, to reduce facade usage, the 3-Room apartments could have the secondary bathroom smaller, with only a shower.

I created a new AutoCAD color scheme in January 2009, used also on late 2008 projects, and with constant improvements, on all 2009 projects. The color scheme was inspired by Singapore 1990s designs: red, orange or yellow brick walls, with white horizontal stripes. Again, colors creates high contrast with the blue sky and blue windows.

I made my first personal website www.teoalida.webs.com in April 2009 to publish my projects on it.

Old Generation and New Generation series

I started thinking how inefficient is if even the smaller 3-Room apartments in New Generation Narrow to use 12 meters frontage on both sides, because of the stupid 4-meter grid. I really need to design new blocks, wider blocks with shorter apartments, with narrow rooms! Also I found that apartments with rooms facing to common corridor are not so undesirable in Singapore as I thought.

So… in march 2009 I started development of 2 new projects, both 12-meter width:

Old Generation, corridor-style block, 3D designOld Generation, living rooms facing to access corridor, is based on the 9-meter length 76.70 sqm 3-Room, with 4-Room on the endings. 6-meter length 46.70 sqm 2-Room were also designed. (right photo, exterior design partially inspired by Tampines block 497 discovered a little earlier).

New Generation, living rooms facing opposite to access corridor, is based on the 12-meters length 104.20 sqm 4-Room, but can have many apartments types, ranging from 84 sqm 3-Room to 133 sqm 5-Room, slanted apartments for non-right angle blocks.
Both are mainly my designs, not based on any existing block in the world.

The original Old Generation from November 2008 was redesigned in a more nice shape, block narrowed to shrink apartments sizes, airwells eliminated and bathroom moved to facades, but the apartments still had many problems.

Sharpback series

Old Generation Sharpback was designed in June 2009, 14 meter block width, 7-meter length 3-Room apartments. Is based to what was most common block in Singapore of years ’70 and ’80. The previous Old Generation was scraped because have no advantages compared with Old Generation Sharpback. A larger version with 4-Room 11-meters length apartments was also designed, but quickly scraped because of many disadvantages compared with 4-Room 12-meters length apartments in New Generation, in 2010 I added it back in lineup.

Hexagon Concave Tower

Hexagon TowerDesigned in march 2009, with 6 apartments per floor which had some similarity with Rectangle Small, this block may be my WORST design. Problems: too small staircase/lift lobby, no ventilation, unaligned walls which do not allow a solid core, and odd living room shape.





Triangle Tower

Triangle Tower 3D modelAfter almost 1 year from original idea, I finally designed Triangle Tower in May 2009. The key of success was reducing bedrooms size to 3 by 4.5 meters and pushing bathrooms towards living room. The photo on right shows the original design before July facelift (current design in Apartment Design page). Hexagon Concave was trashed.

Rest of projects

Rectangle Small, Square Large, Trapeze, Triangle Small / Large, were more or less redesigned and adapted to the new rules.

Squares Tower which dates back from december 2008 was redesigned, it is also based on Singapore old blocks.
Polygons, Rectangle Large, Zig-Zag Large were completely scraped.

Zig-Zag Small was developed by mixing 3-Room apartments from Trapeze Tower with the shape of Rectangle Small. Is similar with the previous Square Small which was scraped.

Two new towers, Square Small and Square Large were designed in may 2009, based on my New Generation.

Segmented Generation was designed in june 2009, based on Singapore’s 1970s blocks.

The high appreciation of Triangle Tower within my circle of friends, leaded to development of a new project called Freedom Generation in late 2009.

New naming system

I had 14 finished block models, of which 7 contains Generation (I named in this manner all blocks with variable (non-fixed) shape. Clearly too many and confusing! New names proposed:

Old Generation > Linear Small
New Generation > Linear Large
Maisonette Generation > Linear Maisonette
Unnamed Generation > Linear Studios
Old Generation Sharpback > Sharpback Small
Segmented Generation > Segmented
Freedom Generation > Freestyle
Sharpback Large and Sharpback Maisonette were also designed but not published considering them bad designs.

As being closer to perfection, the evolution inevitable slowed down. I was also busy with my family and other things and I take little time and attention to design 3D apartment buildings in AutoCAD for fun.

I have in plan to design a BIG CITY of about 1 square kilometre, with streets and some landscape, streets based on a REAL city, but this is a hard mission and takes a lot of time, and no time right now. Until I do it, enjoy rectangular symmetrical neighborhoods such as these ones made in late 2009:

Apartment complex with 1216 units Apartment complex with 1728 units

The 2010-2011 diversity, source of inspiration spread to other countries

During 2010 I paid little attention in designing new apartment buildings, but in the second half of year I started to design landed houses. I studied many other cities from different parts of world, to make diversity both in floorplan and aesthetic design.

An awesome project, CentralLiving was designed in November 2010.

I spent first 3 months of 2011 studying Hong Kong, to create my own 6 projects inspired from it, but finally I realized 8 projects. Who the fuck needs a 100 sqm apartment? Now I prove that with a good design, a family of 4 can live comfortable in a 60 sqm 4-room apartment.

Google launched StreetView in Brazil in late 2010 and this leaded to a high interest to study Brazil real estate, I had interest for Brazil before too, I love how floorplans are made with dimensions, apartments itself are quite small but appreciated.

But I will never stop loving and studying Singapore! It will remain the best!

During 2011 I designed numerous new projects, I realized that my apartments are still too big so the 2011 ones were once again downsized, common sizes now are 70 sqm 3-room, 95 sqm 4-room, 120 sqm 5-room. Such sizes are not new, I had designed 95 sqm 4-room since 2009 (check Linear Small), but not so often.

New rules: 3×4 m bedrooms (rather than 3×5 m or 3×4.5 m), while for master bedroom the minimal size is 3×5 m for 3-room and 3.5×5 m for 4-room (rather than 4×5 m), because these are common sizes in developed countries (I saw some cases of bedrooms small as 2.5×3 m in Western Europe, but I decided to not downsize my ones any more).
Along them, I designed a series of even smaller apartments, inspired from Latin America, with sizes suitable for developing countries.

CentralLiving, original design from November 2010, and The Harmony, one of the 8 projects inspired from Hong Kong, designed in March 2011
CentralLiving Rectangle aerial view HK Harmony 3D view

The 2010-2011 expansion to Landed Housing design

Since 2009 I planned to design landed houses in the future. But I was myself-trained just to design apartments.

In 2010 I started studying landed houses of Singapore (previously I paid attention only to HDB blocks) and I designed my first project, Terrace Housing, having 6 m width and 14 m depth for first 2 floors and a 3rd attic-style floor. 5 bedrooms, three en-suite bathrooms and one common bathroom which lacked window.

Then I realized that if I eliminate one bedroom I can have windows for all bathrooms, even more, I can provide all bedrooms with walk-in wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. The floorplan was reduced to 13 m depth, 3 full floors plus basement parking, it was to became the Terrace Classic project.

The original 14-meter depth Terrace became the Semi-Detached project, with 5 bedrooms, shown here:

Semi-Detached floor plan Semi-Detached 3D Design

Soon I feel the need of diversity, and I studied the opportunity to add a lift. I had 2 floorplans, one 12 m depth space-optimized and one 13 m depth which allows lift, and 2 possible design themes, the already-made Neoclassic one with 3 floors and sloped roof, and I also wanted a Modern one with roof terrace on 4th floor.

Dilemma: which 3D theme to use for each of these floorplans? Theoretically the 4-floor design should have the floorplan with lift, but that floorplan did not allowed any room on 4th floor due to lift, being placed on opposite side of stairs, I did not like to have the lift serving only 3 floors.

Solution: I lengthen the house depth with 2 m (to 15 m) and I placed the lift on same side with stairs. The floorplan was finalized, but the Modern 3D theme was very ugly in my opinion, since I love classic styles (I insisted to design something against my tastes), I played a lot with color schemes and textures until… I finally published Terrace Modern on february 2011, and surprisingly, it became most appreciated project made by me.

Terrace Classic was improved with lift too, while the 3D design was totally redesigned, now in a condo-style complex of 80 houses and shared pool.

Terrace Classic vs Terrace Modern housing

Terrace Classic housing complex, street view Terrace Modern housing complex, aerial view

After this, I designed few additional landed housing complexes inspired from other countries of the world.

The order of landed housing projects

July 2010 – Semi-Detached, inspired from nowhere; Terrace Classic, luxury housing inspired from Singapore.
August 2010 – Quadruplex-Terraced, inspired from Europe / United Kingdom.
November 2010 – Terrace Airwells, another medium-luxury housing, typical in Malaysia but using Singapore rules.
December 2010 – High-Density, low cost housing inspired from Mexico.
February 2011 – Terrace Modern, luxury housing inspired from Singapore.
Quarter-Detached, was planned for March 2011 but abandoned due to ugliness.
And the list continue in 2012…

Terraced Mixed floor plan Terraced Mixed 3D design

All the above projects were deleted from my current lineup
Continue reading and see 2012 projects in Apartment Design and House Design pages!

2012 – architecture hobby turned into business

In 2011 one of my friends asked me a house design, you can see it posted in House Design page as Split-Level house. So I announced that I offer design services to everyone.

The real SUCCESS came after I found a software to Chat with website visitors in January 2012. I started being contacted by people from various countries. I still did not know how to deal with them to turn into customers, but this opened a new reason to learn more.

