How to Develop Design Concepts in Architecture?

How to Develop a Design Concepts in ArchitectureSOURCE: PINTEREST

There might be a hundred quotes or a thousand answers to define the architecture, but precisely, Architecture is a journey from concept to creation. The journey that taught us to put our thoughts not only on the board but to reality. It inspired us how an abstract idea can be the basis of an entire existence of the structure.

It is very interesting how an abstract idea, a theory, opinion, or inspiration can underpin the whole design process. And that is why design professors ask students to spend their time in developing a rational concept.

Architectural design decisions are thoroughly influenced via their concepts and that is why your juror spends so much time judging your concept, as an ill-conceived concept accounts as the sole reason for a weak piece of architecture. It is foremost for laying out the framework for the process of design.

A concept can be a singular idea or it can be addressed in a series of conceptual scenarios. It could be based on materiality, culture, illusion, or the mere understanding of the design values needed to drive the project forward. It acts as a catalyst for the inception and development of the project that constitutes the heart and core of the scheme. It is the answer to each why and hows arising through the design explanation.

How to Develop Design Concepts in ArchitectureSOURCE: MEDIUM

However, finding that initial thought can be daunting. One has to understand the design brief, building typology, site analysis, and topology to go forward with the process. The initial stages require you to be malleable and flexible with the design approach, to enhance it with the further stages. The concept creation requires to address and research all the aspects to evaluate and formalize the design method. Let’s understand the four key areas that influence your concept:

Site Analyse: identify the aspects that will directly impact your design. Look for the surrounding contexts, features, and characteristics of the site and then move forward with the conceptual thought.

Design Brief: whether provided by the design professor, or the client, the design brief is the crucial information that addresses the requirements from the design. A design brief constitutes of preferences, budget, culture, preconceptions, agenda, personality, organization, and program.

Buildings Typology: taking cues from the above-mentioned aspects, determine the genre of the building, the purpose, services, and functionality of the structure.

Project Narrative: this describes the thought behind your project. How is it going to affect the user experience, how it will grow within the context.

architecture conceptSOURCE: PINTEREST

When you go around these four aspects, you generally get the answers to the framed questions, and these answers guide you throughout your design process. That is why it is always important to prepare for concept development. Reaching the design step by step enables in laying the groundwork for further thinking and enhancement in the process.

Analyze the problems associated with the design brief. Address the demands of the design, and look for the regulations that might limit the process in a certain way. Remember, a good concept is a balance of elements, where sometimes design overrules and sometimes the context surrounding overpower the process. It is all about finding the right blend of elements to integrate the functions within the form.

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Take your time – Design concepts in Architecture

How to Develop Design Concepts in ArchitectureSOURCE: AUCKLAND DESIGN MANUAL

Investing time in the incubation of an idea is utterly important and gain benefits, so if you are taking time on finding that right thought, do not hesitate away. Let your thoughts float and inspire you, write them down somewhere and fin-tune them. Always remember that its the concept that lays the framework for your design, so take plenty of time in framing that framework.

Find the project constraints

Your research will lead you to develop distinctive features and building constraints. This will provide you with an opportunity to further enhance your design whilst solving the issues raised during the process. 


Be very particular with the location of your proposal as the development of your concept should revolve around the key features associated with it. The initial design development should be entirely based on identifying the dominant forces. Once the early massing model is generated, it helps in shaping up the architecture further.


Materials are detrimental to define a concept and hence, they should be explored with their properties and limitations. This can lead to the formation of structural concepts that may aim to form the available strategies to push the design boundaries. 

Get drawing

How do you create an architecture conceptSOURCE: CHLOROPHYLLE

Finally, start to form the plan, and a 3D massing model to know how your concept is shaping up your creation. By doing so, you will get clarity on the reason behind putting those spaces in a specific position. This will define the purpose of the design, and you will also be able to easily remodel the spaces if they don’t fit the charts.

Develop Design Concepts in Architecture is a steady but very crucial stage. One should take his time in introspecting the aspects of the design to sketch a concept that would be stable enough to offer the framework to your design. You can also consider reading the best books on conceptual design, and if you have any questions, feel free to post them below.

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