Tips & Tactics: How to Develop a Design Concept

Tips & Tactics: How to Develop a Design Concept

The Midnight Charette is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by architectural designers David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features a variety of creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions. A wide array of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes provide useful tips for designers, while others are project reviews, interviews, or explorations of everyday life and design. The Midnight Charette is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina discuss design and architecture concepts and how to develop them. The two cover processes for developing a concept, what makes one concept better than another, choosing between different ideas, researching to strengthen a concept, if concepts are needed for all projects, examples of concepts, mistakes to avoid, and using the same concept for different projects, and more. Enjoy!


Learning about concepts in architecture and design school. (00:00)

The misuse of formal ideas as project concepts in architecture and allowing the concept to ‘come to you’. (10:00)

How research can help you find a design concept. Understanding design as problem-solving. (16:15)

“The research process is conceptual. It is an exercise in design. You can’t divorce the two.” (01:45:10)

Translating research into architectural form. Understanding research as detective work and finding hierarchy between different ideas. (27:30)

Do all projects need a concept? An example of a project with more important and less important ideas. (32:45)

When is a concept is a good concept? Projects that have a social, political, and formal position. (41:18)

Using the same concept for different projects and different levels of concepts. (47:28)

Validating a concept. Applying the concept throughout the project. Changing concepts part way through the design process. (50:28)

Diagramming as a way to translate research and the danger of overusing them. (55:45) (01:18:10)

An example of an absurd concept. Being objective in design and adhering to a logic even if the final design is not what ‘you wanted’. (01:01:33)

Finding connections between program and elements that have nothing in common. (01:20:00)

Do the end-users need to understand and know the concept of the building? Do concepts matter to anyone else other than the architect/designer? (01:30:15)

Conclusion/Summary: Developing a method for finding a concept, doing research, writing, getting over blocks, and having the right mentality. (01:37:30)

About this author
Cite: The Second Studio Podcast. "Tips & Tactics: How to Develop a Design Concept" 25 Jul 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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