I found that the lack of customers in 2008-2011 was unclear introduction of website. I got comments like “Thank, great collection of plans” or questions like “Do you also design houses?” and “Wow these houses are designed by you?“. Conclusion: people confused my PERSONAL website with the numerous architecture websites who just collect photos and house plans found on internet, example ArchDaily.

Even worse, contact info and service offered were on Home page, but people landed from Google in House Design page which did not clearly stated that I can design houses for people.

Should I charge money for service?

In early 2012 I was not confident that I can make customers happy, thus did not charged money for designing a floor plan in 1 hour, I was planning to ask a payment for 3D design which would take few hours. Everyone was thankful for floor plan, and nobody was interested in 3D design. I did not complain for not earning money, because I earned knowledge about foreign countries, that will be helpful to offer better services.

Some customers told me that real architects do not even say a word without getting paid first. So, after several happy customers, I started asking a fee for floor plans too. Most people said “thanks, I have no money”. Later I realized that most people contacting me were actually STUDENTS, NOT profit-making house builders. Sadly, beside these students, been contacted also by a builder of terraced houses, he could be my first real customer but I treat him like students and did not charged him money.

First collaboration offer

In June 2012, an architect saying that my house designs are impressive for my age, offered me to promote my services on his website, I accepted thinking that this will start a professional career in architecture. But actually he was an idiot and put me on wrong track.

The drawing I was doing, were a hobby, 3D art in AutoCAD, concept drawings NOT made for submission to government for building permit or contractors. I was aware that, to build a house you will need higher-detailed “construction drawings” but I did not know how to draw them, as I had NO intention to provide “construction drawings”.

At that moment, I was charging $20 for 1-hour floor plan. The architect suggested me to charge 5% of home value, meaning $5000+ per project, without informing me what I should provide for this price. Having no degree in architecture, I was promoting myself as “graphic design & 3D rendering services“, but he suggested to change into “architecture design services“. The idiot misleaded me thinking that the concept floor plans done in 1 hour are enough to build a houseRead full story.

Business running

In late 2012, I meet more architects from Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and India, telling me to price concept drawings (sketches) and construction drawings accordingly. I started learning how to make “construction drawings” to be able to offer real “architecture services“.

I returned to the strategy used before meeting that idiot architect: offer the first sketch for FREE in PNG format to show that I have imagination of making nice floor plans, then negotiate price for construction drawings, or sell the sketch in PDF / DWG format. Price for construction drawings: $2 per sqm which raised complaints from Indians who build big but cheap houses, so in 2013 changed to $50 × number of rooms. First paying customer came in late 2012.

Moving from teoalida.webs.com to teoalida.com in December 2012 and further improvements in website design promoted trust and seriousness, more and more people looking for architecture started contacting me, not just students looking for free concept plans. I met also architects to collaborate with, in case my customers wants drawing signed by a licensed architect. However most customers choose to find themselves an architect in their country to sign the designs got online from me, or just build without permit (being in third-world countries).

Small apartment block Small apartment block Small apartment block

The chat software also helped me to understand business potential of one of my other hobbies, the Car Database, so In mid-2012 I decided to stop designing the “Virtual City” for hobby / artistic purposes, and concentrate on designing buildings for customers, as well as transforming my hobby of researching car industry into a product usable for companies.

2015 – leaving architecture business

Between 2012 and 2015 I served hundreds of happy customers. Mostly families building their own home, mostly in third-world countries. I had few partner architects, but they were not needed, my drawings were professional-looking enough to get building permit (in third-world countries authorities approve any drawing). Despite of starting as hobby for graphic design, even professional architects were asking me for advices or concept plans as they did not had imagination to make themselves.

But one person was not happy… that was ME! Because half of people contacting me were asking for free advices and ready-made plans, for other half I designed 20-minute sketches for them, and only 1 of 10 was willing to pay for complete project. And most of paying customers had headache projects, giving me more nerves than pleasure to work.

I had paying customers because I designed “first sketch” for free, some customers served with free sketches returned even after 1-2 months to pay for complete project, but those paying customers were always rare. Some people were not needing a professional PDF while others wanted but for free, I never gave PDF for free so this usually resulted in time wasted for both me and customers. I was making a free sketch, they asked for revisions, if I revised for free, once satisfied they said “thanks” and going away, if I tried to charge money before revising they refused to pay, sometimes insulting me for “wasting his time and not giving final drawing” like that I am obligated to serve everyone for free. Some people admitted that need just a free sketch from me and pay someone else for complete project (they should have paid both, or don’t waste my time!). An architect told me to not provide any free sketches, get paid first and provide only professional PDF, but this strategy was not successful either.

I had 2 options: work for free or don’t work at all. Until 2015 I choose first option and after 2015 second option, unless someone agreed to pay in advance.

In 2014 I was sometimes contacted by so many people that I was making sketches daily and did not had time to serve everyone, also due to non-paying idiots I lost interest to work, did not replied in time to other people and lost potential paying customers. I was thinking to employ someone, but the large number of non-paying idiots posed a problem in paying my employee.

If you have a store, you cannot force every visitor to buy products from you. Same at me, I cannot force every visitor to pay for my services, but I can discourage non-paying people from wasting my time via chat and emails.

India was the country with most people contacting me, they were also most non-serious, only 1 of 100 willing to pay. My partner architects also told me that are often disturbed by calls from indians asking for free house plans. In late 2014 I wrote a page BAD Indian customers and some anti-India rows in House Design page, hoping to discourage these stupid indians from contacting me, with a risk to be accused for racism.

Philippines was the country with most people paying me. Majority of paying customers were in Asia and Africa, third-world countries, paying in average 10-20 USD per hour. Sounds good enough? It wasn’t, adding time wasted with non-paying idiots, architecture earnings were under 5 USD per hour.

Best paying customer was a Mexican architect, paying 100 USD for an apartment complex concept plan that I done in just 1 hour.
Worst paying customer was this Indian annoying me daily on chat for 2 weeks to pay just 40 USD.

In 2015 the psychological trauma caused by family problems, made me to lose interest to work. Had to quit architecture temporarily. I de-optimized architecture pages and disabled chat pop-up greeting, reducing number of visitors to half and reducing by 5 times number of people contacting me.

I wanted to return to architecture in late 2015, but had 2 Excel megaprojects started in late 2014: Singapore HDB Database and expanding European Car Database from 14 to 40+ columns for selling at double price. When finished in late 2015, they doubled my income and helped me achieving the target of 1000 USD per month, of which just 10% came from architecture.

With so much money earned from databases, would be a waste of time to work also in architecture.

A house project require about 20 hours and generate one-time payment, while an Excel database may require up to few hundreds hours initial investment, but can be sold to multiple people, generate lifetime sales with minimum investment of keeping up-to-date. Typing data in Excel sounds boring for most people, but I find it more pleasurable than architectural projects. Car database target rich IT companies of Europe and America, HDB Database target rich real estate companies from Singapore, while in architecture 90% people contacting me were in poor countries from Asia and Africa.

So I decided to spend my free time creating new databases, and NOT do architectural services anymore unless there is a special high-paid project, such as large apartment building, and customer pay a part of agreed sum in advance. But I was NOT happy again, because taking part of payment in advance I have obligation to satisfy customer, and some customers were a big headache, asking too many revisions for the money we initially agreed.

In the first 6 months of 2016 I served ONLY ~10 people with free sketches of which 3 rushed to pay in advance so I done complete set of drawings, architecture producing ONLY 6% of my income.

Possible revival of “Virtual City” 3D graphic design artistic hobby

I done a lot of changes in graphic design rules, although I may not have time to any 3D architectural design as hobby anymore. I concentrate on architecture services for customers (house builders) who are paying me, plus other money-making projects, such as car database in Excel!

Late 2013, I decided to use decimal metric system for all projects including hobby ones, I remade all rules, bedrooms 3×4 m, 4-room being 90-100 sqm for normal projects, 60 sqm for low-cost ones suitable for Latin America, India or other third-world -countries, now I will specify both gross and net floor areas to align with what most developers are doing.

April 2014, I changed floor plan drawing style, I decided to color each room in different color (living room yellow, bedrooms orange, bathroom blue, etc) Also new floor plans are rendered at 20 pixels per meter instead of 40 and 32 pixels per meter. All 2-pixel wide lines are now 1-pixel wide, so the proportion is similar, but lower resolution would discourage people to print floor plans and use them without my approval.

May 2014, I bought a bigger monitor and after this I studied screen resolutions, realizing that most screen resolution are multiply of 320 and only 1024×768 and 1366×768 are the exception, surprisingly these two were most common screen resolutions. For a period I wanted to continue doing 3D render at 2048×1536 which is displayed at 50% size on the mainstream 1366×768 laptops, but in late 2014 I decided to do 3D renders in 1920×1080 but mostly at 1440×1080 because most of my architectural 3D design images do not look properly on 16:9 widescreen.

Oct 12

Architecture – Rules for an ideal city

My biggest passion, started in 2008, designing buildings for “Teoalida’s Virtual City”, since 2009 I wrote this page with the rules of an utopian IDEAL CITY. These rules apply for projects designed for myself as hobby. When I design for customers, I follow the laws of their country.

