How To Develop Concept In Architecture

History of Conceptualizing in Architecture

The concept of conceptualizing in architecture has evolved over time. In early architecture, the concept was generally simple, mostly material-based, and limited in scope. Concepts in ancient architecture were mainly focused on creating a structure and the associated decorative elements, with minimal attention given to the design or intended purpose of a structure. In the Renaissance era, concepts in architecture began to shift towards further consideration of function and purpose, with architects taking a more openly creative approach to the design of buildings. During the industrial revolution, a more systematic approach to architecture became popular, with strong emphasis on structural engineering and architectural styling. As technology has advanced and developed, so too have the concepts of architecture, with the focus now being on sustainability, efficiency and detail.

The Basics of Developing a Concept in Architecture

Developing a concept in architecture is all about taking a creative idea and transforming it into a physical and functional structure. The process of concept development involves several steps, from ideation and research to design and implementation. It begins with an idea or concept from either the architect, the client or both. From there the architect will conduct research, including studying the history, culture and environment of the project site and then creating conceptual sketches or drawings. Once the concept is refined and the design is finished, it will then be realised through material selections, colours, finishes, construction and project management.

Researching and Ideating

Researching and ideating are the two main steps in developing a concept in architecture. Through research, the architect can gain an understanding of the project’s particular site, the regional and local culture, existing building codes and regulations and any sustainability goals the project may have. This will inform the development of the concept, allowing the architect to create a design that is unique, relevant and meaningful. Ideation is the process of combing through ideas to find the one that best fits the project’s needs. While it is tempting to jump straight into the design process, it is important to take time to let the ideas simmer and to consider other options before settling on a concept.

Designing and Rendering

Designing and rendering are the next steps in the concept creation process. Architect’s now rely heavily on the use of computer aided design software to create floor plans, elevation drawings, 3D perspectives and weatherproofing analyses. Once the concept is designed and modelled in the computer, architect’s can proceed to choose building materials, colours, textures, lighting and furniture to finalise the concept.

Construction and Project Management

Once the design is complete, the next step is to prepare for the actual construction of the project. This step contains a wide range of tasks such as preparing building specifications, obtaining the necessary permits, hiring the appropriate contractors, sourcing materials and making sure the building process runs (reasonably) smoothly. This is where the concept is translated into reality and something tangible is created.

The Role of Clients in Conceptualizing in Architecture

Clients often have a direct or indirect role in the conception of a project. Often they provide the idea that serves as the basis for the concept, or they will at least have ideas of what they would like to see in the architecture. In some cases, the concept is developed entirely by the client, and the architect’s role is to bring the concept to reality. In other cases, the client will provide the architect with ideas and let them run with it. It is important for clients to be open to input from the architect and to trust in the architect’s expertise and understanding of the site and the architectural context.

Storytelling and Architecture

Storytelling is an important part of concept design in architecture. The story behind a project should be considered an intrinsic part of the design itself and must be woven into the concept. The purpose and intent of a project can be communicated aesthetically through the use of materials and other design considerations. Not only does this add to the overall aesthetic of a space, but it also adds meaning and depth to the concept.

The Importance of Sustainability

More and more, the concept of sustainability is being seen as an essential part of architecture. Sustainable design priorities are now applied to the concept to ensure that the design works with, rather than against, the natural environment. This includes considering energy efficient building materials, locally-sourced materials, water conservation, renewable energy sources and minimizing waste. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in architecture, and therefore it must be incorporated into the concept from the outset.

Collaboration in Conceptualizing Architecture

Creating a concept for a project is almost always a collaborative process between the client, the architect and other designers. Input from all parties should be carefully considered and incorporated into the concept. It is important for everyone to communicate openly and for everyone to understand their respective roles and responsibilities. Through collaboration, a concept can be thoroughly developed that takes into account all of the relevant elements, from technical and aesthetic considerations, to sustainability and budget.

Environmental and Societal Considerations

Developing a concept in architecture must not only consider the physical and functional aspects, but also the environmental and societal implications of a project. The concept must take into account the existing environment, the climate and the cultural context of the site. This allows for a concept that is meaningful and harmonious with its surroundings and that actively works to improve the environment and the lives of people who will use the space.

Service Design and User Experience

In concept design, the architect must also consider the user experience and service design. How will the building be used? What kind of experience will the user have when they visit or move through the space? All of these must be taken into account when conceptualizing and designing a project. By considering user experience, the architect can use design to create a stimulating and meaningful experience that allows people to interact with the building in a meaningful way.


Developing a concept in architecture is a complex and creative process. While it begins with an idea or concept, the process involves much more than just the design of a structure. It requires research, ideation, and collaboration to create a concept that takes into account the historical and cultural context of the project, the user experience and service design, and environmental and societal considerations. Ultimately, concept design in architecture should strive to create a meaningful and memorable experience for those who will use and interact with a space.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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