Create Better Architecture Concepts – A Case Study of Winning Competition Entries | 097

Create Better Architecture Concepts

5 Tips to Create Better Architecture Concepts from winning competition entries in the Architecture Competitions Yearbook for 2020

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Create Better Architecture Concepts


0:21 Keep it simple.

3:24 Use diagrams and illustrations

4:43 Ideas and reasoning before visualisation

6:03 Tell a story

8:08 Put in more effort

9:50 Bonus tip

10:11 About the book

  1. Keep your architecture concepts simple.

You can have a complex architectural project, but don’t overcomplicate your architecture concept. If you cannot explain your architectural ideas and concept so that your audience can understand it, it’s pointless. You architecture concept needs clarity and simplicity from which your architectural design decisions can branch off of. A word my teacher told me in my second year of architecture school was ‘parsimonious’. This words means ‘RESTRAINED’, ‘SPARING’ OR ‘FRUGAL’. If you architecture concept is parsimonious, it has restraint to the complexity of it. You are being sparing with your ideas and not letting it get too complicated. Keep your architecture concepts simple.


  1. Use diagrams and illustrations to demonstrate your architecture concepts in words.

Even really simple drawings. By illustrating your architectural ideas and concepts into quick sketches, diagrams and drawings, it allows you to further simplify the complexity of your concept. Drawing diagrams and sketches enables you to articulate your own thoughts and architectural ideas from words to drawings (the aim of an architect) and makes it easier for your audience to understand it. Even the sketchiest of sketches should be used as diagrams or drawings to convey your architecture concept. Parsimonious articulation of your ideas is the key for a strong architecture concept.


  1. Set the foundations of your concept first before visualising them in final form.

Your ideas and reasoning behind your projects come first. The architectural concept phase is a phase that once you finish and move on, you cannot reverse. Especially in the real world, once you finish the concept, the further you bury into documenting that concept, the harder it is to return to those original ideas and change them and the more costly to the client doing so would be. All architectural projects require a strong foundational concept before progressing. Spend the time to develop an architecture concept that works.


  1. Tell a story through your articulation of your architecture concept.

Share a story of how you got your project to where it is. Get those you’re trying to convince (the teacher, client) to become emotionally invested in your architectural ideas. By telling a story through your architecture concept, you can bring the client/teacher along a journey and get them on the same page as you. A lot of students go straight to explaining their ideas in functional terms. Consider telling a narrative through your architecture to explain your concept.


  1. Put in more effort to your architectural concepts.

This one seems silly. Put in more effort. However, that is the key theme I found across all the successful projects with strong architecture concepts. More effort produces better results. What I’ve noticed over my last 4 years studying architecture is that it is difficult to put effort into something you are not passionate about or invested in. To get invested in your architecture projects – your concepts – you need to make it yours. Take advice from others, look at inspiration from pinterest or Instagram. But, at the end of the day, your architecture concepts need to run on what fires you up. Your passion will result in more effort and time invested in your projects, and that shows. The best bit is that your passion rubs off on others. Teachers in architecture school aren’t looking for talent or skill, they’re looking for passion and effort. The students who have put in the work and have pushed themselves are the ones who get the best grades.

Resources Mentioned

Watch the full book review and further breakdown of winning projects:

Buy a copy of the book for yourself:

Further Watching

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