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How to Formulate Your Architectural Design Concept by Detecting Patterns (Video)


Maria Lorena Lehman


Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Video Introduction

By becoming highly aware of pattern both within your architectural designs and within the way your occupants use them, you can significantly boost your ability as an architect to design for better experiences. There is a point where pattern becomes behavior, and your awareness of not only when this occurs, but also what it affects is key as you create building designs that will interact with your occupants. In today’s video, I walk you through the relationships between building and occupant through the lens of pattern detection — to help you think in new ways as you formulate your initial architectural design concept.


Video Transcript

00:06 Maria Lorena Lehman: This is Maria Lorena Lehman, Founder of Sensing Architecture. And in this micro lecture, we’re going to explore pattern detection and how you can use this to help you with your initial stages of design concept formulation. Now, pattern detection can help you to enhance what your design, what your architectural design, can do for its occupants. So, in the diagram, we’ll begin with buildings here, and occupants here. And as you can see, buildings and occupants have an improvement cycle, where they feed back to one another. So, buildings yield behavior, particularly as innovative architectures are gaining capabilities, like kinetics and sensors embedded within them that can help them actually behave through time to impact occupants, particularly through sensory design. Now, the stimuli that your building emits can be considered its behavior, and this in turn yields patterns. And these patterns come together to yield more than the sum of their parts, where their behavior impacts occupants. And it can impact occupants on five key levels of experience. In fact, it can impact them physiologically, intellectually, emotionally, behaviorally and even spiritually.

01:46 MLL: So, occupants, in turn, behave, they have behavioral cues. These cues can be physical, they can be verbal, and so on. So these behavioral cues emitted by occupants as they go about using an environment become cues that get pulled by the building, which in turn, can sense occupant behaviors. Now this can happen in innovative buildings that have integrated sensors, for instance, that can understand through its micro architectures what occupants might be perceiving as they experience the building. And again, buildings can emit behaviors that have adapted to occupants using their building in real time. So, this dialog, this mirroring between building and occupants is very important to understand, particularly as new technologies become embedded within buildings today. Many forms exist in how you can use pattern detection within your design concept. I’ll list just three forms here, but there are many more.

03:02 MLL: Variation is the first. With variation, you can use your building design materials and integrations to differentiate how your building will impact its occupants. A second form is metaphor, where you look for patterns that yield something greater than themselves. And these can be metaphors that occupants recognize consciously or subconsciously. So, metaphors form another type of inherent pattern in how your building behaves and impacts occupants and, again, how those behavioral cues by occupants impact the way your building behaves.

03:44 MLL: Another form is juxtaposition, and this is where architectural elements can contrast one another. So, this involves you synchronizing your architectural materials and the stimuli they emit, so that in synchronizing them, you’re impacting the way your occupants behave, and this again gets pulled back into the building’s behavior. So hopefully, you’re working to create environments that impact occupants to help them thrive, to help them live happier, safer and more fulfilling lives, which are even healthier. So, use pattern detection as a starting point to generate and formulate your design concept. I think it will help you with those initial first steps.

04:33 MLL: Thank you for watching. This is Maria Lorena Lehman, Founder of Sensing Architecture.


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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