RESOURCES

Architectural Design Prompts

Architectural design of space and structures is about creating a physical, mental and emotional experience for people. Here’s some prompts to explore that experience…

Architectural structures and space are ultimately designed as a human experience, so it is important to be conscious of what we are creating. We sense or perceive the external world through:

  • Physical – Sensations from the five physical senses(touch, taste, smell, sound, sight)

We experience the external world internally through a response to the external world in the form of the more intangible:

  • Mental – Thoughts, memories and beliefs.
  • Emotions – A collection of internal physical sensations that we give common names to.

When designing, we need to consider the internal experience we desire our user to have, and then consider the characteristics or qualities of the external environment that will create that.

Characteristics or qualities are words used to describe different aspects of a person or thing.

  • Quality – A distinct or unique characteristic possessed by someone or something.
  • Characteristic – A feature belonging to a place or thing and serving to identify and tell it apart as unique.
  • Physical – Things perceived through the senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight) as opposed to the mind (thoughts, beliefs, memories, words) and emotions.

These words are just a prompt as you start to think about the experience of your user and then generate your concept and aspects of this concept. You could use thesaurus.com to refine and further develop your ideas.

Ablaze

Bland

Blurry

Carve/ Carved

Clean

Clear

Cloudy

Contrast/ Contrasting

Crack/ Cracked

Crooked

Crushed

Dense

Dirty

Eerie

Gilded

Glassy

Gleaming

Glimmer/ Glimmering

Gloss/ Glossy

Glowing

Grotesque

Heavy

Hidden

Lacework

Light

Luminous

Minimal

Moody

Mould/ Moulded

Movement

Opaque

Reflective

Ruddy

Shadowy

Shiny

Sparkle/ Sparking

Striped

Strong

Transparent

Translucent

Warm/ Warmth

Watery

Wiry

 

Aqua

Black

Blue

Bright

Brown

Colourful

Crimson

Dark

Drab

Dull

Gold

Green

Indigo

Lavender

Magenta

Multi-coloured

Orange

Pink

Red

Rosy

Scarlet

Silver

Turquoise

Violet

White

Yellow

 

 

Criss-cross

Crossing

Delicate

Filigree

Frame/ Framed

Geometric

Grid

Irregular

Organic

Ornamental

Panel/ Panelled

Regular

Repeated/ Repetition

Twisted

Uneven

Wavy

Woven

 

 

 

Abundant

Big

Compact

Confine/ Confined

Giant

Great

High

Huge

Little

Long

Majestic

 

 Over-sized

Petite

Short

Small

Tall

 

Teeny

Thin

Thick

Tiny

Vast

 

Asymmetrical

Adjacent

Above

Band/ Banded

Below

Close/ Closed

Enclosed/ Enclosure

Expose/ Exposed

Interlocking

Interlaced

Join/s

Joint/s

Laminated

Layer/ Layered

Loose

Open/ Opening/ Openness

Overlap

Overlay

Symmetrical

 

Blob/ Blobby

Broad

Circle/ Circular

Crooked

Curve/ Curved/ Curvy

Cylinder/ Cylindrical

Deep

Distorted

Flat

Fold/ Folded

Globular

Hexagon/ Hexagonal

Hollow

Low

Mass

Narrow

Oval

Planar

Pyramid

Rectangle/ Rectangular

Rotund

Round

Skinny

Solid

Sphere/ Spherical

Square

Steep

Straight

Tall

Triangular

Wide

 

Angular

All

Ample

Considerable

Countless

Enough

Every

Few

Full

Hundreds

Large

Light

Limited

Many

Multiple

Myriad

Numerous

Several

Some

Sparse

Bendy/ Bendable

Bouncy

Bumpy

Cool

Cold

Crumpled

Crumbly/ Crumbling

Crystalline

Dry

Elastic/ Elasticity

Encrust/ Encrusted

Firm/ Firmness

Flexible

Furry

Fuzzy

Greasy

Hard

Icy

Metal/ Metallic

Permeable

Plastic/ Plasticity

Pliable

Prickly

Rough

Scrunched

Shaggy

Sharp

Sheer

Silky

Slick

Slippery

Smooth

Soft

Sponge/ Spongy

Stiff/ Stiffness

Supple

Squishy

Viscous/ Viscosity

Wet

 

Blaring

Deafening

Faint

Hoarse

High-pitched

Hissing

Hushed

Hushed

Husky

Loud

Muffled

Mute

Noisy

 

Purr/ Purring

Quiet

Raspy

Resonant

Screech/ Screeching

Shrill

 

Silent

Soft

Squeal/ Squealing

Squeak/ Squeaking

Thunder

Whisper/ Whispering

 

Airy

Acrid

Aromatic

Delicate

Delicious

Delightful

Dewy

Exotic

Exquisite

Faint

Familiar

Favorite

Floral

Fresh

Gentle

Heavenly

Heavy

Light

Lovely

Mild

Musky

Musty

Natural

Overpowering

Overwhelming

Peculiar

Pleasant

Pleasing

Powerful

Precious

Pungent

Pure

Putrid

Rancid

Refreshing

Rich

Scent

Sickening

Sweet

Soft

Smoky

Smoldering

Stale

Strange

Strong

Subtle

Suffocating

Toxic

Unique

Warm

Wild

Wispy

Zesty

 

