'The challenge of architectural design lies in the task of resolving a wide variety of functional and aesthetic requirements (the problem) into a coherent, satisfying structure (the solution). The effort to resolve the varied requirements makes use of specific design elements by assembling the properties of these elements into a coherent whole.
Architectural design is the result of solutions carried out through a design process to solve the individual issues while at the same time resolving the global issue of the building proper. It is an intense and complex mix that involves all sections of this curriculum using the design elements defined herein to fulfill the purpose of the design.
Every design has a purpose or reason for its existence; otherwise there would be no point in the existence of the solution. The purpose of architectural design is to create the potential built solution to satisfy the purpose or need of the client. The tools used for the design methodology are these design elements and principles.
Architectural design provides solutions for the human existence. The apparent success of good design will be evident in the continued use of the structure for its intended purpose. In our ever-changing worlds, flexibility is a key component of design, allowing for multiple uses of the same structure over time. The ability to adapt is a key function of human survival; the same can be said relative to the survival of our built environment.
Architectural design principles are not neatly identifiable as "fixed parameters". The reality is, they are flexible. It remains the responsibility of the architect to interpret the client needs through the use of the intended principles; allowing for variation and abstraction as required to suit the intended solution.
Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose.
Design is a systematic process of organization and interpretation. The desire for order within our environment is a basic human characteristic. This process towards order can be traced in almost every cultural history wherein legend and myth detail the creation of our world, gods and civilization from the origins of chaos.
The assembly of order continues to dominate environmental design through the design of civilizations, civic planning, environmental controls and land management. Order can be found within smaller designations such as the grouping of like-minded persons into guilds, civic organization and clubs.
Architectural design is a component of the desire for order in the manner by which we choose to control our living environment; providing space for desired activities and establishing a place within the world itself.
Architectural design is the method of organizing materials and forms in a specific way to satisfy a defined purpose. Two key aspects of human involvement are contained in the design process. The first aspect relates to the architect, the second aspect relates to the user or participant of the solution.
The architect contributes to the process of creation through interpretation of the problem, inspiration in the design solution and originality stemming from personal style which defines the work as individual and unique. The user or participant contributes to the process by provision of a clearly defined set of needs as well as through the use of the completed structure, recognizing the aspects of architectural design that contribute to the success of the solution.
The Process of Design
Architectural design as a conscious act begins with a level of organization. The specific steps in the order of this organization vary on a personal level with each individual, however a general outline for the process involves:
- Definition of the project
- Analysis of the possibilities
- Definition of the specific problem
- Examination of the alternatives
- Selection of characteristics
- Production of the solution
- Clarifications/revisions to provide a final result.
The tools and devices used in the process of architectural design can be defined as either design elements or design principles. Design elements are those which can be defined as specific "parts" of a design solution. Design principles are those items which influence, direct or resolve the overall composition of the design elements.
Architectural design elements include:
Architectural design principles include:
As was noted earlier, these elements and principles work together to provide a final solution according to their respective influences. The impact of the final solution will depend as much on the individual elements and materials as it will on the manner by which the architect applies specific principles to the solution.
Architectural design as a creative artistic act sometimes requires defiance of established or accepted principles in order to achieve the desired result. These elements and principles noted are guidelines which, when used properly, may provide a satisfying result but they are neither flawless nor complete. The skill of the architect is found in the manner by which they apply aspects of design combined with artistic sensibility and vision. Application without interpretation or the personal sense of design is building, not architecture.
In the same way as the artist, trained in the basics of production and design, interprets to produce art, so the architect interprets to produce design. It is an interesting note that only a few persons untrained will attempt to be artists (painters, sculptor, mixed-media), yet a multitude of persons, having read a book or seen the latest design show, will provide architectural experience freely
The Concept of Space
Architectural design involves the practice of enclosing undefined space to serve a defined use or need. Architecture as an entity contributes to the richness, effectiveness and variety experience of human life within the spaces created.
There is sensation in every inch of it (Living Architecture), and an accommodation to every architectural necessity with a determined variation in arrangement, which is exactly like the related properties and provision in the structure of organic form.
The concept of undefined space is sufficiently vast to encumber the mind in limitless thought. Space stretching on outside our borders and world into infinity defies the imagination. It may be said that space exists in the absence of form. We do not begin to grasp the concept of space until it is enclosed by form.
Space as a psychological concept may be understood, though its influence on the mind can render lives unbearable. Claustrophobia is a psychological condition brought on by the fear of enclosure – the absence of space. Agoraphobia is a psychological condition brought on by the lack of enclosure – the fear of exposure in open spaces. These conditions are very real, existing in many persons relative to their specific environment and spatial arrangements.
The limits of space, the actual enclosure, are applied by the means of design to create enclosed spaces (voids) within the larger constructed solution. Design uses forms and shapes, creates a unique relationship between these elements and space, and provides the effect of positive or negative space.
A positive space is one that presents the enclosure, the actual form. It contains a measured volume of enclosure that is visual and tangible. A negative space is the void enclosed by the form. Negative spaces may be said to be the interior volumes of a design
The use of light provides an easy means to define positive and negative spaces. Positive spaces reflect light from their surfaces, negative spaces allow light to pass through undisturbed as there is no surface to reflect it.
Architectural design makes full use of positive and negative spaces to create the form punctuated by the voids that will define the shape and mass of a design solution.
These principles, a basic listing as there are others that may be defined through interpretation, work together to provide a final solution. The overall impact of the final solution will depend on the manner by which the architect applies specific principles to the solution.