Concept design (or outline design) requires that the architect grapples with the real issues of form and bulk, scale and mass and the generic appearance of a building within its surrounding urban context, resolving and encapsulating the principles of the scheme. Concept design implies an idea, or range of ideas, a development approach, a guiding concept and a design intent. It resolves the issue of ‘what’ and ‘how much’ and begins to set the stage for understanding ‘how’. Concept design explores the resolution of the brief, implied or set out in the feasibility and assessment stage. The conceptual approach places the quantum of development intelligently on the site.
It is vital that the architect and the client agree the objectives and outcomes of the concept design process in advance. Concept design can be simply a series of sketches, ideas and explorations, or it can go into considerable depth, including design illustrations, indicative plans, sections and elevations and 3D models of a development approach.
Concept design can also be an iterative process where, through a series of design meetings, the architect modifies the concept, adjusting and narrowing down a broad-brush approach towards a more precise, well-illustrated concept, capable of being meaningfully discussed, not only with the client, but also with external partners, planners, engineers and other interested parties.
As a result, the architect’s time commitment often gets stretched trying to satisfy a client’s evolving requests as they better understand their own project and the architectural concept. This is why it is so important that both the client and the architect understand and agree the deliverables required, the work involved and the fees and other costs that will be charged.
Concept design is seldom a ‘Eureka!’ moment where a single idea pops into the head which resolves everything. It is virtually always a series of iterative explorations, a testing of ideas, resulting in a satisfactory resolution of often conflicting criteria, whether aesthetic, organisational, technical, financial, social or contextual. A successful concept design is one that fulfils most of the criteria that the client, the architect and the team judge to be important.
A concept design may be summarised in a few simple sketches – but those sketches will have implicit behind them much prioritisation, evaluation, team and client discussion and decisions. Synthesising concept design proposals is a creative process. Earlier there was a problem to be solved and a possible diagrammatic approach, now a possible solution or design direction exists; a concept has been captured, so the project is able to move forward.
It is here that the plan form, volumetry, architecture and overall shape of the building is set, not in great detail, but captured in essence. The concept design should encapsulate the spirit, form, principal aesthetic and technical principles of the overall project within its urban context , the real constraints of its site and local legislation.
From this concept design, there is sufficient information, either described or implicit, to prepare a generic cost overview based on floor areas, use types, likely forms of construction, facade treatments, parking, access, building performance criteria and technical systems. Concepts for external site treatments and landscape may also be included.
With the recent increase in emphasis on early public participation in the design process, the material generated may also serve as the basis for informal community consultations. Consultations may be organised by the client and architectural team in coordination with the local authority, and provide valuable feedback prior to the formal public scrutiny of a planning application.
Concept design can be undertaken on a time-charge basis, as a fixed fee or as part of a full architectural services contract. In each case the fee basis should be agreed with the client before committing to significant amounts of work. Architects are often asked to prepare a concept on fee & on the understanding that they will be nominated as the architect later if the concept is accepted and pursued. This should not be resisted. Concept design is a valuable service and should be properly remunerated.
Concept Design MEP
Design brief and identify all ambiguities. The team will also obtain all the client requirements, local standards and regulations, project’s planning restriction and international standards. Key MEP personnel will be selected to conduct a meeting to gain further insight of the project and agree on all the above mentioned items. Review of planned MEP systems, plant allocation and preliminary layouts for compliance with the· design intent Formulate all the expected MEP challenges that will be faced in the project and devise a plan of how· these challenges will be addressed. Ensure that the MEP plan is in full compliance with the authorities. Discuss project challenges with· the authorities and devise a plan on how will the authority requirements be met. Prepare the project’s initial estimation of loads and utilities, including potential interface locations· requirements Prepare MEP concept design report that includes a general description of the project’s MEP system· and equipment, the preliminary load estimation, initial space planning and conceptual layouts.
DELIVERABLES: Concept Design Reportü Projected drawing listü Outlined options and alternatives as appropriate to meet the design briefü Identification of notional space requirements and major plant selection as requiredü