I love collecting BUILDING CODES of various countries
If you have more, please send me (link to website, or email me if is .DOC or .PDF)

Singapore: www.bca.gov.sg
Malaysia: http://www.scribd.com/doc/13282147/Uniform-Building-by-Laws
Philippines: http://www.chanrobles.com/republicactno6541.htm
India: http://www.slideshare.net/SivaSankar8/national-building-code-2005
Brazil: do a search “codigo de obras“, they have different building code for each state.
South Africa: http://sans10400.co.za/
Nigeria: http://sdngnet.com/Files/Lectures/FUTA-ARC-807-Professional_Practice_and_Procedure/CD%202013-2014/National%20Building%20Code%20of%20Nigeria%202006.pdf

Comparison of Building Codes

In most countries in the world, the room sizes are regulated by minimum width and minimum area.


Room Teoalida’s Housing Singapore Malaysia South Korea India Philippines Brazil
Minimum Ideal
Living room 2.9 m
16 sqm
3.4 m
20 sqm
2.0 m
11 sqm
3.6×3.6 m
2.4 m
8 sqm
Kitchen 2.4 m
6 sqm
2.4 m
8 sqm
1.5 m
4.5 sqm
1.8 m
5 sqm
1.5 m
3 sqm
1.5 m
4 sqm
Master bedroom 2.9 m
11 sqm
3.4 m
14 sqm
2.0 m
9.3 sqm
3.6×3.6 m
2.4 m
9.5 sqm
2 m
6 sqm
2.4 m
8 sqm
Other bedrooms 2.4 m
8 sqm
2.9 m
11 sqm
2.0 m
6.5 sqm
2.7×3.6 m
7.5 sqm
2 m
6 sqm
2.4 m
6 sqm
Bath 1.5 m
3 sqm
1.5 m
4 sqm
0.75 m
2.0 sqm
1.8×2.4 m
1.2 m
2.8 sqm *
0.9 m
1.2 m
? Sqm
Toilet undecided undecided 0.75 m
1.5 sqm
1.5×1.8 m
0.9 m
1.1 sqm
Washing room 1.2 m
2.4 sqm
Store room 3 sqm
Ceiling height 2.6 m 2.8 m 2.6 m 2.5 m probably
2.7 m
2.75 m 2.4 m * 2.4 m
Hallway public 1.5 m 1.5 m 1.5 m ? usually
1.5 m
1.5 m ? ? 1.2 m
Hallway private 0.9 m 1.2 m 1 m ? usually
1.5 m
1.2 m 0.9 m 0.8 m
Staircase public 1.4 m 1.4 m 1 m ? usually
1.2 m
1.5 m ? ? 1.1 m
Staircase private 0.9 m 1 m 1 m ? ? 1 m 0.75 m 0.8 m

* Notes:
each state have own laws, in some states, the laws are minimum 2.5 or 2.8 m / 10 sqm for living room, 9 sqm for master bedroom, 7 sqm for other bedroom
India: bathroom without WC 1.2 m / 1.8 sqm, bathroom with WC 1.2 m / 2.8 sqm.
Philippines: the law says 2.7 m ceiling height for ground floor, but most homes are built with 2.4 m ceiling for all floors.
South Korea: I never saw building code. But I love their apartments and I studied a lot, the “usually” dimensions are taken from floor plans of 4-room and bigger apartments, there are a small number of apartments having rooms smaller than usual sizes.

The concept of Teoalida’s Housing

I imagine being president of a country or manager of a housing corporation and my goal is to provide housing for at least half of population. So is a kind of public housing… I love doing myself what others are doing, sometimes doing better than them. It’s like replicating the housing system of HDB in Singapore.

I design apartments since 2008, these are inspired mostly from Singapore and rest of East Asia. So are pretty standardized.
I design landed houses since 2010, these are inspired from many different parts of world so are much less standardized.

These rules were originally created for apartments, denotes the “perfect” apartments, some of them applies for landed houses too. I studied many residential projects around the world, and also aftermarket renovations, and I designed my own “ideal housing” to suit for most customers around the world, rather to best suit my personal needs. If you have suggestions or requests… tell me.

An ideal city should offer about 30 sqm per person. For comparison, developed countries of Europe and Japan have an average of 35-40 sqm per person but this is due to average household size of only 2.1-2.5 people, probably due to people owning multiple properties such as city apartment and countryside house, and rent them to singles. Inside cities the average is probably under 30 sqm per person. Singapore household size is 3.5 and Malaysia 4.3.

Originally I designed apartments for 30 sqm per person, one room per person, and an average family size of 3.5 persons, which should lead to an average apartment size a little over 100 sqm. A perfect distribution in a mature city is 10% of 50 sqm 2-Room, 30% of 80 sqm 3-Room, 40% of 110 sqm 4-Room, 20% of 140 sqm 5-Room, this means an average size of 101 sqm.

Currently I design apartments for minimum 20 sqm per person thinking that the real sqm per person will vary a lot due to income and living style.

Floor plan drawing styles

1. Wall axis and binary metric dimensions: I make wall axis at integer number of meters or half, then offset wall face 1/16 meters, and external wall with 1/4 meters, thus most room dimensions x375 or x875 mm and overall building dimension x500 mm (used since 2008 to 2013 for projects designed for hobby / artistic).

2. Wall axis and decimal metric dimensions: I make wall axis at integer number of meters or half, then offset wall face 5 cm, thus most room dimensions are x400 or x900 mm and external building dimension x300 mm or x500 mm (planned in 2012 to replace binary metric system).

3. No wall axis and metric / imperial dimensions: I make exterior of building at a integer number of meters, then most important rooms dimensions in integer meters, internal walls 10, 15, 20 cm and external walls 20 cm (used first time in 2011 for Hong Kong-inspired apartments (artistic) and since 2012 for landed houses designed for customers).

Floor plan drawing style

Layout & rooms sizes regulations (OLD rules used in 2008-2011)

Typical apartment sizes, net (usable) area, excluding balconies or walls
2-Room: Class C 45 sqm, Class B 50 sqm, Class A 55 sqm
3-Room: Class C 72 sqm, Class B 78 sqm, Class A 87 sqm
4-Room: Class C 96 sqm, Class B 104 sqm, Class A 116 sqm
5-Room: Class C 120 sqm, Clas B 130 sqm, Class A 145 sqm
The designated class depends of many other things. Apartments with livingroom facing to common corridor are always Class C. Well… I not defined a clear distinction between Class B and A. It may be master bedroom of min 18 sqm and other bedrooms min 14 sqm, if the apartments are too good designed and have big enough rooms, I consider them Class A despite of smaller overall size.

Apartment / house layout rules

Living room, master bedroom and kitchen sizes depends by the apartment size, other rooms have more regularized areas.

Living room: 4 m wide, usually 30-40% of the total apartment area and is in relationship with the master bedroom area: minimum 4:3 for 2-Room, minimum 3:2 for 3-Room, minimum 8:5 for 4-Room, minimum 2:1 for 5-Room, enough big to allow eating and watching TV simultaneously. Some apartments have somewhat separated living and dining zones.

Bedrooms: I have used 4 × 4 m for my early projects in 2008, then 3 x 5 m in 2009, then since 2011 I introduced smaller bedrooms at 4 × 3 meters. The smallest bedroom in 4- and 5-Room is good to be placed near master bedroom to allow master bedroom extension, study area or walk-in wardrobe.

Bathrooms: usually 2.5×2 meters or 3×2 meters, the 3-Room apartments can have the secondary bathroom 2 x 2 meters, with just a shower.

Kitchen: size vary, usually a little smaller than a common bedroom, I placed it in a manner that allows easy merging with livingroom, for people that loves open-concept kitchens. In some houses the dining area is attached to kitchen rather than to living room.

Balcony: almost all my apartments have balconies, at livingroom or at the kitchen, or both. Even if in today world most people do not need any balcony, if it exists, most are closed and doors removed.

Layout & rooms sizes guidelines (NEW rules used since 2012)

Further study of various countries revealed that my rules of apartment sizes were unrealistically BIG, most countries are dominated by smaller apartments.

An ideal city will have apartment sizes regulated too, not just individual room sizes.
So, developers would have some freedom to make some apartments with bigger living room and other apartments with bigger bedrooms, to make all rooms accessible from living room, or to add hallways.

Apartment sizes:
Minimal floor area (internal net area, excluding walls and balconies)
1-bedroom 1-bath = 40 sqm
2-bedroom 1-bath = 60 sqm
2-bedroom 2-bath = 70 sqm
3-bedroom 2-bath = 90 sqm
4-bedroom 2-bath = 120 sqm

For comparison, the apartments currently built by HDB in Singapore are 3-room 65 sqm and 4-room 90 sqm, but these include wall thickness too, as well as an useless “household shelter”, so the internal size is about 10-15% lower, making them unlivable in my opinion. The HDB apartments built in 1980s and 1990s are slightly above the minimal floor area in my ideal city.

Low-cost apartment sizes:
I also designed some apartment blocks inspired from Brazil, with minimal apartment size 3-room 45 sqm and 4-room 60 sqm. Smallest 3-room apartment I ever saw in Brazil is this, 33 sqm internal area.

The following regulations were intended for the system with wall axis and 10 cm walls.

Living room: minimal width 2.9 m, recommended width 3.5-4 m, recommended size including dining area are 20 sqm for 3-room, 25 sqm for 4-room, 30 sqm for 5-room.

Dining room: undecided, I traditionally provide space for a centrally-placed dining table for 6 persons in 4-room apartments in a space of at least 3×3 m, and for 4 persons in smaller apartments. But in low-cost apartments people can eat in front of TV on a folding table with folding chairs.

