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sketch drawing on a paper, according to the architectural concepts

7 Amazing Buildings in the World: The Inspiring Architectural Concepts

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For me, the thing that is so interesting about famous architects is their special design language, which is known as "architectural concepts.” In other word, architects try to describe their design purpose using architectural concepts. Several things could be determined as a design inspiration, such as nature, wind blowing, snow, geometric shapes or, even a dance of a girl and so on.

It can be according to the architect's creativity and ability and does not follow a set of rules of thumb. It might get a little blurry when it comes to how architectural concepts should be.

But one thing is for sure; a proper architectural concept is not just a complex idea for design; rather it is a way to create a home or any structure as an efficient tool that should elegantly provide the necessary tools for proper utilization and fulfilling the user's needs.

Also, a good concept will reverberate throughout your design, and it depends on the information of site, client and typology, so now you can understand the reason of Le Corbusier’s (French-Swiss architect) famous sentence: “A house is a machine for living in.” Today I bring you 7 example of famous structures with inspiring design concepts to clarify the subject. Let’s get down to it.

drawing on a sketch paper as a primary steps of architectural concepts of a project

a view of cliff house above open water, hanging off the cliff's edge

1. Cliff House

Designer: Modscape

A client in Australia asked architects to design his dream home above open water, hanging off the cliff's edge.

Cliff house is a five-story modular home which is not one for those scared of heights, or afraid of water, and it clings to the side of a cliff in this conceptual design by Modscape.

Prefabrication specialists conceived this precarious five-story abode for a client that was looking into development possibilities for parcels of coastal land in Australia.

This kind of design (modular) is a theoretical response to project clients who have come close to Modscape to explore design options for building modular homes (in Australia) on extreme parcels of coastal land.

It is an architectural design inspired by the way barnacles cling to the hull of a ship; the architectural concepts were developed to hang off the side of a cliff as opposed to sitting on top of it.

The structure is visualized as a natural extension of the cliff face rather than an addition to the landscape, creating a perfect connection with the ocean.

2. The Shell and the Rock

Designer: Zaha Hadid

On a high plateau approximately 350 meters above sea level, north of the old town of Dubrovnik, located in Croatia, is a piece of the property comprised of 430 hectares set aside for a golf and spa resort.

The two villa concepts are distinctively named Rock and Shell in accordance to their inspirations and overall appearance. Both options contain the three-level structure, keeping a low profile that rides the terrain rather than being obtrusive. Zaha Hadid designed these great villas in Croatia for an exclusive golf and spa resort.

White angles and curves wrap around exterior terraces complete with private decks, swimming pools and beautiful views toward the Adriatic Sea. It has seven bedrooms which were inspired by natural elements found in the nearby landscape; karst topography and shell structures line this part of Croatia’s coastline.

3. Pole House

Designer: Konrad Wójcik

The project is a four-story structure outside the city on a single pole covering in solar panels and supported by a central column and comprises living spaces for two people.

This home also features a heat pump extracting more energy from the ground as well as a bio digester to manage waste. One of the architectural concepts of this project was to build a house with zero impact on the environment. (Sustainable architecture) Inspired by the shape of the surrounding trees, south-facing facades are clad with photovoltaics, while a slender triangular window grants picturesque views across the surrounding wilderness.

Wójcik’s architectural concepts for a sustainable forest retreat were designed with a small footprint — both environmentally and physically. Also, the approach of pole design was green architecture or sustainable architecture as you read above.

a view of four-story pole house in the winter season, surrounded by snow

4. Time Travelers House

Designer: Tolgahan Güngör - Client: Hover Challenge - Ronen bekerman

Tolgahan Gangor made Time Traveler's design for his client, Ronen Bekerman. This mysterious house appears to employ the cantilever in an extraordinary manner, which is one of the great features in architecture. This house appears to be held in place with chains in tension as if it might float away at any moment.

