Architectural Design Process

The process of designing a building, space or structure typically consists of these design phases. It is important to understand and remind yourself of these phases, to bear in mind exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. And it does take time.


Remember that while the information and decisions made in one of these phases / stages forms the basis of the subsequent stages, design is seldom a linear a process. Instead, one typically moves back and forth between the phases, allowing ideas from more detailed designs to influence and modify the overall design direction previously established.

Furthermore, in practice these phases often blend into one another.

Programming Phase

Programming is the activity of determining the “program”, or set of needs that a building needs to fulfill.

Schematic Design Phase

After establishing the program for a project, the focus in the architectural design process shifts from what the problems are to how to solve those problems. During schematic design, the focus is on the “scheme”, or overall high-level design. Here, minor details should be ignored to instead focus on creating a coherent solution that encompass the project as a whole.

Design Development Phase

During the design development phase of the architectural design process, the scheme is refined into the final design. In previous phases, the focus has been on the project as a whole. During Design Development, in becomes important to give individual attention to each aspect, each space and each detail of the project.

Here is where you’ll make decisions like choosing between granite or quartz countertops or start making even smaller decisions such as choosing white granite instead of black.

Construction Document Phase

At this stage of the architectural design process, the focus shifts from design to communicating the design and providing all information necessary for constructon.

You may not hear from your architect for weeks while they turn their sketches and preliminary drawings into the documkents that will be used by the contractor and subcontractors to build your home. Every detail gets considered at this point and every attempt is made to incorporate any possible questions into the drawings before they arise.

From here the final documents will be sent out to additional specialists like structural and mechanical engineers so they can make sure to make sure you home will function properly; as well as places like landscape architects to make sure you get maximum curb appeal.

Page Last Updated On June 22, 2018 by Scott Jenkins