Bedrooms: there is controversial  I have seen many smaller bedrooms around the world than my ideal size. So I am gonna rewrite the rule: recommended size 11 sqm (2.9 x 3.9 m), minimal size 8 sqm with 2.4 m width, to accommodate a wardrobe and two beds (or wardrobe, bed, desk).
For comparison, Philippines minimum is 2 m / 6 sqm bedrooms, Brazil 2.4 m / 8 sqm first bedroom and 2.4 m / 6 sqm other bedrooms.

Master bedroom: bigger apartment means richer owner so need a bigger room. The recommended size will be 14 sqm for 3-room (2.9 x 4.9 m) and 16 sqm for 4-room (3.4 x 4.9 m).

Kitchen: in my opinion should have minimum 1.9 m width for one side cabinets, 2.4 m for cabinets on both sides. Total kitchen area should vary depending by apartment size.

Bathrooms: recommended size 2.4×1.6 m to fit toilet bowl, sink and bathtub. In 2-room apartments I can use 2.4 x 1.4 m with shower.
Typical bathtub size is 150-160 cm long and 75-80 cm wide (60 x 30 in).

Hallways: minimal width 90 cm, recommended width 1.20 m.

Staircases: minimal width 90 cm, recommended width 1 m.

Different guidelines for the houses that I design for Philippines

Due to culture, Philippines houses are one of the smallest in the world, Philippines building code also is one of most permissive in the world, allowing bedrooms small as 6 sqm, but personally saw even smaller bedrooms. I set my own guidelines for projects that I design for this country (for people who own bigger lands I can design bigger rooms similar with my international guidelines).

Living room: min 2.5 m wide and 10 sqm (building code do not specify size for living room, it can be same size like a bedroom, but isn’t logical to be bigger?).

Bedroom: 2 x 3 m or 2.4 x 2.5 m (min 6 sqm, same like building code).

Bathroom: 1.2 x 2 m should be the minimum size in my opinion (building code specify minimum bathroom width 0.9 m, leaving just 20 cm between front of toilet bowl and wall, I can’t imagine how to use USE that toilet, too crammed).

Parking regulations

Street parking: an international recommendation is to have 80 cm space between cars. Most open parking lots are designed 2.5 m wide because cars were traditionally 1.6-1.7 m wide. This is getting a problem as since 1990s cars are getting fatter, today most of cars being over 1.8 m wide. American parking lots are 2.7-3.0 m wide, in Japan and Brazil I saw 2.2-2.3 m wide.

Basement parking: perpendicular lots should be wider if there are columns around, clearance between columns should be at least 3 meters to allow space to steer.

Public parking lots should be 5 meters length.

Private garages should be depending by what car you own, usually minimum 2.9 m width and 5-6 m long. Except the American cars, 90% of world cars are up to than 5 meters length. Europe is dominated by cars 4-5 meters long, but other countries are dominated by smaller cars.

Car park garage dimensions

Other dimensions used in 3D design

In 3D design I use a floor-to-floor height of 3 meters, for being a round number. This means ceiling height 2.75 meters, enough to can put false ceiling, spotlights, or ceiling fan, the 25 cm floor slab may include floor heating. Most apartment buildings around the world have 2.80 meters floor-to-floor (ceiling height 2.60 meters).

Windows have 1.5 meters height above the 1 meter parapet wall.

Doors have 2 meters height, and 75 cm, 1 meter or 1.5 meters width.

Stairs: there is some controversy, I found that my older projects contains wrong, oversized stairs. Since 2010 I use stairs with 5/16 m (31.25 cm) tread and 1/6 m (16.67 cm) riser, 18 steps per floor, giving at pitch of 28%, this is close that what says Wikipedia to be ergonomic. Since 2013 I use for normal houses 300 mm tread and 187.5 mm riser, pitch 32% (3000 mm floor-to-floor, 16 steps). For the low-cost landed houses with space constraint I use 250 mm tread and 200 mm riser, pitch 39% (2600 mm floor to floor, 13 steps).

Efficient apartment town layout for high density

I design apartment blocks for highest density without affecting standards of living.

The classic European-communist style, long segmented blocks with 4 units per floor and kitchen on facade, is efficient only for small, 2-room apartments, because for 3-room, this will create too long apartments with waste of space in a long hallway, plus the bathrooms will be stuck without ventilation in the middle of block. But high efficiency can be reached with 3-room and 4-room apartments if I increase block width, move kitchens to middle, add airwells for kitchens and bathrooms, and place segments in zig-zag to open airwells.
The classic East Asian corridor-style, with a single row of apartments, is efficient for small and middle size apartments and it also allows both sides view and cross-ventilation. Rooms must be narrow at facade and depth to inside, to make widest blocks possible, with narrowest apartments. 12-meter width is most common in my projects, 14-meter is apparently the maximum possible.

Corridor-style blocks are land usage efficient for all types of apartments, but if I make L-shaped, U-shaped, circular-like with a courtyard in the middle, or other crazy-shaped block,, and place the common access balcony on the back or inside, the efficiency goes even higher.

Staircase-style blocks with segments of only 2 units per floor, is also land usage efficient but only for big apartments (over 100 sqm).

Tower (point) blocks with 4 to 6 units per floor and rooms facing to all sides, add some beauty to the city skyline, but their efficiencies is always 20-30% lower than other blocks.

Rules for the public housing-inspired neighborhoods that I designed in 2009-2011

I usually design the 3D image using 8 and 16 storey blocks, for best proportions. However most blocks’ floor plans can be built taller because there are enough lifts. Is recommended to make minimum 2 lifts per block, this makes inefficient to design blocks with less than 4 apartments per floor.

The number of tower blocks should be max 25% of total number of blocks. Minimal distance between frontal facades is 32 meters, between two back facades is 24 meters, between one facade and a side wall (without windows) is 16 meters. Near heavy traffic roads, the distances should be greater.

According these rules, a typical housing estate, will have 140-160 apartments per hectare, the maximum land usage (sum of all apartments area from one floor, divided by the land area) is about 20%.

For parking, the ground space between 8-storey blocks, if is used at maximum, is enough parking space for a ratio of one car one parking lot per apartment. However, in high-density estates the public transport becomes very efficient so the number of cars will be lower. Is recommended to cover the basement parking with a roof with green space, also to protect cars from sun. In case of taller blocks multi-storey car parks are necessary.

Efficient landed housing layout for high density

For landed houses I have same principle: highest density without affecting standards of living. The houses should be narrow, depth and tall. I am against single-storey houses.

Terraced houses are my favorite concept. Courtyard is minimum, since it is a waste of land, is common for my houses to be bigger than the land where they sits. Everywhere in the world houses are very close each other, since you have few neighbors there is no rules about minimal distance. I usually design 4 meters of space between houses. Semi-detached housing is usually 40-60 dwellings per hectare while Terraced housing reaches 50-80 dwellings per hectare. For comparison, USA detached houses are usually 10-15 houses per hectare, Japan detached houses are usually 30-50 houses per hectare (Japan residential roads are 5-meter width, sidewalks are nonexistent, and houses can be 50 cm each other, usually 2 meters. Singapore and Malaysia terraced houses are 50-60 dwellings per hectare.

New rules:

Setbacks: front 6 meters (will allow space for parking a car), back 4 meters, sides 2 meters. Developers will be encouraged to put the important rooms facing front and back.

Minimal lot width: terraced 6 m, corner-terrace and semi-detached 8 meters, detached 12 meters.

Minimal lot depth: 20 meters, so the houses will be minimum 10 m deep. I recommend 24 meters deep, if you think that is not possible houses so deep without having windows to sides, take a look in House Plans as I have designed terraced houses 14-16 meters deep.

By considering that streets are 12 meter wide (6 m road plus sidewalk and green space), max possible density will be 64 houses / hectare for terraced, 48 for semi-detached, 32 for detached.

Efficient apartment layout and good views

Personally I love to have wide views from my apartment, so all my early projects had at least 180-degree views from all apartments. Later I realized that most people are not interested in wide view range, but more in straight unblocked view as long is possible. Is important to have windows on 2 different facades (front-back, front-side, or front-side-back), for cross-ventilation to minimize air conditioned usage.

The apartments must be square-ish as possible, with all rooms arranged around a central point, I try to minimize comfort problems like couch-TV placed in the passing zone. The hallways area must be reduced to minimum possible, some apartments uses the dining area as hallway, to create smallest apartments without affecting room spaciousness.

Sliding doors and windows

This was an idea from my childhood, probably a little science-fiction and was underappreciated. Since 2011 I switched to casement doors.

No more conventional casement doors and windows, no more accidental closings in wind, no more worries about kicking someone besides the door. Sliding doors and windows can be opened with minimal effort, so is easily to equipped with electric motors, remote control, and rain sensors, and also are friendly with the people in wheelchairs. No more worries if you forget to close windows when you leave your home and the rain starts to fall!

The sliding doors have just one disadvantage: reduces the freedom of apartment’s layout designing. You need at least 2 meters of wall to can put a sliding door, regardless if the door slides inside wall or along wall. Is better to slide along walls to not make the walls too tick.

Oct 10

Cars 3D design

Before moving into architecture design in 2008, I also modeled few cars in AutoCAD.
Interested to download AutoCAD .DWG 3D model file? Contact me and make a price offer!

