The discipline constantly escapes attempts to define it in absolute terms. However, a concept can be far more than a creative problemsolving device. The design process
Earlier in the chapter, we discussed the predictive optimism, enhanced perception, empirical invention and craft of the architect. This is why we are all fascinated by, and can engage with, architecture. It can unite several competing demands into an overall idea to prevent the building becoming a cacophony of disparate elements. These qualities compel the architect to inject an idea, and therefore meaning, into their architecture. This meaning should communicate to the building’s occupants on many levels and elevate their experience of using it over a long period of time. The architect needs an idea to help make the conflicting questions and requirements of the brief understandable and answerable. This enables a closer mutual understanding while the proposal is being developed. Continuing the example: ‘People enter the black box of the auditorium and bask in the glow of the projection. It can be the story that the architect tells to provoke images in their own mind as well as the minds of tutors, clients and collaborators. Crucially, a strong concept is one that will resonate with everyone who uses the building because it has translated from idea to meaning. They cannot solve complex architectural problems without first asking, ‘What is the problem?’ The search for meaning within our surroundings is a central human concern.