Eugenia Basti
UX designer

My architectural design process.

The common ground of architecture engineering and UX design.

As an architect, I worked in teams that designed projects of different sizes and functions. From housing to retail, office spaces, and historical restorations. It taught me a holistic approach to the design and problem-solving skills.

I come from a background where the importance of research, definition, ideation, and readjustment according to feedback are really important.

You can read more about the similarities of UX design and architecture in my article on Medium.

Step 1: Understand what the user needs.
Oma | Square requirements investigation.

Oma | Square requirements investigation.

Research

The first part of the design process is all about research. Every project is unique and it is essential to understand the particularities, requirements, and perspectives of each site or building.

This step includes interview the client or stakeholders and depending on the nature of the project also a sample of the future users of the space. Then there is a focus on the future users need. Where the following questions are answered:

  • What is the future use of the space?

  • Who is the user of the space?

  • What do the users need to do in this space?

  • How can we help the users achieve their goals?

Then follows a thorough analysis of the site and factors like orientation, landscape, position in the urban network, proximity to other key role buildings, and access.

Furthermore, drawings of the existing situation are drafted to assess the extent of the interventions needed.

Step 2: Diverge | Brainstorm
Sketches of design intentions.

Sketches of design intentions.

Schematic design

This is the moment to put all the outcomes of the research on the paper. Roughly the design direction is defined and the general ides begin to have shape. This step includes:

  • Brainstorming

  • Mood boards

  • Sketches of design intentions

  • Physical models demonstrating volumes and design direction.

  • Zoning areas review

  • Concept presentation

Once the concept is developed there is a presentation scheduled to the clients/stakeholders to share the solution approach. Based on the feedback the team moves to the design development.

Step 3: Converge, solutions are ranked and the optimal one is developed further.
Design development.

Design development.

Design development

Processing the feedback of the previous step follows the design development phase. Here the solutions are ranked and the optimal one is developed further. This step includes the following deliverables.

  • Floorplans, elevations sections

  • Contractor recommendations

  • Preliminary cost estimate

  • 3d massing

  • Exterior / Interior conceptual images

Again, a presentation of the outcome is made to the stakeholders to get feedback and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Step 4: Thorough documentation of the project for all the external parties.
Construction drawings.

Construction drawings.

Construction drawings

Having the green light on the design development phase, follows the most analytical part of the design process. At this point in the process, the documentation for all the parties involved is developed. The information displayed in the drawings makes sure that there will not be any misunderstandings during the construction phase between the different parties involved. The deliverables are the following.

  • Technical drawings of the light plan, cabling, piping floor walls, and ceiling finishes.

  • Finalize of fixed furniture and custom-made constructions.

  • Full technical detailed drawings package for contractors.

Supervision phase.

Supervision phase.

#5 Supervision

The job is not done jet. There must be a follow-up process during the construction phase. This involves on-site supervision and communication with contractors and external parties to provide more information if needed until the project is completed and delivered to the client.

Source: Archdaily [left] | Behance [right]

Source: Archdaily [left] | Behance [right]

Summarise

Overall we could say that the architectural design process is similar to any other creative product design, digital od physical. It follows the same steps as digital product design.

One main difference is that the validation. Because of the nature of the products [buildings], there are specific actions we can do to validate our design before building it. And this is thorough research to define the product and good visualization of the product at every presentation to the stakeholders. Video is produced with a virtual walk in the building to simulate how the users of the building experience while using the space.

Fast design circles and the opportunity to validate the actual product before creating it is the reason I was attracted to the UX world in the first place!