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What is a concept ?

A concept is an idea, a theory or notion, but in architecture we could also describe a concept as ‘an approach’ to the design. When we think of an architectural concept, we think of an abstract idea, one that is unchanging throughout the design process. This is not necessarily the case, a concept can be linked to many factors, and can evolve as the design grows. Architectural concepts are the designers way of responding to the design situation presented to them. They are a means of translating the non-physical design problem into the physical building product. Every project will have critical issues, central themes or problem essences, and the general issues of designing a building can be approached in a number of ways.

Definition. When referring to architecture; a concept is an idea, thought or notion that forms the backbone and foundation of a design project and one that drives it forward. It becomes the force and identity behind a projects progress and is consistently consulted throughout every stage of its development.

Approaches to the design

There are several areas the designer may focus on at the early stages of design that will begin to inform the concept and direction. These areas may be drawn upon throughout the project, weaved into one another, as the project develops. The approaches can be categorized as:

  • Functional
  • Material
  • Contextual
  • Conceptual
  • Formal
  • Collaborative
  • Philosophical

 

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