You may say that these are Very Old Looking Vehicular Objects (VOLVO). Making curvy surfaces in AutoCAD is difficult, a lot or vertexes were manually calculated at the joints of curvy surfaces, the software do not allows to trim a 3D surface with another 3D surface, like how it allows trimming 2D objects. Or maybe… I also like VOLVO cars?

I did NOT wanted to design the ultimate sport car, instead I designed an average classic family car, with many details as possible, to show my skill as graphic designer, and to use many of AutoCAD photorealistic effects as possible, to show the performance of AutoCAD render. Do you though that AutoCAD is only for 2D drawings?

1990s-styled European Sedan (2006 design)
Teoalida's Car Design 2006

I started designing 3D car models in AutoCAD in 2000, when I was 11 year old, but the first ones were boxy and really bad, does not worth to publish them on website.

I enjoy making perfect drawings, and because in replicating a real car, a perfect accuracy is impossible, I choose to design own car models to calculate myself optimal dimensions for each part of the car.

The car presented here was started in March 2006, when I decided to improve my 2004 square-ish car, being grown up I got more skilled, so I redesigned the lower half of exterior body. It was intended to be an early 1990s European average family car.

In July-August 2006 I worked hard and I redesigned all parts of the 2004 car, even the parts designed 4 months ago were redesigned.
I had a dream to have my own range of models designed by me, so started design more cars: one roadster, one microbus, one Japanese small hatchback, and one American 1970s muscle car over 5 meters long.

But this would waste my life, so I abandoned all except the first car model, now in 2 variants: sedan and station wagon, and during late 2006 and 2007 I added more and more improvements and details, for example the curved windows where made in November 2006 and dashboard in 2007.

Some little parts are still missing, maybe the dashboard must be further improved and mirrors should be added, even if I prefer video cameras.

1990s-styled European Sedan & Estate (2007 redesign)
Added more curved surfaces in upper half and interior, front end redesigned.
AutoCAD 3D model of a car, side view
AutoCAD 3D model of a car, back & interior view
AutoCAD 3D model of a car, front view

Dimensions: the car was designed using pixel system and binary proportions rather than metric system. The length is set to be equal with 16384 (2^14) pixels at 96 per inch, then every piece of car is sized as proportions with the length. Length 4335 mm (1 unit), width 1897 mm (7/16 units), body height 1219 mm (9/32 units) plus ground clearance 203 mm (3/64 units), wheelbase 2709 mm (5/8 units), bonnet 1335 mm (10/32), front door 1084 mm (8/32), rear door 948 mm (7/32), trunk 948 mm (7/32), roof width 1287 mm (19/64), wheels diameter 542 mm (1/8), tire width 203 mm (3/64), tire height 68 mm (1/64) so the closest tires may be 205/35 R 16.

Unfinished 1970s-style American car (2007 design)
AutoCAD 3D car design 2007

I love the style of the European family cars launched late 1980s and early 1990s, medium class, especially for Volkswagen Passat Mk 3, but also Alfa Romeo 155 and 164, Citroen XM, Fiat Tempra, Ford Escort Mark V, Peugeot 405 and 605, Renault 19 and 21, Volvo 850, probably because these models (used cars) populated my country in early 2000s when my passion for cars started.

But in case if I need to buy a car, I will take more attention to technical part rather to aesthetics, so I will buy a BMW.

I designed many more AutoCAD cars in the past, but all were simple and cubish, maybe the situation could be better now if I had a chance to learn 3D Studio Max from childhood, from same age when I learned AutoCAD, because AutoCAD is definitely NOT a software suitable for designing cars!

From 2008 I am focused to architecture… 3D buildings can be designed much faster (in one day) due to square shapes and repetitive objects, and the renderings are more impressive than these cars (drew in about 2 months).

Oct 08

Palace Trianon 3D design

This palace is one of the most beautiful 3D modelling works that I ever designed in AutoCAD. Many people were impressed not only by the beautiful 3D renders, but also for excellent model geometry that makes it to look like 18-19th century neoclassic architecture.

Some people asked me how I got the idea to design such complex building, and suggested to change some details to make it better, BUT….. (scroll down)

Interested to download AutoCAD .DWG 3D model file?
Contact me and make a price offer. Remember: I spent over 100 work hours to design this digital art masterpiece.

The palace 3D model viewed from all 4 angles

The palace 3D model’s eastern and western facades

The palace 3D model viewed from low angles

The palace aerial perspective, showing internal floor plan
The interior design is simple and modern withou many decorations, to avoid overloading the drawing and crashing AutoCAD. Trees and window curtains are removed in these photos.

The palace floor plan and elevation drawings

Funny views of the palace 3D design
Left: the 3D model in wireframe view, can you count the polygons and faces?
Right: “We built all floor slabs, we built stairs and roof, we installed all doors and windows, we have even window curtains and rainwater pipes… I forgot something, or we can move in?”

BUT….. they don’t know that this palace is NOT my personal conception, instead it is a 3D model of a REAL building, the Cantacuzino Palace “Little Trianon” from Floresti-Prahova, Romania, built in early 20th century and abandoned before being finished.

My project was to design the palace in AutoCAD with maximum accuracy possible (unfortunately, without having original palace floor plans), so I did not wanted to go too far away from the original building design.

The REAL palace

Versiune in romana www.teoalida.com/ro/micultrianonfloresti

Several different long stories exists about the palace (in romanian), I wrote myself a short story in english:

Conservative politician Gheorghe Grigore Cantacuzino, nicknamed The Nabab for his immense fortune, member of the Cantacuzino family with a long-standing history in Romania, started to build a palace in Floresti village, 80 km north from Bucharest, intended to gift it to his niece, Alice.

He hired the architect Ioan Berindei to design a palace similar with french palaces: the shape and height are inspired with Petit Trianon palace, while the architectural style and wall decorations are inspired with Grand Trianon palace. This nicknamed the Cantacuzino palace as “Little Trianon”.

Construction starting date is somewhere between 1907 and 1912, different sources says different years. During World War I, the roof was damaged (cause and extent of damage is unknown, probably limited to pitched roof and not floor slab). In 1913, Gheorghe Cantacuzino died without being able to complete the palace, their children did not had enough money or were not interested to finish the palace, so very little work was done between the two World Wars, a period in which the palace was used as a warehouse.

All walls and external decorations were finished, but inside only few rooms were finished, the windows were not installed and probably the stairs were not built too. Nobody lived in it, NEVER!

At the time the palace was built, were no earthquake engineering norms in Romania. All walls are made by bricks without any reinforcement and were covered with sculpted granite blocks on external facades. Concrete was used only in arches above windows and doors and few internal walls. This offered NO protection against the deadly earthquakes that occur in Romania every 30-40 years. However, the palace survived well the 1940 earthquake.

After World War II and installation of communist regime in 1947, the Cantacuzino family had to flee away from country to retain its wealth, and the palace remained in the care of nobody, water infiltration affected the abandoned structure. During communism times, the Cantacuzino grounds have been used by various people including an army camp, a tuberculosis hospital established in the nearby, older houses of Cantacuzino family, the hospital remains until today.

The 1977 earthquake caused collapse of four 20 tons chimneys, fifth chimney remained standing, the falling chimneys destroyed some of the internal walls. While talking with few local people, some told me that the roof slab was already destroyed before the earthquake, in a test of explosives done by the army camp during 1950s, while others told me that prior earthquake there was still possible to climb to the roof.

Several movies were shoot in the ruined palace during 1970s and 1980s, further aggravating destruction. I wish to know the name of movies, a search on YouTube may reveal how the palace was looking before the destruction.

But the major destruction occurred only after 1989, after fall of communist regime, when villagers from Floresti and not only, vandalized the abandoned palace by destroying almost all internal walls and floor slabs, as well as a part of external wall was destroyed in 2006 (the wall behind columns on western facade), to steal bricks, marble and granite for their homes, also to get steel beams used in floor slabs and sold them as scrap metal.

Plans of restoration were made since 1980s, but the nearby hospital scary potential tourists and keep investors away. Even the country president Nicolae Ceausescu intended to restore it. Since there are over 100 meters between palace and hospital buildings, a wall can be built to prevent patients entering into palace grounds and spread disease.

The restoration may be still possible, but is estimated to cost about 20 million euro, a risky investment that could be hardly recovered.

Around Romania there are a lot more historical monuments and heritage buildings, that despite of being structurally intact, require less investment and can generate higher profits due to their location on waterfront (for example Constanta Casino – video inside), are ignored by authorities and left to self-destruction. Thus, the chances for the Floresti palace to be restored to original conditions are very small. Let’s hope it will be at least converted in museum, reinforced to make it safe for visit and to prevent further damage or theft.

Great news! The palace was given back to Gheorghe Cantacuzino’s grand children, who sold in 2009 to Radu Tudorache, Google consultant in Romania. In 2012 a fence was built around it to limit people access into it. In 2013 some works started, scaffolding were installed, unstable bricks were removed… but nothing else. Thee is unclear if they intend to rebuilt it or just to conserve ruins.

The Cantacuzino Domain in Floresti is spawned over 150 hectares (3 km long along Prahova river). It also include seven smaller buildings built around 1830-1850, still maintained and housing a tuberculosis hospital, plus one church, and a water tower built also in 1830s, not maintained but almost intact, which offered a panoramic view to Prahova valley, until the concrete spiral stairs collapsed during 1990s. The property was a huge park containing a lake with an island, rivulets, aqueducts, several carved reinforced concrete bridges made to resemble wooden bridges (one bridge is almost intact, photo below), paved alleys with rare trees, greenhouses, hunting grounds, golf courses, and horse riding grounds.

