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blog

sparks of insight. in each new article.

Learn more about design theories, strategies, and methodologies by Maria Lorena Lehman.

latest articles
Design Process

How to Expand (and Sharpen) Your Design Process

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When designing architectural environments, how do you notice your creative thinking? Yes, this question asks how you as a designer can observe your design process. Why is this important? When you become truly aware of your creative process, you are able to step outside of it to ask important questions and make critical decisions to improve and optimize how you design.

Design Process

How to Design for Human Happiness (as defined by Aristotle)

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

How can environments be designed to nurture human happiness? How can environments work to help people evolve into the best version of themselves? These are important questions for which to factor as you perceive, use, and/or design environments.

Technology

How Counterintuitive Sensory Design Ideas Fuel Innovation

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As an architect, it is important to be aware of the potential positive and negative effects of emerging technologies as these become ubiquitously embedded within environments. For this reason, the concept design stage of a project is an ideal phase within which to creatively and strategically harness the positive benefits such technologies bring. A unique way to think about the integration of emerging technology within architectural space is to consider how technology can create counterintuitive sensory moments. Just imagine how augmented reality will change the way people perceive and understand their own physical world around them.

From The Studio

A Filmmaking Tool for Dynamic Architectural Design

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The link between architectural design and film is an important one. But have you ever thought about using the tools and process that filmmakers use to help you visualize your architectural design during its initial concept development stage?

Sense of Place

Using New Mediums to Shift Architectural Paradigms

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

By exploring the poetics of space through writing, painting, and modeling or sculpting (digitally or by hand) – one discovers moments where space transcends to heighten human experience. The latter mediums are ways to capture this somewhat transient event; and through the act of capturing these, one can see more deeply into the dynamics of what makes a space transcendent.

Design Process

How to Analyze Your Sketchbook (to Grow Design Results)

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Your sketchbook holds a world of useful insight that you can use to push your design process even further. Thinking is a critical part of design, and a sketchbook helps you to unlock how you can exponentially improve your own design thinking. How do you use your sketchbook to design? What pages are your favorite? And how can you strengthen your sketchbook system?

Architectural Design

How Poetics of Place Determines Level of Impact

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When an architecture is designed with a high level of poetics, the level of positive impact upon its occupants increases. This is because function, aesthetics, and meaning converge to uplift occupants’ lives in new ways – either moment by moment as they experience the environment and/or after they have left the environment but are transformed due to their experience within its spaces.

Design Process

Top 3 Ways to Grow Your Design Process to the Next Level

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

It is my hope that you take time to improve your design process. For this is the root of your architectural projects’ level of success. Thus, I invite you to begin with the the following three steps that will help you to tackle the core of what makes your design process work. After all, this is how your projects can evolve over time to reach those next highest levels.

Architectural Design

How to Design for Architectural Flow

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Architectural flow is a higher-level poetic goal to reach as you design environments. After all, there is a significant difference between a building that houses a variety of independent functions that co-exist near one another versus a building that fosters functions that harmonize with each other as each leverages the other. This is an important characteristic of architectural flow – where an occupant narrative emerges from a well-designed environmental narrative.

Architectural Design

How to Design Environments beyond Function to Reach a New Level of Poetics

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Designing occupant-centered architecture calls for designers to think about environments as providing more than mere comfort. For architectural design, this means striving to reach beyond functionality within your solution. Together with function, aesthetics and meaning must be fused. But how do these all work together to yield new kinds of poetics that innovate occupant experience to uplift quality of life for the better?

Design Process

How to Leverage the Future of Architectural Concept Design

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

What will the future of the architectural design process bring? Will you carry forward your trusted design methods while also injecting the opportunities that emerging design technologies bring? As a forward-thinking designer, I invite you to consider what your own future design process could be like, with the continual development of augmented/virtual reality, prediction algorithms, and faster global communication.

Architectural Design

Design at the Edge of Architectural Perception

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

What happens when an environment is purposefully designed to bring occupants to the “edge of perceptional boundaries”? The Nyx project by Alberto Caiola Studio presents a “hand-drawn architecture of light” located in Shanghai, China. This rooftop bar plays with one’s visual perception as it transiently shifts between abstraction and reality with its 21,000 meters of UV reactive cord that glows blue within the black light.

Design Process

Multi-Sensory Emergence in the Architectural Creative Process

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The creative process is like a spring. You wind-up the spring to prepare for its release. When creating, I absorb in the world and explore internally (my wind-up), and then I have creative emergence (my release). And as I delve into my creative practice, I go back and forth between the two. How do you "absorb" as you prepare to "release" your creativity within your design solution?

Design Process

Hand-Drawing vs Digital-Drawing: How to See Your Design More Deeply

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When analyzing the finished results between a hand-drawing versus a digital-drawing, the stylistic differences are easy to see. Both types of drawings can be very beautiful, if thoughtfully composed. Yet, a designer will think about what they are drawing very differently depending on which drawing process they use.

Guides

Design Process Mastery: The Architect's Guide

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

A design process definition can be explained as the creative and iterative methods one goes through in order to solve for a particular challenge, need, or goal. Within architectural design, one’s design process goes through various stages that begin with an initial creative vision that ultimately gets built as a building that occupants can use. The goal for architects is to optimize their design process in order to create the highest quality architectural design in the shortest amount of time, and within budget. The following is an architect's guide to design process.

Architectural Design

3 Ways to Use "Meaningful Freedom" within Architectural Design to Nurture Creativity

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Creativity within architectural design dives deep to not only create an experience that fulfills, but also nurtures occupants to engage in activities that bring new ideas, new solutions, and new or improved processes. An architectural space that successfully evokes occupant creativity is one where each occupant can feel “meaningful freedom” within which to do their most authentic thinking.

Virtual Reality

Virtual / Augmented Reality as Architectural Sensory Experience

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The question remains: Can virtual reality be an architectural sensory experience? As you ponder the answer to this question, it is important to think first about how to define an architectural sensory experience.

Reviews

The Sensorial Designs of Claudio Silvestrin: Minimalism as a Catalyst of Deeper Expression

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

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Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

To experience the latest book by Claudio Silvestrin is to experience architecture on a more spiritual level. The book is entitled Claudio Silvestrin’s Timeless Italian Style Architecture Design Philosophy, and as I turned the pages to consciously experience his work, I savored the moments as they evoked peace, joy, and even spiritual sensibility.

User Experience

How Environment Design Impacts Human Performance

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Even as you formulate the initial schematics for your architectural concept design, it is wise to comprehensively research not only what your occupant thinks they need now, but also how they would like to grow: physiologically, intellectually, emotionally, behaviorally, and even spiritually. This will help you to grasp how the environmental design’s behavioral language needs to adapt.

Adaptive Architecture

What if Architecture Fused with Game Design?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Is all of life a game-like journey? Or is the journey more of an experiential process with no real end-goal? Whatever life seems to be at a given moment, it is interesting to consider what physical environments would be like if they were designed with a gaming mentality.

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Maria Lorena Lehman is a multi award-winning visionary author, designer, and educator from the United States. Maria holds a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors from Virginia Tech and a Master in Design with Distinction from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. CLICK HERE to learn more.

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