The angular, obsidian-colored abode looks like something from a sci-fi movie, which makes the function of its main internal space all the more fitting: If one were to time-travel into the future, perhaps this is the kind of architecture we would find in forests across the globe.

: Time Travelers House in the heart of a green jungle

5. Columbia University's Roy and Diana, Vagelos

Designers: Diller Scofidio and Renfro

The Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center, located in the United States, is a 14-story building with "frit ceramic-glass" facade. The "frit patterns" are baked onto the glass facade to better use of natural light (sunlight), it’s an incredible option for students who spend a lot of time there.

architectural concepts of the Columbia University's Roy and Diana

Diller and Renfro considered the key elements for designing a powerful building for covering users' needs.

Such as study bar, advanced clinical simulation center, (a specialized space for mock examination rooms, clinics, and operating rooms), a 275-seat flexible space used for some events such as screenings, lectures, and concerts, South and West Courts, outdoor spaces featuring local plant species, a flexible learning space with integrated screens and task lighting and etc.

This structure with 100,000 square feet of advanced medical and scientific and educational facilities makes a connection between social and academic spaces distributed along an interconnected vertical staircase.

The architectural concepts of “Vagelos University” were to creating a unique and stunning place for higher learning. At last, it has transformed into something that exceeds even those high expectations: a vibrant new hub for Columbia's Medical Center campus.

Columbia University's Roy and Diana with frit ceramic-glass facade

Columbia University's Roy, better use of natural light, an incredible option for students

6. Butterfly House

Designer: by Thiago Lima

Thiago Lima, the Brazilian artist who designed "Butterfly House," drew the first sketch of this house by drawing only half of a butterfly on a folded piece of paper, and Symmetry took care of the other half.

Natural lighting design and connection between house and nature are the main architectural concepts of this project. When one views it from the other side of a calm pool of water, the appearance of butterfly wings quite literally reflects the project’s connection with its natural surroundings.

Polished concrete used as the main material in the interior design of this house, but it appears as a soft, serene intervention within this rural setting. Thiago Lima finished the Butterfly project back in May 2013 and he believes that the most important part of this design was about unique elements and his own textures.

the view of butterfly wings of Butterfly House in green land

7. The Empire State skyscraper

Designer: Shreve, Lamb and Harmon

The Empire State tower is a 102-story Art Deco skyscraper, located in Manhattan, (New York City). Designed by Shreve, Lamb Harmon and completed in 1931, the building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and stands a total of 1,454 feet (443.2 m) tall, including its antenna.

Becoming the historic landmark structure of a town or a country is the essential architectural concepts, the Empire State Building is a landmark skyscraper in New York City, which was motivated by competition among two leading business magnates, Walter Chrysler (Chrysler Corporation) and John Jakob Raskob (founder of General Motors) for the challenge of tallest building. New York is called "The Empire State" because of its wealth and variety of resources.

The Empire State skyscraper, landmark skyscraper in New York City


Determining the proper architectural concepts for every project, depends on the site information (local climate, prevailing winds, solar aspect, vegetation, building context, and history), typology information (type of the building or structure, precedent study, and problems), and client information (beliefs, culture, agendas, politics, budget, politics, and detailed lists of rooms/spaces).

During the first architectural phase (schematic design), you will take the information you've gathered client and through your field surveys to create the best architectural concepts for your design.

The architectural concepts should be determined to solve users’ problem, for example, the best purpose (architectural concept) of creating parks between the sea and Coastal residential areas could be “reducing the flood energy,” because trees can prevent severe damages in flood path.

Above I listed some examples of design concepts in different projects, but I’m sure there are other examples out there. Aside from the examples, I made here, share other ones with us, and also, let me know your ideas about “how to determine architectural concepts”.

Kate Silva
Author: Kate Silva
I studied civil engineering at university. I have worked as a civil engineer and urban designer in many consulting and engineering companies. After a few years, I surprisingly got interested in architecture and design. I write on architecture and design, too. I hope you will enjoy my articles and I would kindly regard if you share your ideas and comments about them.

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