Around Romania there are at least 10 palaces and manors wearing Cantacuzino name, built between 16th and 20th century by branches of same family, most of them are in same or worse destroyed state. The Floresti palace is the most impressive from architecture point of view.

I post there some photos with the remains of the palace, selected the best photos uploaded by people on Panoramio, credits to their authors. I also made myself about 100 photos in 2006-2007 but my photos are very bad due to cheap photo camera and low photographic skills.

Exterior photos

Detail photos

Photos around the palace

Aerial (drone) photo of the palace

Aerial (drone) video of the palace

The location viewed from satellite

View Larger Map

More stories and details
English: http://www.rri.ro/arh-art.shtml?lang=1&sec=170&art=12996
Romanian: http://www.ziua.ro/display.php?id=245227&data=2008-11-10
A lot of photos: http://entertainment.webshots.com/album/573565104jSqRYM?start=0

Me and the palace

I live in Ploiesti, 20 km away from the palace location. I discovered and visited the Floresti’s Trianon Palace first time in 2003, I was 14 years old and I liked the palace so much and I even had a dream in which I restored it and used it for my home, but being just a little child, I could not anything else than a virtual reconstruction in AutoCAD.

In 2006 I visited again the palace, this time with photo camera, paper and measuring tape. I measured every piece of wall, even the chimneys (the collapsed ones, I do not risked my life to climb towards the roof). I made several sketches on paper plus about 100 photos of every wall. When I arrived home I started to redraw a 3D model in AutoCAD, this time high-detailed form compared with 2003 done by memories only. Note that all these drawings were done solo for pleasure of the art of 3D modelling in AutoCAD and were not intended to be used for any restoration project.

Maybe I liked more to design the Parliament Palace, Peles Castle or other well-known palaces, but in case of Floresti’s Trianon palace, being abandoned, I was free to explore and do anything I wanted.

In 2009, after buying a new, powerful computer (2 GB RAM instead of 512 MB), I done few small design improvements and rendered 15 images, to post them on my website and replace the original 2 images.

In 2014 I done the first major redesign of the palace 3D model, to bring it to current skills of AutoCAD drafting and 3D modelling, and use it to promote my architecture design and 3D rendering services. I changed textures, added trees in landscape, added more geometric elements and corrected few mistakes done in the original design. Thanks to few friends, architecture students, who visited the palace armed with a laser measuring tool, able to do more precise measurements than me with a 3-meter measuring tape.

Even if the palace is heavily damaged, the almost intact external wall and basement level show well the palace floor plan, so I am sure that my design respects 99% of the original design in terms of room layout, but most of internal doors are hypothetical.

Although from outside the palace does look like a symmetric building, the internal layout have several mysterious differences between north and south sides, which intrigue me what was the purpose of each room.

The absence of glass fragments (other than beer bottles) suggest that windows were never installed. Unlike French palaces having flat roof, the Floresti palace had a copper roof with a pitch of 1:3, this is visible on chimneys, but is unknown if the roof was plain or had eye windows, or if the attic space was used in any way.

Palace dimensions and statistics

Between the axis of external walls, the palace is 43 by 35 meters, the face of walls (excluding decorations) is at 30 cm offset from wall axis (40 cm for basement walls), the roof cornice overhang 1 meter from wall axis.

The palace gross floor area is about 4000 square meters distributed on 3 floors. It have 120 external doors and windows, and 50 internal doors (this is the number of windows in my AutoCAD drawing, I cannot know how many doors were in original palace).

The center of palace seems that have been a great ballroom sized about 370 square meters (25 by 14 m) and double volume tall, with 5 doors opening to the great western terrace with 10 columns, facing to fountain, park and lake.

A second double volume room is in the north-west corner, about 100 sqm, possible dining room.

At the corners of great room, there are two rooms small as 5 by 3 meters, double volume too, as there is no evidence of floor slab where it shall be. This indicate that these rooms were intended for staircases, the basement floor plan also confirm that the basement was accessible through this place, but I did not saw any debris that resembles a stair, so I guess that the internal stairs were never built. The great western facade with columns does have evidence that a 15-meter wide stair was planned to lead to fountain, but the lack of foundation suggest that this stair was never built too.

The palace floor plan is completed by 20 big rooms (ranging between 18 and 60 sqm, possible bedrooms, library, office, other day rooms) and many small rooms (less than 15 sqm, possible kitchen, bathrooms, servant rooms, etc), plus hallways.

Most of palace walls have a thickness of 60 and 40 cm.

Some parts of my AutoCAD 3D model are designed from my imagination or inspired from the Paris’s Grand Trianon palace because the original ones were stolen or destroyed when I discovered the Floresti palace in 2003, or never built:

– The color scheme, inspired from Paris palace, the Floresti palace was entirely white.
– Windows frames, again inspired from Paris palace.
– Staircases, there is no evidence that either internal or external stairs were built, so I added them from my imagination.
– The 3 windows on upper floor towards eastern terrace are added from my imagination, that wall collapsed in 1977 earthquake or earlier.
– I deleted one chimneys (the only one standing) to enhance symmetrical look.
– Some wall motifs are missing in my 3D design because drawing them is too hard to impossible, also the 3D model is already complex enough to make AutoCAD software to crash often.

See also: Palace Trianon Floresti in The Sims 2 version.

These are the two Trianon Palaces from Paris, France
Grand Trianon, Paris Grand Trianon, Versailles Grand Trianon, Versailles

Notice the similarity with the Romanian palace and my 3D palace design

Oct 06

Paper to CAD drawing conversion services

Most AutoCAD designers offering paper-to-CAD conversion simply put the scanned JPG and draw over it every line, often making various identical drawing elements at different dimensions, aka low-quality CAD drawing.

Personally I offer quality paper-to-CAD conversion services, taking care to make every element of drawing a rounded dimension, and in case of floor plans of various buildings, I will give you option to add dimensions in CAD file as they are in the original floor plan, as well as adding more dimensions, or providing a CAD file without dimensions but designed according dimensions from the scanned floor plan.

You give me JPG, PNG or other raster image format, and I give you DWG, DXF or PDF. Contact me for price quote!

Paper to CAD conversion of HDB flats for interior design

This PDF to CAD conversion service involve drawing walls accurately according dimensions shown on original PDF floor plan, and add internal dimensions of every room, different than original dimensions that include wall thickness, so interior designers can accurately plan their renovation.

Paper to CAD conversion for Michael Lee paintings

For example, between 2012 and 2013 I worked for Michael Lee, artist and curator from Singapore, who created paints of HDB floorplans as well as various buildings around the world, focusing on buildings demolished or never built, or buildings with famous stories. But to paint them, he needs a vinyl outline, and to cut the vinyl, he needs a graphic designer, and this is my job!

To provide quality graphic design services, I design a set of axes to make sure that building elements are equidistant as they should (especially when the scanned paper he sends me is not accurate or is badly scanned), as seen in Rasa Singapura food centre. Moreover, I use my experience in architectural design to remove furniture and non-architectural elements from drawing, and sometimes, do additional research based by photos and movies, to add more details (for example adding windows, if the scanned floor plan have only walls). Michalel Lee is using 1:50 scale for all his paintings and due to limitations of vinyl cutter, he require all drawing elements (walls, doors, windows) to be draw as double line, at least 1.5 millimeters wide.

The results are quite simple and black & white, does not really showcase my high AutoCAD design skills, as it requires more time than skill, but as long I am paid, I do ANY kind of graphic design!

This is my way of designing…

… that gave birth of his paintings

For more photos of art visit Michael Lee website > Dwelling

Oct 04

Web Design

If you need a little help how to create, improve or optimize a website, feel free to contact me!
If you need someone to create a website from scratch and maintain it full-time in your place, then I am NOT the right person.

I am writing this page in 2013 because some people attempted to hire me to design websites for them… this being quite surprising because previously (until I wrote this page) I DID NOT stated anywhere that I am webdesigner or that I offer webdesign services. Probably they confused graphic design (AutoCAD, architecture, mechanical, technical drawings, etc) with webdesign.

But yes, I can offer web development services too. I am skilled in HTML and CSS, I have high experience in SEO too, earned in 4 years of running this website, 90% of people do not even know these basic stuff, so I would like to help people of anyone need help in this field. Please note that do not know PHP yet, so I may not be able to make custom CMS or other complex websites.

I cannot claim myself a professional web designer… but I made MY website without any professional help, the only external help being the ideas submitted by visitors. I partially participated in websites of other people, by adding content, optimizing, submitting to directories, etc.

Making a website for someone else FROM SCRATCH is difficult especially if you do not give me enough details. In some cases may be better to start yourself the website then contact me to improve its design, do SEO and other kind of promoting.

I also offer:
Article writing (in the domains of my interest), I am a good english writer, able to make original and SEO-friendly articles, optimal keyword density without annoying the reader, read my website to be convinced. No part of my website articles were been copied from anywhere else.
Translator: genuine translations without Google Translator!
Plus a lot of other small services that do not come in my mind at this moment.
Just ask me and I will tell you if I can!

Web design procedure

Try avoiding the companies who spam our emails offering WordPress website development for several hundred dollars, eCommerce website with Paypal integration for several thousand dollars, etc. They just want to get rich and scam the newbies, steal your money and provide what you can do yourself at much cheaper price.

