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Smart Architecture: Learning from Biofeedback

Image Credit: © Pixac | Dreamstime

Biofeedback works via the mechanisms of feedback within a system. This is when, during a process, information is given to a previous point to correct a developmental path. Feedback can be quite useful in a realm of areas, particularly when it comes to human health – as in “biofeedback”. During biofeedback, machines help patients to improve the performance of their body physiology by allowing them to train their bodies to respond to stimuli given by a special biofeedback device.(1) Thus, using feedback to optimize performance is a tool that I can see being useful when it comes to the design of smart architecture. Let me explain…

Embedded with sensors, a smart architectural environment and its many ubiquitous computing objects will have the ability to monitor occupant interactions. Such a collection of occupant information may be used to help meet a variety of human needs by detecting patterns or unhealthy behaviors. For example, smart architecture may be able to improve occupant health by making key suggestions at certain decision-making moments. Architecture would be using some principles of biofeedback to help its occupants during the course of their daily activities.

While occupants go about their daily lives, smart architecture could help occupants via its interactive features. It would work with occupants to help them engage in healthier behaviors. For example, using feedback, smart architecture could suggest healthier behavioral options to help occupants increase exercise, eat well balanced meals or improve sleep routines.

All in all, smart architecture can be used to improve people’s lives. From weight maintenance to heart health, from stress relief to stroke rehabilitation — smart architecture can make a positive difference. Just imagine being in an environment that helps you maintain, improve or rehabilitate your good health. When designed with such goals in mind, smart environments become healthy environments; however, smart architecture can benefit occupants beyond healthcare needs.

Smart architecture that utilizes feedback principles can also make huge differences involving other architectural design concerns. For example, using feedback can also make buildings more sustainable, the workplace more productive and schools better for learning. It seems that feedback can help architecture become even more functional as it gains more targeted and meaningful interactivity with its occupants.

Reference:

(1) Chaves, MD, Jose. Biofeedback: The Therapy of teh 21st Century

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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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