Do You Design Architecture "Beyond the Box"?
TRANSLATING DRIVERS THROUGH YOUR DESIGN PROCESS
As an environmental designer, how do you keep your creative edge sharp? In other words, what do you do to keep your design process fresh and innovative as it pulls from your experience, research, and skillset? When doing this as an architect, your creativity will be ever-expanding and your ability to think “beyond the box” will grow evermore genius.
Developing the ability to evolve your design process is critical not only to your architectural brand, but also to the clients and building occupants your design projects serve. By formulating design concepts that push boundaries, you eliminate getting stuck or plateauing as you improve your design thinking and design doing from project to project.
Of course, as emerging trends and market needs drive many architectural practices, it is in how you as a designer are able to properly translate such factors through your design process that will yield success. Translation of such factors into a successful environmental design occurs when you are aligned with a design process that dynamically evolves – particularly as emerging trends, market needs, and your own skillsets and toolsets change.
THREE WAYS TO CREATE “BEYOND THE BOX”
- STUDY CREATIVITY: Learn about what makes a creative mind, and how to hone your creative muscle. Also, study the creative process of others for more techniques to try to enhance your own process. The goal is not to copy another’s final output, but to instead learn from their process and to make it your own. By understanding more about how creativity works, you will gain insight into how you think, why you think in certain ways, and how to challenge your thinking to unlock your creative genius. I invite you to read books on creativity, journal about your own creative process, and analyze your creative patterns (to strengthen what works and improve what hinders).
- MEDIUM MASTERY: Gain mastery in a particular medium, while also pushing boundaries in that medium by working in different mediums. While the latter sentence sounds contradictory, it actually makes a lot of sense. For instance, it will help your creative process to gain mastery with your desired design tool; yet, to quickly overcome plateaus, it is beneficial to explore your design questions in other mediums that will inform the question itself, and will help you see your original mastered design tool differently. This calls for a design tool “reframe”, where you learn your design tool as deeply as possible, and then widen your understanding of that tool by pulling from other tools. As a result, you will see your design tools more creatively, and your resulting designs will push boundaries because they originate from a design process that did this as well.
- QUESTION PROMPTS: Make a creativity deck of index cards where you write a question on each card to push your design concept even further. On the surface this sounds simple, but what if the questions were very targeted at your design challenge, or were designed to get you to think and create “beyond the box”. For example, ask a question that starts with “What if…”, or unlock a limitation to free your mind by asking a question like “How would nature solve this problem?”. By filling a stack of index cards with such questions and then writing, sketching, or modeling your answers, your creative process is bound to take a quantum leap.
THREE WAYS TO CREATE “BEYOND THE BOX”
The latter three techniques are really provided here to give you stepping stones into evolving your creative process; and thus, your architectural concept design results. The most important part of advancing the way you design, is to develop how you “listen” to your design process and “see” what it is creating. By noticing your creativity, with all of its strengths and weaknesses, you are best able to takes steps to evolve and refine how you work. Ultimately, you may find your most creative and successful design solutions take less time to create, and lead to a deepening of breakthroughs for your own practice, and for the design discipline.