You can have your own WordPress website for FREE on wordpress.com, or if you want more flexibility, download the platform from wordpress.org and install on 000webhost.com (free hosting with PHP support), or on a paid hosting for safety (hosting plans starts at about $5 per month). A .com domain name is only $10 per year. There are few eCommerce plugins for WordPress, that may transform your website into a web store, for FREE. So why would you pay several hundred dollars?

I wonder what these Webdesign & SEO companies are actually doing for the large sums of money they are charging. Do they include cost of hosting? Do they write articles in your places? Do they customize WordPress less or more? But do YOU really need a customized, unique, non-standard website? In case you want to make a large online store such as www.amazon.com, yes in that case you may need to hire a dedicated web development company.

If I will design a website for someone else than myself, I will breakdown the costs… so you will be able to choose exactly how much service do you want from me and how much to do yourself. Example:

  • I invite you to choose between free hosting and paid hosting, you pay for hosting and give me password.
  • $20 for assistance to install and setup a blank website (if you want to add content yourself)
  • $10 for each page/article you want me to write (but I am afraid that I do not have imagination to write articles outside of architecture, real estate, and gaming fields, maybe is better to let you writing articles)
  • $5 for each image retouching if needed.
  • Some more $ for theme customization.
  • And so on…

After serving few customers, to make sure I am able to design websites, I will decide the prices for future customers, probably higher.

SEO procedure

  • I do not guarantee putting your website on 1st page of Google. This is a phrase used by scammers. No SERIOUS person can guarantee this. In some fields with low competition you can be #1 in Google with minimum of effort, in other fields is impossible a new website to beat the competitors.
  • I do not guarantee 2x, 5x, 10x times increase of traffic. This depends from case to case. If you made a new website without most basic knowledge of SEO, and it gets 10 daily visitors, I may help you to get 50 daily visitors (500% increase), but if your website is already optimal and gets 1000 daily visitors, would be very difficult to get even 10% increase.
  • I focus on On-Page SEO, I do not offer link building services, although this may offer a major increase of traffic on short term, it violates Google guidelines and if done at certain extent, on long term your website will be dropped from search results, BEWARE! Also, emailing other websites asking for link exchange is time-costly job if done manually, major SEO companies have tools that automatically discover email addresses and send bulk mail (and people will report you as SPAM then your email will no longer reach Inbox, when I tried to do for my website I had to email 10 people to receive 1 reply).
  • Do not make 1-page website then ask me to put on 1st page of Google. Write 5 pages of at least few hundreds words then I see what I can do in terms of SEO.
  • If you have time and want to do SEO yourself with my advices, no problem! Unlike dedicated SEO companies who do not disclose their strategy and wants to let your website in their hands, personally I give FREE SEO advices that you can do yourself!

Do you want to see my SEO skills? Search the following keywords on Google

While some companies offer SEO packages for 10, 20, 50 keywords, and spam other websites for backlinks, my website does have few hundred combinations of 2-3 keywords for which it appears on 1st page of Google, I managed to do this myself without paying any kind of SEO services and without spamming for backlinks. Here are the keywords which bring most traffic:

HDB floor plan
floor plan + name of a street from Singapore
3-room / 4-room / 5-room + name of a street from Singapore
List of HDB BTO
BTO list
List of EC
Executive Condominium Singapore
Will HDB prices drop?
Will prices drop in 2017 Singapore?

Hong Kong floor plans

Architecture & Design pages
3-room / 4-bedroom house design
60 / 80 / 100 sqm house design
Malaysia house design
Philippines house design
40 sqm house plan Philippines
house plan 6 meter frontage
narrow house plans

Car Database pages
car database
car models list
vehicle list excel
list of cars csv
car specs excel

Oct 02

Chatting with website visitors

Zopim live chatSince this is a personal-portfolio website, I always wanted to interact with visitors, to exchange knowledge, make new friends with similar interests and get feedback about my works and products. I put comment widgets at bottom of each page and a forum, but took months to get several comments and still did not understand what kind of people are visiting me and what they are looking for, to make products that suits market needs and offer various services.

I never knew that this is possible to chat directly with visitors, until…

In a day of January 2012 I visited the website of a real estate agent, which was using SnapEngage chat widget to catch customers. That was the first time I talked with a human directly on browser, and first time I believed that is a robot too. After few messages I realized that is a human. Then I made mistake to reply every time he was greeting me without being aware that greetings are not from him but automatic and replying at them made he to say “feel free to browse my website but please don’t disturb me with messages”.

I installed SnapEngage on my website too, but its limit of 30 chats per month in free plan was a problem. Since May 2012 I switched on Zopim because it do not limit number of chats in free account. These chat software helped me to get customers contacting me for my services and I started making money. I upgraded to a paid plan Zopim in August 2016.

Is this the first time you visit a website with live chat? Probably you are not browsing internet enough… there are over 200.000 websites using Zopim alone, possible over 1 million websites using various other chat services, most commonly the websites selling products or services.

SnapEngage vs Zopim review

SnapEngage free plan is limited to 30 chats per month for FREE accounts, which was theoretically enough for my small website with just 100 daily visitors, BUT I was facing a problem with stupid people who send me a message, disconnect from chat then send messages again, depleting the monthly quota quite fast (this was also aggravated by SnapEngage’s lack of minimize button, people tend to close the window to free up screen space, without realizing that they disconnect from chat and will be impossible to answer them, then if they had more questions they were starting another chat).

Website traffic was rising so I started looking for alternatives, and since May 2012 I moved to Zopim. Free plans were limited at 2 simultaneous chats instead of 30 chats per month. In August 2012 Zopim announced a makeover of their service, limiting the free accounts to 1 chat at time and disabling the proactive greetings for free accounts, so I upgraded to a paid plan. I could afford it because meantime website turned money-making.

In paying plans, both services do not limit number of chats, but taking in consideration the features, Zopim is better although more expensive.

Here is the review of both services from my personal experience:

SnapEngage doesn’t allow me to manually start a chat with a certain visitor, I can only set a proactive message on all pages (or different message on certain pages, at different delays). To talk with a visitor, is necessary the visitor to reply when the chat pop-up (automatic greeting) or to open chat by himself and send you a message.
Zopim have a dashboard showing visitor list, I can even manually send custom messages to visitors, but most time I don’t have time to watch the visitors list, so I rely on the automatic greeting.

SnapEngage chat window is bigger and many people tends to close the window. Some people asked me help and closed the window in 3 seconds without being aware that this disconnect from chat, I could no longer answer them and I lost potential customers.
Zopim chat window have a minimize button rather than a close button, they can click it to free screen space without disconnecting from chat, I can still send messages to visitors as long as they are on my website.

SnapEngage allow different greetings depending by visitor page (free and paid accounts).
Zopim allow different greetings based by visitor country, number of visits, google search strings, etc (paid accounts only).
Zopim can auto-respond if no human responded in certain time, with a nice message for example “The human probably is busy or out of office for some minutes, please leave us a message with your email address and we will contact you” but from my personal experience, 90% left website without leaving an email.
None of them can read what visitor type and give replies based by certain keywords. But probably nobody would like robot answers.

SnapEngage have cookie-based ban, I can ban annoying visitors only while chatting, then anyone can unban itself by deleting cookies. This proved a big issue when I had an idiot sending me stupid messages and disconnecting faster than I could ban him, especially because SnapEngage free accounts are limited at 30 chats per month.
Zopim have IP banning, I can ban any IP anytime.

SnapEngage have two unique features over Zopim, but in my personal experience, both proved useless:
– Redirecting visitors to another page – a browser change without their intervention made people to quickly click back and leave website. Is better to give them a link to click it manually.
– Taking screenshot of visitor page – works only if visitors manually click ALLOW when the yellow bar appear, 90% do not click allow.

Another advantage of Zopim is that if offers unlimited chats per month for free accounts, the single limitation is 2 chats in same time, while SnapEngage is limited to 30 chats per month. I had taken measures to reduce quota waste, such as making pop-up at 10 min for the pages which are not relate
For business, Zopim also have better prices, for example $39 for 5 agents, compared with SnapEngage $49 for 4 agents. Zopim changed, increased the prices since 9 August 2012, now is priced above competitor services.

But I strongly recommend Zopim! No other chat service can beat Zopim in terms of features!

Other chat software: JivoChat, LiveChatInc Live2supportOlark.comPureChat, and few more. I am NOT planning to test and review them. Feel free to compare prices and test yourself if you want.

How I know who is who?

One returning visitor asked me this question.
If you are outside of Singapore, I can guess that you are, because when someone start a chat I can see his country.
As 2014, website traffic is about 800 daily visitors of which 500 are from Singapore, identifying if you are a new or returning visitor, may be possible by IP, operating system, pages visited, cookie, etc, but is a waste of time and effort to try this. So I treat every chat request anonymously as a new visitor, if you are a returning visitor I appreciate if you specify this.

A problematic situation is when I am contacted in a short time by multiple students from same school, multiple employees from same company, etc… these people don’t just share SAME IP range, but they are likely to visit SAME page of website and talk about SAME thing! I though that all chats were by a single person, so I continued the conversation started by someone, in other chat windows, until someone said “I have no idea what are you talking about“! and realized that there are multiple people.

Chatting with website visitors is often funny!

Most people ignore the chat at all, some understand how it works and we had serious chat, while others asked me “Is this automated?” or “Are you a fucking robot?“.

