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How Concept Design Leads to Architectural Evolution

By Maria Lorena Lehman — Get more articles like this sent to your email HERE.

‍Image Credit:  © Kovalenko | Fotolia

It is important to challenge yourself to create extraordinary architectural concept designs. You see, architectural concepts help to not only improve the results of your own project, but they also can work to pioneer and guide the architectural profession, emerging technologies, and new design processes. Much innovation is born during the concept design phase.

Of course, a forward-thinking architectural concept design can work wonders to advance your project beyond the rest. After all, it is during the concept design phase that your architectural design solution can tap into new and innovative occupant experiences. In other words, the concept design phase sets the foundation for how aesthetic, functional, and meaningful your architectural design will be. 

But what if your architectural concept design idea cannot be built yet?

The architectural concept design idea that is experienced through painting, modelling, 3D visualization, or another form of architectural representation is not lost. In fact, there are concept designs that cannot yet be built — perhaps because the technology has not yet been developed, the materials needed are not in existence yet, or the design tools needed to further detail the idea are not in existence yet. 

An architectural concept design solution that is forward-thinking and innovative can do its own part to pioneer paradigm shifts within the architectural profession. Thus, an architectural concept can influence an architectural era – even if it cannot be built at first. It is in the quest to build such an architectural concept that innovation is born.

To create a design concept that pushes architectural boundaries to new heights, you must challenge your own design mindset by asking the right questions of your own design process. For instance, what if you could switch design tools to help you think about your design problem and its solution in an entirely new way? Or what if you could redefine the very functions that will occur within your environment by developing a concept design that uses technology or materiality in new ways? Perhaps your concept design can harmonize and represent nature in ways never experienced before.

An architectural concept design is your window by which to advance the architectural discipline. It is also your window by which to advance your own body of work. As your concept blooms from an architectural idea to a realized architectural experience, know that the time it takes to go from idea to built form is very important. This is where innovation occurs, either over short periods or long eras. 

Your architectural concept design provides a window into innovation. Thus, you should challenge yourself to create extraordinary design concepts that solve for your design problem in ways that allow you, your work, and the architectural discipline to progress. Evolution is key at all scales.

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Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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