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3 Ways to Extract Experiential Advantage from Technology


Maria Lorena Lehman


Founder — Sensing Architecture ® Academy

‍Image Credit: © vasabii | Fotolia

The Consequences of Architectural Technology

When designing, technology can do a lot to either enhance or detract from a project. And the way you guide technology integration into your environment is what makes all the difference. For every design decision you make, there is an ultimate consequence that your occupant will experience. And the interaction between those decisions, yield entirely new consequential experiences.

For example, the lighting glare coming in from a window could disrupt the viewing of a television in the same room. Thus, occupant behavioral activities call for different functions from different technologies at different times. It is best not to merely “add on” new technologies. Instead, you as a designer should delve into the experiential nuances that technology bring forth as you integrate them. This will serve to not only create great environments that extract technological advantages, but will also serve to guide the future evolution of those technologies to further expand those very advantages.

Three Experiential Advantages of Technology

The following are three ways you can extract experiential advantage from technology:

  1. Understand Boundary: When you delve into all of the different ways a technology can impact its surrounding context, you gain deeper understanding about that technology’s boundaries. Look for technological experiential consequences that occur, beyond what the technology most obviously does. In other words, look for secondary and tertiary experiential consequences created by that technology.
  2. Understand Gradations: When analyzing a technology to be integrated into an environment, it is best to understand its different behavioral states. For instance, does the technology turn on and off only? Or does it maintain a spectrum of in-between states? Be sure to design for all of the gradations that a particular technology brings, as they will impact your environment in different ways at different times.
  3. Understand Growth: Eventually, a technology will need to be fixed, upgraded, or replaced. Do your best to understand and design for the future evolution of the technology you are integrating. You may ask yourself: Will my design grow as this technology evolves? Be sure to design with and “eye” which extends beyond where technology is today.

From Technological Overlap to Evolution

By keeping your design attention on how to extract experiential advantage from technology, you are able to think more innovatively to help you see deeper into your designs. Technological boundaries, gradations, and growth will help you to ask better questions as you design environments – to help you foresee the consequences which technologies bring. Furthermore, as a designer you should understand technological overlap: which is the way technologies impact one another.

Thus, as you strive to integrate technologies into your environment, be sure to think beyond where the limits of technology exist today. After all, your design’s technologies can be innovated and evolved to compound the positive benefits they bring.


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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