See http://www.teoalida.com/chat/

Many people ask questions about real estate, some wondered what kind of person I am to offer consultation full-time and FREE – I don’t chat full-time, I am working, playing games, etc, and meantime helping 5-10 people per day is not disturbing.

One idiot accused me that I am NO-LIFER who stay 24/7 at computer to chat – WRONG, I stay online as much I can, to catch potential customers (max 14 hours per day, going offline when I am sleeping or out of home). I do not always stay at computer, but if you send me a message, I try to go at computer and answer as fast as I can!

These 12-year old kids saw the published funny chats and one probably thought that (hard to explain) is someway my job / my needs to chat all time, that the website is made solo for chatting and publishing the chats, calling all his friends to chat with me for no reason, VERY ANNOYING! They told me to publish more chats, but actually I start regretting that I published these few “funny chats”.
This chat should be used for professional purposes, NOT be used because you are bored and want to chat with someone…



Disclaimer: I publish anonymously, only few of the chats leading to nothing, and worth for laugh.
The published chats are less than 1% of total number of chats had per year. Serious chats will be kept confidential.
Disclaimer added after someone accused me “when you publish any chat, people know you might publish their chat. Might make them uncomfortable contacting you
Some people ignore the chat thinking that is a robot, publishing just few chats examples shows that the chat is real, thus they might contact me too.

FUNNY CASE: we’re talking for 5 minute and he still believe that I am a robot?

This is the case that decided me to write this page and explain how the chat works… next time when someone call me a robot, I will give a link to http://www.teoalida.com/about/chatting-with-website-visitors/


Incredible: Same person came back on 3 Nov 2012, causing another funny crazy chat… calling me NO-LIFER that sits at computer 24/24 just because I was online when he visited me 3 times at SAME time of day.
So, who visit me when I am online call me no-lifer, who visit me while I sleep, may not believe that someone WILL be ever online!
Dear idiots, please visit me in morning, evening and night, before saying that I sit at computer 24/24.

FUNNY CASE: he expected a robot answer but was surprised that is am human!

A visitor “is back” without telling me who is, causing a funny situation!

The automatic greeting, useful to catch customers, may be annoying for some visitors!

Aug 30

Greatest Cities in the World

– ONE city per country, is not mandatory to be the capital or the largest city.
– City should have at least 1 million people, never mind of Venice.
– Should be taken in consideration as many points is possible, but biggest point is for the living conditions. This ranking is like “Best cities to LIVE” not “Best cities to VISIT (as tourist)”.
– The ranking is not related with the photos. I just added one random landmark photo for each city.

Advice: Look down at rankings one city at once, think yourself which could be next ranked city before looking to it.
Please leave comments, insults, etc… about my ranking.

10th place – Paris

Eiffel Tower, Paris

For a tourist, France capital may be the #1 city in the world. Most of city proper was built in second half of 19th century, before inventions of automobiles, streets are very narrow, traffic and parking is a major problem. Paris Metro have 300 km, but it have good coverage only in city proper, most of 10-million area have no metro access. At least Paris is better than London (too sparse) or Rome (insufficient metro).




9th place – Madrid

Puerta de Europa, MadridMost of Spain population lives in apartment buildings, there are a lot of pre-war beautiful buildings, Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Madrid Metro (283 km) have better coverage in a city of 4.5 million people, than Paris Metro. However the apartment buildings are really dense, 10-15 meters distance between facades even in the new neighborhoods, causing lack of green space and parking problems.




8th place – Amsterdam

Canals, AmsterdamMost population lives in low-rise apartment buildings and terraced houses, there is a lot of diversity in architectural styles, this attracts a lot of tourists. Amsterdam is one of the few places in the world where are more bicycles than cars, water is also a common form of transport in city center.





7th place – Brasilia

Monumental Axis, BrasiliaBrasilia is the biggest masterplanned city of the world. Construction started in 1956, the city was inaugurated in 1960 and is still growing. It is the single city in Brazil where a large proportion of population lives in non-crowded apartment buildings, so it is one of the greenest cities in Latin America.
Was planned with sectors for each type of institutions, and as a “city of cars”, streets being planned in such a way that even traffic lights would not be necessary. Residents need to travel long distance to reach their needs, is not pedestrian-friendly, lack of crosswalks, people risk their lives crossing the north-south highway, so I give it just 7th place.


6th place – Moscow

Kremlin, MoscowEntire Moskow city is dominated by massive neighborhoods with huge communist apartment buildings (usually 8-16 storeys and 100-200 meters long, and wide avenues). Minimal distance between buildings is 30 meters, but in most cases is 50-100 meters. Russia capital is one of the greenest cities of the world and parking is not a problem. Moscow Metro is the biggest piece of art of the world, it have 300 km of lines and connects all apartment complexes. But the apartments themselves are small and crap quality, for most people the living conditions are quite bad, so I cannot give it rank higher than 6th place.


5th place – Shanghai

ShanghaiChina is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Shanghai is an ever-changing city and many communist apartment buildings are being demolished and replaced with modern apartment towers. Shanghai Metro is the fastest-growing metro in the world, it opened in 1995 and in 2010 it reached over 400 km of lines, overtaking London and became longest metro in the world. Traffic jams and pollution became a big issue so it occupies only 5th place.



4th place – Stockholm

StockholmNorth Europe is as whole a good place to live, but Sweden have lowest income inequality in the world and Stockholm may have the longest metro (108 km) compared with deserved population. A mix of high-rise and low-rise apartments, landed houses neighborhoods, and (probably) the best public housing programme in Europe, makes the city not too sparse for public transport and not too crowded, also is one of the greenest cities in the world, but for some reasons there are 3 other cities with higher rank…


3rd place – Hong Kong

Hong KongHong Kong have the best skyline in the world, impressive aerial views, most vertical city in the world, huge residential skyscrapers but with smallest apartments in the world (average 40-50 sqm). Extensive public housing programme since 1954 helped the city to develop and now is home for half of population. Everything are so close and public transport is good so the cars are useless in central area. Hong Kong is one of the 10 most touristic cities in the world and also one of the safest cities. Due to big income inequality and many poor people, and the crowded situation may be not a good place to live (unless you are a billionaire to buy a decent size apartment), I give it 3rd place.


2nd place – Seoul

SeoulMost people would be surprised that I have included Seoul in this TOP 10, as the city is not very beautiful and the lack of touristic attractions make it unknown for the rest of world… but it is one of the best place to live. South Korea developed quickly into a high-tech country, income inequality is one of the lowest in the world, crimes are also lowest, their population is one of the most civilized and Seoul is also one of the cleanest cities in the world. Centralized economy and mass housing programme appeared in 1960s. Rows of identical buildings are spread all around the city, giving an unpleasant look, but they offer the best apartments in the world (and probably the biggest – existing apartments average 110 sqm, new apartments in 80-200 sqm range), all fitted with high-tech features, and today more than half of population live happy in high-rise apartments. Korea have highest ratio of broadband internet. Seoul Subway have 314 km of lines but is linked with Incheon Subway and Korail sector, totaling 755 km, the longest in the world. Public transport is good, however increased automobile usage since 1990s leaded to pollution and parking is a hell in most residential areas.
There’s some controversy between Hong Kong and Seoul places, they are opposite, each one have what the other one do not have, different people may consider different things to be more important and invert the ranking.


1st place – Singapore

SingaporeSingapore is the best place to live in the world, it beats Hong Kong and Seoul by combining the advantages of each of them. Singapore have best urban planning, best public housing programme with HDB since 1960 which today is home for 80% of population, best public transport which made cars not necessary, and is one of the safest cities in the world. Despite of being a country with only 700 sq km, it have decent apartment sizes (HDB average 95 sqm, but is falling, new apartments being in 60-120 sqm range) and it is one of the greenest cities in Asia. Singapore MRT opened in 1987 and reached 142 km of lines in 2007, including LRT lines. Many other lines are under construction or planned. It is the only major city in the world where parking lots exceed number of cars, traffic is incredibly smooth and pollution is incredibly low for a city with 5 million people. Singapore is also 3rd most touristic city in the world, after Paris and London, according Wikipedia.


Possible Questions

– How about New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Cape Town, Sydney, etc?
All cities from USA, Canada and Australia have large part of population living in landed houses, tall buildings and beautiful skyline are only in downtown, rest of cities are too horizontal, making public transport to be inefficient. Rail infrastructure is insufficient, cars are necessary for daily life, all of these make the life expensive and causes big pollution, which leads to a lot of other problems. Also entire North and South America is not a good place to live due to high income inequality which turns into high crime rate.
Rio de Janeiro and Cape Town are the cities with most beautiful geographic landscape, obviously after Hong Kong.

– How about Dubai?
It is currently a big working site, I want to wait more years before giving it a place in the top, but anyway only a small area of the city have skyscrapers. Having Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world does not mean that is the most beautiful city or best living conditions.

– How about Tokio?
Tell me an advantage of Japan compared with South Korea. Tokyo is uglier than Seoul, it have too many landed houses and many old buildings.

– How about Pyongyang?
The city is really beautiful, well planned, and have one of the lowest pollution in the world, thanks to lack of rights of car ownership in North Korea. If this ranking was not about “Best cities to LIVE” I would include it.

– How about Kabul, Ciudad Juarez, Chernobyl… !?
LOL… The single place where Chernobyl-Pripyat is ranked #1 is the amount of green space per capita!

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