How to approach architectural design?

What comes to your mind when you think of the architectural design? Complex blueprints, extensive paperwork, bustling work sites full of people? In truth, Architectural design is an idea that ponders over the elements and components of a structure taking into consideration space and elements to create an articulate and purposeful structure. As Le Corbusier said, “Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light.”

As in any field, there are numerous ways to approach an idea or concept; it is the same for architectural design approaches as well. The approach can be sustainable, experimental, practical or a design that can integrate the concepts of all the three.

Concepts are the antithesis of notions that make no pretense about being correct, on the other hand, a concept is focused on the intentions and goals of the project and. Concept is an art of bringing things together in ways not thought of before, this is as most designers, artists, architects etc. would agree is 10% inspirations and 90% hard work.

As the great Aristotle said it “We are what we repeatedly do, Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

The approach to a great architectural design is from the concept. Taking into consideration the purpose of the project, the sustainability and the practicality of it, creating a design would be the best approach to any architecture. How do we do this?

The client is the best judge of what he needs, that is the priority. Everything else can be designed around it. A sustainable design takes into consideration the environment and working on cutting down the negative impacts of the structure to a minimum. This can be done in many ways like by best utilizing the sunlight to light the spaces, harvesting and recycling of the water resources to the maximum, reducing CO2 emissions by using sustainable materials like clay etc.

The practical approach to architectural design would debatably be the most widely used strategy as the name states, its practical. In this approach, the most efficient design consisting of practical materials are used in a traditionalistic strategy. This makes the approach most cost-effective.

An ideal design approach should appeal to all classes of people, layman and specialist alike. It should provide an exterior expression and an interior experience. The elements of the design should consist of factors like function, form, material, structure, lighting, ventilation, socio-cultural factors, experiential, meaning and philosophy. All these aspects can be explored in further detail to get a detailed understanding of the project.

An issue-based approach is also considered where the primary aim of the project is to resolve the impending current problem or a site issue through the design. This approach focuses on the problem or the functionality that the architectural design will focus on. The approach can also be contextual or conceptual where the focus is more on the aspects of the design that are more background and theoretically centric.

As I have stated in the beginning, the best approach to architectural design is not engraved in stone. Any approach that tends to address the purpose primarily and focus on aspects. In the words of Augustus W. N. Pugin – “In pure Architecture, the smallest detail should have a meaning or serve a purpose.” Any combination with the purpose served, aesthetically beautiful and environmentally positive would be a great approach toward a good architectural design and toward a better society.

“Nothing in this world is more simple and more cheap than making cities that provide better for people.” – Jan Gehl