Idea is the result of knowledge, thinking, awareness and information found in designer's mind and is in direct relation with the world and perimeter surrounding him/her. Information acquired by senses from outside and come to the mind will be organized in thinking process and led to appearing of idea in case of presence of creativity. All phenomena such as buildings, a natural form, even a story or poem found in the world can operate as catalysts for cultivating idea in mind.
For an architect or designer, idea production process and concept formation are as the most important and effective stages in designing process. Searching and discovering new ideas and their embodiment in a graphic language which determines constancy and developing route of the project is more sensitive than other stages. It is exactly regarded as the most important stage in forming an artist's mind, creatively retelling processed information of the logical mind, and offering new solutions for some problems and questions.
Ideas are definite or imaginary thoughts originates from observations, perceptions and thoughts such as methods of buildings directing, positioning of a kitchen in a residential unit, use of air natural flow, value of energy and its saving, methods of dealing with the site, considering potentials and restrictions of project, locating project volumes in interchange, and coordination of site and architecture. Architect can use everything and everywhere, life daily objects, nature, different sciences, historical buildings and especially all that are present in program and site to create ideas.
Four Stages of Idea Production
At this stage, mind starts producing of creative ideas through referring to its resources (recognition, purification and information analysis) collected during a specific process at the previous stages. Four stages can be considered for idea production:
- Idea finding or creating
- Idea cultivating
- Idea selecting
- Concluding or returning to the first step
Idea Finding or Creating
Inspiration resources in idea production:
- Paying attention to concretes: Architectural works, natural figures and forms, arrangement of topography lines, project landscape, ecological problems (offering appropriate solutions), artists' works and comments (painters and sculptors)
- Conceptual dealing: Psychologically analyzing space, considering philosophical arguments and their structural function
- Use of artists' mind: In this case which can be at the same direction or accompany the mentioned discussions, the architect uses mental-conceptual sketches for finding new ideas. Designer sketches considering ideas (from previous stages) and spatial requirements of the project without activating of logical mind for thinking. Experiments demonstrate that continuing of these sketches gives full appearance to new ideas originating from the architect's unconscious mind or prepares structures with capability of ideas embodiment for the architect.
Example: At the stage of site analysis and volume locating and after studying technical and ecological aspects, the students are asked to sketch with an aesthetical view and purpose of deeply understand lines and structural capabilities of the site. As it can be observed, it is possible to access different structures in the third dimension in a trapezoid with developing and completing capability.
It should be remembered that principle foundations of project designing are based on analyzing and sketching of the project site. It is gradually completed with designing of the plan and project volume. Building designing has direct relationship with site and surrounding environment. Plan site designing should not be postponed to final stages of the project.
Most of us are sensitive to role of synthesizing in reaching unity and integrity in designing buildings and drawings. Unity is obtained in perimeter through aesthetic regulations, figures, patterns or specific details divided by elements which forms this environment. Knowledge of aesthetic system found in our drawings is developed through sketching and a similar sense of disciplinary is added to it.
This stage takes place through selecting the resulted ideas, their adding, changing and synthesizing which lead to creating more complete and new ideas.
Designing process is not a definite linear one which a start and terminate point can be defined for it. At every stage, whether structure or concept, a creative mind can have innovative ways and methods. The produced ideas do not act abstractly and without changing; rather they are active part of an architect's mental process. Considering specified time and frame is not possible for idea production. New ideas may appear until final moments of project completion.
Ideas selection and their correspondence with the collected information done mostly by the brain left hemisphere. It should be remembered that "writing" and "drawing" of ideas and the resulted outcomes is very important at every stage of designing process, and offering mental diagrams as words, sentences or sketches are appearance of idea evolution process and make changes, synthesis of concepts and conclusion easier for the architects and their addressees.
Conclusion or Return to the First Stage
It is possible to repeat 4 stages of idea production. At each restart, we can reach novel thoughts in addition to idea completion and acquiring more skills. This is the same for whole of designing process diagram. Apparently complete ideas and thoughts should not prevent us from repeating.