Architecture Short Course: How to Develop a Design Concept

Architecture Short Course: How to Develop a Design Concept

All architecture begins with a concept. If you’re struggling to find one, curious about what one is, or wondering how architects begin their projects; this short course will walk you through the process I use and some of the techniques I rely on to develop architectural concepts all illustrated with one of my residential projects.

Design is a dialogue, and the concept ensures you have something to talk about. In this video I discuss the precise steps I take when beginning each project and how those steps lead me to an architectural concept.

Before we can develop the concept, we have to first understand the practical constraints. My design process begins only after gathering and assessing all the given parameters for a project. Now, this primarily consists of three types of information. There’s information derived from the site – things like: local climate, the prevailing winds, the solar aspect, vegetation, neighboring structures, the site’s history, and any unique liabilities or opportunities. The site of course also comes along with legal frameworks for development, which describe where and what we can and can’t build.

The second type of information we’ll gather is from the client. Every client has a set of cultural beliefs and preconceptions, preferences and agendas. Of course, we’ll want to determine their budget, and understand the personality traits and organizational politics which might also shape the design. The client and the building type together determine what architects call, “the program” which is essentially a detailed accounting of all the spaces the building will contain.

And the third type of information I gather is related to the building typology – is it a museum, a home…or a school for example? To learn about a building typology we often conduct an analysis of notable or relevant historical precedents. We want to know the essential problems these types of structures grapple with. Understanding the history of the archetype allows us to approach a problem from a fresh perspective.

All of this is necessary information that we collect for every project. This inventory can also serve as the progenitor for the design concept – our seed idea. And, rather than shunting creativity, these constraints often incite the creative process.

Concept Inspirations Discussed:
– Site
– Client
– Narrative
– Materials
– Structural
– Mainifestos
– Formal

As with a good film, the setting, the characters, the cinematography, and the plot all conspire to make it what it is. It’s the experience you’ll recall rather than the concept per se. Sure, the concept sets the film in motion and it’s the starting point for all that follows. But this concept – the one or two-line description – can’t possible capture the richness and depth of the finished film…or in our case the architecture. Yet without it, the work is unfulfilling and so it should be clear that the concept is necessary for all our work as architects.

// GEAR I USE //

* Canon 70D:

* Canon 24mm f2.8 Lens:
* Canon 40mm f2.8 Lens:

* Rode VideoMic Pro (hotshoe mtd.):
* ATR-2100 USB (dynamic mic):

* Prismacolor Markers:
* Timelapse Camera:
* AutoCAD LT:
* SketchUp PRO:
* HP T120 Plotter:
* Adobe CC Photography (Photoshop/Lightroom) Plan:

* Architect + Entrepreneur Startup Toolkit:

Please watch: “Making a Site Model – The Outpost Project”



  • 30X40 Design Workshop
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    See these principles in practice on a REAL project:
    and for part 2 of the Architecture Short Course:

  • Fred Jamison
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    The Owner hated my Alien Spaceship Design concept… now what?

  • Lourdes Danushka
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    YES YOURE TUTORIALS ARE GREAT! There actually clear to understand and inspire. Its realy good to see a project unfold and how you come about any obstables super helpful. Lourdes from Sydney AU keep them up!!

  • Raja Wali Muhammad Arfat
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    How anyone im a student of architecture can you understand my design process my contact nmr 03330667527

  • Andy Sarimos
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    very informative! ty

  • RB Z
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply


  • shyam anand
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Very clear xplaination ….. Of a Concept….. Very use for students❤🔥

  • Sher Khan
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Where is this place that you work where is this island

  • Jhon Banico
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    I learned a lot from this video, really helpful in my architecture student journey😉

  • Amanya
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Can we have PDF for this🙌

  • Sarah Hunter
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    I’m an interior architect and have not been practicing officially for a few years but I have several projects that have popped up and the serendipity of your video in my home page suggestions was super. A really clear, succinct summary of designing has refreshed my memory on my process really, really efficiently. I am ever so grateful.

  • katherandefy
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    The BIG reference is… for me… spot on. Subscribed. I am not sure how but I may have time to train and work in architecture, not sure if as a design drafter or an architect. It’s a lot to think through. Thanks for this.

  • ElusivEnigma
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    I'm not even doing architecture and I still learned something new to apply to my art work. Thank you

  • Jeremy Thomas
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    So amazingly inspiring. Thanks so much!

  • smaeschli
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    This is brilliant, and a delight to watch – thank you!

    I've been informing myself about IT architecture in the past few weeks, and for some reason the algorithm gods thought this video was related.

    SW design involves thinking about things like:
    – the architectural precedents for systems of this type
    – regulatory and budget constraints
    – how users will need to navigate in the system, what public and private spaces need setting up
    – what the application landscape looks like that the system will be integrated into
    – what platform it will run on
    – how it will interact with other systems
    – the technology stack that will be used to build it…

    Turns out – the algorithm wasn't wrong. Many of the principles you presented are very much applicable to the design of software.

  • Joshna Battu
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Yes brother I liked your video.. let's make your video worth first I'll work on my concept and once done I'll give a big thumbs up also share my friends.. thank you

  • max Sturman
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Thank you. This video has reminded me how critical the process is and, most importantly, how to develop the design concept in a manner that clients, uneducated in Architecture, can better comprehend and invest in!

  • Max Hutchinson
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Thank you, this video has helped me understand and develop my own data and software architecture principles and designs… concepts..

  • Derek Perez
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    you're dope….great stuff.

  • Xyra _A
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Help me to write my reflection in this video please

  • madeeha Khan officials
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    I wanna be architect, kindly make more videos about the concept of architecture, it's helpful too

  • Fatoom Gierdien
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Thank You MUCH " Design Workshop" for Your Highly Effective Videos. Much love from Cape Town.

  • Lea
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    Asians at 11 watching this video like-

    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply


  • Mohamed Fazith
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply


  • Wxmza
    Posted at 23:03h, 18 January Reply

    im everywhere

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