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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
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.

Virtual Reality

How to Leverage Virtual Reality (VR) Within Your Design Process

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

I invite you as an architectural designer to unlock the power of 3D to 4D visualization. Going from 3D visualizations to interactive 4D immersive VR experiences of your design projects (with sound) will convey your concept ideas better by making your multi-sensory design interventions come to life in more tangible ways.

Adaptive Architecture

How to Create an Architectural Meta-Experience

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

What if an architectural environment could change, learn, and adapt to help occupants as they live, work, heal, or play within a given space? Furthermore, what if such an environment allowed visitors to leave their own “mark” within its design fabric, so future occupants could perceive what came before? Such a malleable architectural environment, would work as if it were a fluid sculpture – able to absorb and preserve a “fingerprint” while still being able to respond to current and future needs and goals.

Design Creativity

5 Smart Ways to Start Your Creativity Practice

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

How often do you work to improve your creativity? You see, creativity is like a muscle, and it must be exercised for you to become a quick and smart design thinker and decision-maker. The key is to know how to push yourself into new “creativity zones” where you can learn to shift paradigms, use new tools, unlock new processes, and even find new ways of working with your team.

Author Quotes

How to Create Life-Changing Architecture

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

How can you push your architectural design to help uplift the lives of your occupants in transformational ways? This may call for you to more deeply understand multi-sensory design and emerging technologies, so you can make smarter design decisions while creating environments.

Design Process

How Design Fiction Can Help Your Design Iteration Process

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As an environmental designer, it is important to make smart design decisions during your creative process – at all stages. This is where the practice of design fiction can be injected into your process, to help you formulate not just one design solution that you iterate; but a variety of possible solutions that you can compare, test, or explore quickly at the beginning of your concept formulation process.

Design Creativity

How "Unbuildable" Design Concepts Can Advance the Architectural Discipline

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

In history, there have been times when an “unbuildable” concept, only realized on paper, was paradigm shifting – as such concepts served to shift the mindset of the people toward greater innovative possibilities for the future. I still find it fascinating to see these “unbuildable” concept drawings from yesteryear, and then to think about how our current “unbuildable” concepts will impact the future of our present time.

Technology

How to Learn from the Future to Become a Design Pioneer

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As is typical with the present-time, we are always in the midst of emerging trends. For designers, this means either following the trends or setting new ones by being well ahead of the curve. Environmental design is no different. As advancing technologies like virtual reality lead to augmented realty, or as interactive physical space leads to adaptive physical space, it becomes fascinating (and necessary) to question where these technological developments are heading.

Virtual Reality

How Virtual Reality Design Shapes the Physical Environment

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Architectural design in virtual reality takes on many forms: from environmental concept design in films and video games to concept development simulations during the architectural design process. It is fascinating to see how what can be made for the virtual will often find its way into the physical world. For many, the virtual becomes a “playground” for experimentation, exploration, and discovery of new ideas that get translated into the physical world.

Design Process

Top 3 Questions to Drive Extraordinary Concept Design

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

The phase during your architectural project when you have the most leverage is during your concept design phase. Ideas, design decisions, and iterative changes made at this stage take less effort, cost, and time. But there is a critical driver behind the concept design phase, and it is your “creative vision”. To empower your creative vision, ask yourself the following questions as you design…

Design Process

Use the “Gradation Method” to Design Architecture for True Happiness

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When designing environments, do you adhere to a “one-size-fits-all” approach? Or do you try to personalize your environments for individual building occupants? Many designers use technology to help with the personalization of a design; yet, there is also another approach to consider that, when coupled with technology, can strengthen your design even further. This approach is what I call the “Gradation Method”.

Professional Practice

How to Find Your Uniqueness as an Architect and Gain a Competitive Advantage

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

When designing, do you strive to design projects that look like other projects already built? Or do you strive to create a unique and original contribution to the discipline of architecture? If you concentrate on the latter, then you are a step ahead toward finding and leveraging your own uniqueness as an architect – and this uniqueness can give you a significant competitive advantage to help set you apart from your competition.

Design Process

Unlock the Potential of Your Most-Used Design Tool

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

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Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

It is wise not to take your design tools for granted, and to analyze how much they are helping you so you can make necessary adjustments to improve your design process. The following is a question to ask of your most-used design tool(s)…

Architectural Design

How to Use Light to Harness Architectural Design Poetics

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

As an architectural designer, how you think about light can make all the difference in your design’s success. For example, do you work with architectural light as more of a scientist or an artist? This distinction can help you become better at doing both. And when you design environmental light as both a scientist and an artist, your designs will be more fully enjoyed by occupants as they experience the poetics of your built vision.

Design Process

Top 3 Ways Design Becomes a Global Collaboration

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

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Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Yes, a design project can do its part to solve for local challenges, and can even do its part to create new local opportunities. But as designers we must go beyond the local to ask: How can this project give rise to more global solutions and opportunities?

Adaptive Architecture

How Procedural Modeling Can Change the Future

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Most recently, I have been working with procedural modeling software to create very forward-thinking conceptual designs. This way of modeling objects, buildings, or even cities is quite interesting as it allows for a more rapid testing, experimentation, and prototyping of ideas. And when procedural modeling integrates sensory design methodologies, opportunity to achieve high level poetics can surface.

News

Nautilus Book Award Winner: Adaptive Sensory Environments by Maria Lorena Lehman

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Maria Lorena Lehman's book entitled, Adaptive Sensory Environments, is a 2017 Nautilus Book Award Silver Medal Winner in the “Creative Process” category.

Design Process

How to Know When Your Project is Complete: From Satisfaction to Fulfillment

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

|

Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

I was surprised by the number one question architects asked me during a recent survey I conducted. They wanted to know “Should I ever be completely satisfied with my architectural design project? And how do I know when to be satisfied with it?” These are both very good questions, and they each led me to think even more deeply about my own creative design process. The following is how I think about design project completion and satisfaction.

Sense of Place

What Is the Purpose of Achieving Poetics in Design?

By

Maria Lorena Lehman

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Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

Achieving a high poetic level within a design will foster a spirit of place if composed properly. In other words, your poetic architectural design can do more than uplift function. It can achieve high poetic synergy by fusing aesthetics, function, and meaning in such a way that occupants will feel one with themselves, with each other, and with their surrounding environment.

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Maria Lorena Lehman is an award-winning 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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