 

 

Ancient

Annual

Biannual

Brief/ Briefly

Daily

Early

Eternal

Fast

First

Future

Futuristic

Historical

Irregular

Late

Long

Modern

Old

Quick

Rapid

Regular

Short

Slow

Speed/ Speedy

Swift

Wait

Young

 

 

Dainty

Drama/ Dramatically

Fast

Fluid

Force/ Forceful

Gentle/ Gently

Graceful

Gradual/ Gradually

Quick/ Quickly

 

Rapid/ Rapidly

Sharp

Slight

Slow/ Slowly

 

Smooth/ Smoothly

Steady

Sudden/ Suddenly

Supple

 

Accessible

Active

Adaptable

Admirable

Adventurous

Agreeable

Alert

Allocentric

Amiable

Anticipative

Appreciative

Articulate

Aspiring

Athletic

Attractive

Authoritarian

Balanced

Benevolent

Bold

Brilliant

Calm

Capable

Captivating

Caring

Challenging

Charismatic

Charming

Cheerful

Clean

Clear-headed

Clever

Colorful

Companionly

Committed

Compassionate

Conciliatory

Confident

Conscientious

Considerate

Constant

Contemplative

Cooperative

Courageous

Courteous

Creative

Cultured

Curious

Daring

Debonair

Decent

Decisive

Dedicated

Deep

Dignified

Directed

Disciplined

Discreet

Disruptive

Dramatic

Dutiful

Dynamic

Earnest

Ebullient

Educated

Efficient

Elegant

Eloquent

Empathetic

Energetic

Enthusiastic

Esthetic

Exciting

Extraordinary

Fair

Faithful

Farsighted

Felicific

Fighter

Firm

Flexible

Focused

Forceful

Forgiving

Forthright

Freethinking

Friendly

Fun-loving

Gallant

Generous

Gentle

Genuine

Good-natured

Gracious

Hardworking

Healthy

Hearty

Helpful

Heroic

High-minded

Honest

Honorable

Humble

Humorous

Idealistic

Imaginative

Impressive

Incisive

Incorruptible

Independent

Individualistic

Innovative

Inoffensive

Insightful

Insouciant

Intelligent

Intuitive

Invulnerable

Joking

Just

Kind

Knowledge

Leaderly

Leisurely

Liberal

Logical

Lovable

Loyal

Loud

Lyrical

Magical

Magnanimous

Many-sided

Masculine (Manly)

Mature

Methodical

Meticulous

Moderate

Modest

Multi-leveled

Mysterious

Mystical

Neat

Nonauthoritarian

Objective

Observant

Open

Optimistic

Orderly

Organized

Original

Outrageous

Painstaking

Passionate

Patient

Patriotic

Peaceful

Perceptive

Perfectionist

Personable

Persuasive

Planful

Playful

Polished

Popular

Powerful

Practical

Precise

Principled

Profound

Protean

Protective

Providential

Prudent

Punctual

Purposeful

Radical

Rational

Realistic

Rebellious

Reflective

Regal

Relaxed

Reliable

Resourceful

Respectful

Responsible

Responsive

Reverential

Ridiculous

Romantic

Royal

Rule-breaker

Rustic

Sage

Sane

Scholarly

Scrupulous

Secure

Selfless

Self-critical

Self-defacing

Self-denying

Self-reliant

Self-sufficient

Sensitive

Sentimental

Seraphic

Serious

Sexy

Sharing

Shrewd

Shocking

Silly

Simple

Skillful

Sober

Sociable

Solid

Sophisticated

Spontaneous

Sporting

Stable

Steadfast

Steady

Stoic

Strong

Studious

Suave

Subtle

Sweet

Sympathetic

Systematic

Tasteful

Teacherly

Thorough

Tidy

Tolerant

Tractable

Trusting

Uncomplaining

Understanding

Undogmatic

Unfoolable

Unusual

Upright

Urbane

Venturesome

Visionary

Vivacious

Warm

Well-bred

Well-read

Well-rounded

Winning

Wise

Witty

Youthful

 

 

 

Positive Emotions

Amazed/ Amazing

Anticipation

Bliss/ Blissful

Calm

Comfortable

Content/ Contentment

Delighted/ Delightful

Eager

Ecstatic/ Ecstasy

Elated/ Elations

Energetic/ Energy

Empathy/ Empathetic

Excited/ Excitement

Positive Emotions

Happy/ Happiness

Hopeful/ Hope

Inspired/ Inspiring

Joy/ Joyful

Loving/ Love

Motivated

Peaceful/ Peace

Relieved/ Relief

Reverence/ Reverent

Satisfied/ Satisfaction

Surprise/ Surprised

Thrilled/ Thrilling

Trust/ Trusting

Negative Emotions

Concern/ Concerned

Fear/ Fearful

Sad/ Sadness

Worry/ Worried

Unhappy/ Unhappiness

Lonely/ Loneliness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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