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How Internet Connections Can Boost Smart Buildings


Maria Lorena Lehman


Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Image Credit: © Dreamstime

We live in the age of the digital revolution. The internet seems to be everywhere — and as buildings get smarter, this will be ever more common. You see, the internet provides the ability to push and pull information, and this information can serve to connect you with your architectural spaces in new ways.

The internet connects. It connects people with people, and it can connect people with objects. For example the internet can pull information into your architectural design — it can pull information regarding occupant usage, the weather, the traffic, virtual social interactions, or even physical interactions in remote places. The internet provides real-time critical information that can really help to make your building smarter.

So, how might this all work? And how can you begin to think about the internet in a way that boosts your own smart building designs?

Well, as you design — think about what information could help to make your design better for your occupants. Then, be creative about the ways in which you inject that information into your design. For example, might you use information about occupant usage to help inform, inspire, or motivate your building occupant to engage in certain behaviors (like green sustainable behaviors, for instance)?

Also, you can use your architecture to help “visualize” and create “experiences” for occupants that synthesize social interactions from the internet. These could be social interactions belonging to an occupant’s immediate circle of friends, or they could be social interactions coming from a particular geographic region, for example. You could use such social interactions to help “guide” occupants as they engage and interact with your architectural design.

In the end, I invite you to look toward the internet as a way to better connect your occupants with their environment and with each other. After all, the internet coupling with buildings can go beyond simply “remote controlled lighting”. It can be used to help an architecture perform better as it engages with its occupants in real-time.

Simply understand that as objects within buildings connect with each other, with their surrounding environment, and with people — architecture can become smarter by the way it meets occupants’ needs in entirely new ways. And to do this, the internet can be an invaluable resource.


what members are saying...
Maria: I came across your website through a reference in today's Architect Weekly ezine and am delighted I did. I'll bookmark your site and check back often. I read the first article and then the second and thirty minutes later realized how much time had passed. I've been practicing for thirty years and have always missed the stimulation of academia. I find each of your brief dissertations sort of like a day in design studio. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ron Ward
AI Group Design
I am excited to see you touch a vein of values in architecture, I have been chasing myself for years. Your depth of involvement in these very deep subjects is really beautiful and passionately dealt with and well written. Sound, color and value, shape, texture, scale, smell.... all definitive measures of the spaces we should be alert to. [...] I will savor the rest of your investigation of sensuality in architecture. I'm Glad I found you.

Dennis McLaughlin
McLaughlin Architect
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Maria Lorena Lehman is a visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

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