10 ways to enhance Concept Development Skills for an Architecture Student

First question which comes across any Architecture student when one is asked to design a space is: What should be the Concept? And from where one should derive it? And moreover, will the teacher approve of it? This article is written for students to help them develop and articulate ideas and concepts.


Context of the Product/Space

The first set of ideas come from studying the nearby spaces and the areas where that product is expected to be placed. How does one want to relate their product within an existing space? One will find some inspiration from the surroundings. For example, Ornamentation will increase in a house placed next to a temple.


Varanasi Street Scene

Expected User’s personality

The client’s personality also gives designer some very important clues about the concept. For example, if client wants a calm space, one can think of colors and environment which makes one calm like a wooden deck and beach. Then that environment becomes the concept of design.


Wooden deck with beach mattress over the sea


Historical reference

One can also derive concepts by taking examples from history for expressing certain needs of the client. For example, if the client wants luxurious and rich furniture, one might take inspirations from Baroque and Rococo movements which are known for luxury and ornamentation.

a view to a baroque church ceiling


Often times, client comes up with unique needs like love for bikes, obsession for metallic objects, mud houses etc. These things give a designer a scope for developing a witty or smart design rather than being literal about them. For example, the love of bikes can translate into design by making windows like cog wheels used in gears in bikes.


Rusty cogs


The concepts need not be derived only from external sources but also from internal sources like intuition developed when seen the space where one is expected to design. The space itself has a identity, like a riverfront site will have an identity different from a site near a park. Intuition or gut feeling will give away certain clues and concepts to a designer.



One of the most relied source of various concepts is Culture. Culture of a space gives various clues to an architect, whether he/she chooses to follow them or not follow them. One can take direct inspiration from the existing culture or one can interpret the culture according to contemporary times. For example, if one chooses to design in Varanasi, one can take inspiration from Banarasi Saree or one can simply take the patterns in the saree, modify the size and shape of the motif in the patterns and convert it into a modern wallpaper.



One can simply have concepts which are abstracts of complex thoughts. Abstracts means something which is still an idea or in thoughts. For example, abstract thought could be fluidity and it can be translated using forms which are organic and flow smoothly rather than having a rigid form.



When one observes any similarity between two objects, one can compare one object with the other and find his/her concept in that comparison. For example, a residence can be compared to a womb as both protect the life within it. Womb becomes a metaphor and concept then.



The concept can also be dreamy and poetic. For example, Space designed according to a music piece or an artwork.

Based on symbols

Last, but not the least, symbols associated with that space can also be used as a concept. For example, plan of a church is a Christian cross. A water droplet can be a symbol for a house to be a made near water.

Twilight of Islam and Christianity

Ar. Rohit Bharti

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