As an aspiring architect, there are a lot of design tips you may have heard. Deciding which ones are the most important can be overwhelming. In this article, we’ll go over the 5 best ones to get you designing like an architect! We’ll break down the elements of concept, alignment, scale, proportions, and finally, details. We’ll show you an example of each one so you can see real-life scenarios of good and bad examples. Let’s get started!
1. Develop a Concept
A concept is likely one of the first things you will learn about in architecture or design school. It serves as the basis for all of your design decisions. It can be literal or abstract. For example, if you use a literal apple as your concept, your building may look like an apple. If you abstract the apple, your design may focus on how an apple is formed or grown. As you can see with the design of the Seattle Public Library, the form is intriguing but also functional. The design was based around arranging core components of the library in the most logical way, and the form was then generated from the interior layout. The most ideal library would be completely linear to easily locate books, but that isn’t very practical. The architects (OMA) of this library decided to make a ramp that travels up all of the floors instead. This is a great example of how a concept informed the entire design of a structure.
2. Focus on Alignment
The second, and possibly the most important of design tips, is alignment. The first image represents an example of poor alignment. You can see by just being off by a small amount, the alignment of the ceiling and walls creates a bit of an eyesore. If each point were to come together at the same point, it would create a symmetrical and intentional alignment.
The next image shows an example of good alignment. The portals line up with the center of each arch, which also lines up with circles in the tile floor. Above the portal, you can also see a pointed arch that lines up with the center. The repetition of elements and precision creates a beautiful and intentional design.