Design Concept Development

The design process can be daunting and challenging, who often find it difficult to find a direction in their design – whether clients or new designers. They constant question is, ‘what is your concept?’ and that is when the major point of discussion begins.

In this article, let’s have a look at the architectural concepts and how it fits and streamlines with the design process. A concept is basically an idea, a theory or notion, but in architecture we could also describe a concept as ‘an approach’ to the design and the process.

Whenever we think of architectural concepts, we think of an abstract idea, one that is static throughout the design process. This is not necessarily the case, a concept can be linked to many factors, and can develop as the design grows.

Architectural concepts are the designer’s way of replying to the design situation presented to them in the design brief. They are a means of interpreting the non-physical design problem into the physical building creation.

There are several areas the designer may focus on at the early stages of design that will begin to notify the concept and direction. These areas may be drawn upon throughout the project, interwoven into one another as soon as the project progresses.


Should we consider the design with function at the head of our minds? Does the project have more essential for the functional elements rather than the aesthetic presence of the building? There are certainly some types of buildings that we would make function high up on our priority list. For instance, a residence will have quite particular functional requirements, or if designing a hotel we would want to ensure that the building can be used effectively.


By focusing on a specific material, there is a focus on particular forms of construction, thus creating a type of presence organically.

Perhaps we select a material approach based on our site context (depending on geography), which suggests a chronological use of a particular material, which we want to use in a more innovative way in the building’s exterior as well as interiors. By selecting vernacular and local materials, it will give the clients a sense of comfort and familiarity, whilst also giving a thumbs up to the natural surroundings and environmental benefits of sourcing locally.


A contextual approach to our concept will look majorly at the context of the site and surroundings, the antique features of the area, the people that occupy the area. After all, all the architecture is for people. With this type of concept in our mind, we design again from our prescribed site analysis while exploring the data we have collected about the site, both physical as well as nonphysical.

Every project should have an element of a contextual approach, as every design should consider its context, site, and surroundings. Some designs may focus more on this than other aspects, and some may take this as the most important factor in design.


A conceptual approach to a design is looking at the idea of conceptual architecture. This indicates that every part of the project revolves around the concept. The singular focus of the design is about the idea, rather than a sequence of approaches and processes. Conceptual architecture is occasionally never built, but rather designed as a form of thought affront, exploration of ideas.


A formal approach to design looks at drawing on the formal language of architecture to develop a concept. We look at architecture from the classical period to enlighten our approach to expanding the formal rules of our design. The classical orders are one of the most primitive systems of architectural language, which give style to proportion, scale, and form.

Design Solution

Your concepts and solutions will begin to build as you discover the various factors required in your design and the values and ideas you can come up with. Hopefully, these tips and points will help you to develop your concepts in design and give you more certainty in presenting your designs.

Written by: Sardor Utabekov