How To Analyse Architecture

For someone new to architecture or architectural design, knowing how to talk about an architect’s design can quickly be a bit of a headache. Architecture is different to art, and it’s a lot harder to fake a conversation. In this small guide, we’ll run you through some of the key points of analysing architecture, including which elements of a piece you can focus on to start up a conversation.

The building’s function

First of all, consider the building or structure’s function. Not all buildings need to be the same shape or size, so you should first consider what the building is for. Is it a public building? What kind? Residential, commercial, private? Then think about whether you believe the design matches the purpose of the building. If it’s an office building, ask yourself if it looks like an office building. This is a good starting point to begin building your opinion of a design.


Now that you’re looking at the design, pick out the materials that were used in the building’s design. Many standard architectural designs use a mixture of materials, including recycled materials, glass, concrete, and stone. If the materials used were recycled, that, in itself, is a conversation topic to that you can use when analysing.

The building’s usefulness

If you really want to know if a building fulfils its purpose, you could speak to an individual who uses the building for its functions. If it’s a public building, why not go in yourself and have a look around? Consider how the building is used, whether or not there’s enough space for the individuals who use it, and how accessible the building is.

Does the building fit in?

This is more of an urban design question, but you can also look at how well a building or structure fits into its surrounding area. In urban design, one of the core principles is ensuring that a new building echoes the rest of its neighbourhood. The design doesn’t have to blend in seamlessly, in fact, new buildings should have their own charm and their own way of standing out. On some level, however, the building should make sense in the area its in.


As a race, we are extremely affected by sunlight. Though too much exposure can be harmful, access to sunlight has a wealth of benefits for us. Humans thrive in the sunlight, so it’s incredibly important that a building with access to sunlight has enough access. Ask yourself, how much natural light can be accessed from the building and consider the windows that the design has.

Access and movement

Finally, you should look at how the public moves through the building. Consider the stairs, escalators, elevators. Would it be easy to get lost in this building, or is it so well designed that a child could find their way around? Speaking of children, how safe is the building? And how accessible is it to the disabled members of the public? A building should flow well enough to cater to all of the needs of the public.